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I knew every detail of his life up to the day of his departure for America, although this period of his life was spoken of only in hushed tones. With rich people a man who amuses himself only sows his wild oats. He is what is generally called a sport.


But among needy families a boy who forces his parents to break into the capital becomes a good-for-nothing, a rascal, a scamp. And this distinction is just, although the action be the same, for consequences alone determine the seriousness of the act. Then, according to the custom of the times, he had been shipped off to America on a freighter going from Havre to New York.

This letter caused a profound emotion in the family. Jules, who up to that time had not been worth his salt, suddenly became a good man, a kind-hearted fellow, true and honest like all the Davranches. Business is good.

Guy de Maupassant

I leave to-morrow for a long trip to South America. I may be away for several years without sending you any news. When my fortune is made I shall return to Havre. I hope that it will not be too long and that we shall all live happily together. It was read on the slightest provocation, and it was shown to everybody. There is one who knew how to get along! They were not yet married, and that was a great grief to every one. He was a clerk, not rich, but honorable. It is not far; one crosses a strip of sea in a steamer and lands on foreign soil, as this little island belongs to England.

I see it as plainly as if it had happened yesterday. The boat was getting up steam against the quay at Granville; my father, bewildered, was superintending the loading of our three pieces of baggage; my mother, nervous, had taken the arm of my unmarried sister, who seemed lost since the departure of the other one, like the last chicken of a brood; behind us came the bride and groom, who always stayed behind, a thing that often made me turn round.

Éric Viennot

We got on board, and the vessel, leaving the breakwater, forged ahead through a sea as flat as a marble table. We watched the coast disappear in the distance, happy and proud, like all who do not travel much. Suddenly he noticed two elegantly dressed ladies to whom two gentlemen were offering oysters. An old, ragged sailor was opening them with his knife and passing them to the gentlemen, who would then offer them to the ladies.

They ate them in a dainty manner, holding the shell on a fine handkerchief and advancing their mouths a little in order not to spot their dresses. Then they would drink the liquid with a rapid little motion and throw the shell overboard. He considered it good form, refined, and, going up to my mother and sisters, he asked:. Maupassant was about to begin law studies in Paris when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in and he found himself a disgruntled soldier, traumatized by the swift collapse of the Second Empire and infuriated by the loss of Alsace and Lorraine; memories of the war and hatred of the Prussians informed many of his later stories, including the one that would catapult him into fame.

He supplemented his income by writing stories and reportage for newspapers and magazines he had been trying his hand at writing from the age of fifteen, but for some years he found it difficult. After that resounding success, Maupassant, who until then had literally not given up his day job, was able to resign from the civil service and live comfortably by his pen, thanks to contracts with leading magazines though his spend-thrift ways never let him accumulate much of a nest egg.

He eschewed academies, decorations, and literary coteries. Enchanted by the theater, he also tried his hand at plays, but seldom with much success; he also wrote travel journals and poetry to be a great poet had been an early ambition. But this stocky, well-muscled, athletic, almost herculean idolater of physical existence was already a sick man, subject to progressively worsening eyesore, headaches, and other bodily discomforts, including attacks of nerves and hallucinations, his eventually ever-present anxiety being reflected in a large number of his stories.

He attended lectures by the eminent psychologist Jean-Martin Charcot, —, a mentor of Sigmund Freud, — By , when his last stories and last novel were published, Maupassant had deteriorated badly though his writing was as good as ever, reaching some new high points , and he abandoned his unfinished work in He died in a Parisian asylum in Zola delivered the eulogy at his funeral, which his parents failed to attend.

Maupassant felt that novels were more prestigious than stories, and was concentrating on novels in his last years the Bel-Ami had been wildly successful , but he will always be remembered as one of the chief exponents of the short-story form, the greatest French short-story writer, the French Chekhov, admired and emulated by such writers outside France as Dreiser and Dos Passos; Tolstoy and Chekhov; Stefan Zweig and both Heinrich and Thomas Mann; Katherine Mansfield and D.

Lawrence; Pirandello and Moravia. Maupassant poured his sometimes eccentric personal philosophy and obsessions, his hobbies and experiences, his loves and hates, into his stories, some of which are thinly veiled autobiography.

Parade Lap - Jules Ameel

They all appeared in periodicals before being included in volumes of stories, often with revisions. In this Dover volume, the sequence is that of the original periodical publications; the texts, those of the definitive volume publications. The verse quotation is the final lines from a poem that was a favorite with Flaubert and Maupassant, Oceano nox July , by Victor Hugo — , later included as no.

The shock ending, typical of many Maupassant stories, though he later usually handled it more subtly, can readily degenerate into a mannerism and cheap trick in the hands of epigones such as O. Henry William Sydney Porter, — The story has been called Afloat and On the River by earlier translators. The descriptions of nature are remarkable, as frequently in Maupassant. La rempailleuse.

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Blond, Paris, A rempailleuse is literally a woman who re-straws chair seats. This sympathetic animal story also pillories rural Norman stinginess and pettiness. Marl is crumbly earth, rich in calcium, used to fertilize land that is deficient in lime. La peur. Ouargla is an oasis in the Algerian Sahara. Here, Maupassant is still offering at least partial explanations for the weird phenomena, one for each of the two adventures recounted.

By the time of such stories as Le Horla explanation will be beside the point. A cheval. Read More. Guest Book.

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