IntroductionGiven his short life (1850-1893), it is unsurprising that Guy de Maupassant’s work is often celebrated for its economy. Yet the praise applies more to the form and structure of his stories than his truncated career. Many cite de Maupassant as one of the progenitors of the modern short story. Much of his work is celebrated for its ability to create time, place, and character in succinct but rich detail. While he is best remembered for his piquant short fiction and clever novels (many of which feature war as a prominent theme), de Maupassant also wrote a tome of poetry as well as extensive travelogues. His travels throughout the continent affected both his fiction and nonfiction writing, marking de Maupassant as a true Renaissance man.
- As a young man, de Maupassant met Flaubert, author of the classic Madame Bovary. Flaubert’s influence was crucial to de Maupassant’s development as a writer.
- Early in his career, as de Maupassant began developing his own novels and short stories, he worked as a journalist for several prominent newspapers.
- Far from lighthearted, many of his short stories are detective or mystery tales that explore psychoses and psychological horrors.
- The impact of de Maupassant’s career is extensive, with O. Henry and W. Somerset Maugham among the many later authors whose careers were influenced by his work.
- Maupassant died prematurely at the age of 43. His last years were marked by a slow decline from syphilis, from which he suffered for many years.
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