Guy de Maupassant Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

0111201564-Maupassant.jpg Guy de Maupassant (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Maupassant’s contributions to literature have often been overshadowed by the facts of his life. His sexual promiscuity, profligate Parisian lifestyle, and tragic death from syphilis (which was later frequently cited as an example of the dangers of sex) have often received more attention than his work.

Maupassant began his literary career with the publication of “Boule de Suif,” a touching story of a prostitute who reluctantly beds a Prussian officer in order to secure release of her traveling companions, who then scorn her. His first full volume of short fiction appeared in 1881 under the title of his second important story, “La Maison Tellier”—a comic piece about a group of prostitutes who attend a Holy Communion. After this book’s success, Maupassant published numerous stories in newspapers and periodicals that were reprinted in books that appeared at a rate of about two volumes a year. Many of his stories created considerable of controversy among the French critics of the time because he dared to focus on the experiences of so-called lowlife characters.

Maupassant’s first brush with censorship law occurred in 1879 with the publication of his poem “La Mur,” which was attacked as an “outrage on public morality.” Maupassant asked his most important mentor, Gustave Flaubert, to write what became a famous letter defending another of his poems, “Au bord de l’eau,” that had been accused of being obscene. The case...

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(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Henri-René-Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, in the Château de Miromesnil in the French province of Normandy. He was the first child of Gustave and Laure de Maupassant. Guy de Maupassant spent his childhood and adolescence in Normandy. His parents grew to dislike each other intensely, and they eventually separated. Laure did not want Gustave to play any role in rearing either Guy or their second son, Hervé. She was an overly protective mother, and she did not allow Guy to attend school until he was thirteen years old. Until he became a student in 1863 at a Catholic seminary school, Guy’s only teacher was the local parish priest. Guy became indifferent to religion, and at the age of seventeen he was expelled from the seminary school because of behavior judged to be unacceptable by his teachers. He completed his secondary studies in 1869 at a boarding school in Rouen.

In 1867, Maupassant met the celebrated novelist Flaubert, whom Laure had known for almost twenty years. Some fanciful critics have suggested that Flaubert was not only Maupassant’s literary mentor but also his biological father. Although there is no evidence to support this hypothesis, Maupassant did react with extreme displeasure and perhaps with excessive sensitivity to the frequently repeated remark that Flaubert had been his father.

Maupassant began his law studies at the University of Paris in 1869, but with the outbreak of hostilities in the...

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(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Henri-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, the eldest son of Laure Le Poittevin and Gustave de Maupassant, both from prosperous bourgeois French families. When Maupassant was eleven, his strong-willed mother obtained a legal separation from her husband. In the absence of her husband, Maupassant’s mother assumed an exaggerated importance in his life. The most important masculine figures for Maupassant during his youth were Alfred, his mother’s brilliant brother, and Alfred’s literary student, Gustave Flaubert . With the death of Alfred at a relatively young age, Flaubert began to have an even more significant role, encouraging the young Maupassant to write.

Maupassant’s education was aimed at training him for a career in the law, and after a brief period of military service during the Franco-Prussian War he was given a position in the Naval Ministry. However, under the tutelage of Flaubert he began to publish poetry and stories in various obscure journals. He also became part of a group of literary figures—which included Alphonse Daudet,Émile Zola, and Ivan Turgenev—that met regularly at Flaubert’s home. In 1880, with the publication of “Boule de suif,” a tale that Flaubert praised extravagantly, Maupassant ceased working for the government and devoted himself completely to his writing. In the next ten years, he wrote numerous articles for newspapers, published more than three hundred short stories, and wrote six novels.

Many critics believe that Maupassant’s best-known mystery story, “Le Horla” (“The Horla”), a first-person account of psychological hallucination, was the first indication of the madness (caused by syphilis) that eventually led to his death. In the last few years of his life, his eyesight weakened, his memory failed, his thinking became erratic, and he suffered from delusions. After undergoing several unsuccessful treatments for his disease and even attempting suicide, Maupassant was incarcerated in a sanatorium, where he died on July 6, 1893.


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Born on August 5, 1850, in the imposing Château de Miromesnil, near Dieppe, France, Henri-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant (moh-puh-SAHN) was the first son of Laure Le Poittevin and Gustave de Maupassant. Although both parents were from fairly well-to-do families, they were only renting the château where Maupassant was born. According to biographers, he probably was born in a small house nearby but was immediately taken to the château so his birth announcements would look more impressive. When the boy was eleven, his parents were legally separated, and he spent most of his youth with his mother, who became a powerful influence on his life.

As a member of the upper middle class, Maupassant was enrolled at a school suitable for him, a small seminary near Rouen. The place, however, was not to the boy’s liking, and he purposely got himself expelled before completing school. After returning home to his mother, he fell under the tutelage of his uncle Alfred and a friend of the family who was later to become his most famous and important influence, the writer Gustave Flaubert.

When he was eighteen, Maupassant tried to complete his education by enrolling at Lycée de Rouen, but his law studies were disrupted soon after by his enlistment in the Franco-Prussian War. As a result of his military experience, he was able to get a position after the war as a clerk in the Naval Ministry in Paris, where his primary job was the supervision of printing supplies. Yet his real ambition was to be a writer, and under the guidance of Flaubert he began publishing his poetry and stories in a number of small journals. His work was also encouraged by his membership in an informal group of writers who met at Flaubert’s house and includedÉmile Zola, Alphonse Daudet, and Ivan Turgenev. His first story to appear in a published book was in a collection of stories by various writers, including Zola; it is a story that remains one of his best,...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Guy de Maupassant had as much to do with the development of the short-story genre in the late nineteenth century as Anton Chekhov did, albeit in somewhat different ways. Yet because such stories as “The Necklace” are so deceptively simple and seem trivial, Maupassant’s experiment with the form has often been ignored. Not until the short story itself receives the recognition that it deserves as a respectable literary genre will Maupassant receive the recognition that he deserves for his contribution to the perfection of the form.


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Although unnamed, the protagonist is approximately identical with the author, as the latter was in the winter of 1916-1917: a young Jewish writer from Odessa who has moved to the capital illegally, on the eve of the February Revolution.

The young writer, though poverty-stricken and selling almost nothing he has written, is so supremely confident that he spurns an offer of a job as a clerk. He sees himself as superior to Leo Tolstoy, whose religion was “all fear. He was frightened by the cold, by old age, by death.”

The narrator finds acceptable employment when Bendersky’s publishing house decides to bring out a new edition of Guy de Maupassant’s works; Bendersky’s wife, Raisa, has begun some...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Henri-René-Albert Guy de Maupassant (moh-pah-sah), born on August 5, 1850, at Château de Miromesnil, was descended from an old French family; his grandfather was a wealthy landowner in Lorraine, and the writer’s father was a stockbroker in Paris. As a boy, Maupassant went to school at Yvetot, in Normandy, and later attended the lycée at Rouen. During his childhood and youth in Normandy he observed and absorbed a great deal of the life he was later to use so effectively in his fiction.

Significant in the author’s life was the separation of his parents when he was eleven years old. His mother, a sister of a close friend of Gustave Flaubert, turned to Flaubert for advice after her husband had left her. That...

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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Author Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, in any of several locations in Normandy, France, according to whether...

(The entire section is 999 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Guy de Maupassant, a nineteenth-century naturalist author, is one of France’s most distinguished and celebrated writers of short stories....

(The entire section is 543 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Guy de Maupassant Published by Gale Cengage

Henri-Rene-Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, near Tourville-sur-Arques in Normandy...

(The entire section is 350 words.)