Guy of Maupassant
See also: Guy of Maupassant (homonymy)
Guy of Maupassant is a French writer end of the XIXe century, born the August 5th 1850, according to its birth certificate, with the castle of Miromesnil with Tourville-on-Arch (Seine-Maritime) and deceased the July 6th 1893 with Paris.
Bound to Gustave Flaubert and Emile Zola, it marked the French literature by its 6 Romance S, of which a life in 1883, Bel friend in 1885, Pierre and Jean in 1887/1888, but especially by its Nouvelle S (more than 300), sometimes entitled Conte S, as Boule of Tallow in 1880, Tales of the woodcock in 1883 or Horla in 1887. These works hold the attention by their force Réaliste, the important presence of the Fantastique and by the pessimism which emerges some generally but also by the stylistic control. The literary career of Guy of Maupassant is limited to one decade - of 1880 to 1890 - before it sinks little by little in the madness and does not die in 43 years. Recognized of alive sound, Guy of Maupassant preserves a reputation of foreground, still renewed by the many filmed adaptations of his works (for example those of Jean Renoir with the cinema or of Claude Santelli on television).
BiographyThe Maupassant were an old family from Lorraine which had settled in Seine-Maritime (Normandy) in the middle of the 19th century. His/her father, Gustave of Maupassant, had married in 1846 Laure Poittevin, a young lady of the good middle-class. With her brother Alfred, it had been the friend of Gustave Flaubert, the son of a surgeon of Rouen, which was to exert a certain influence on the life of his/her son. It was a woman of a not very common literary culture, liking much the traditional ones, particularly Shakespeare. Separated from her husband, it kept his two sons, Guy and the Herve, oldest.
It passes its childhood to Étretat in the house “Verguies”, where, between sea and countryside, it grows in the love of nature and the sports in the open air; it will fish with the fishermen of the coast and speaks patois with the peasants. It is deeply attached to his mother.
It enters initially to the small seminar to Yvetot, according to the wish of his mother, but succeeds in being made some expel. It is in these places that it starts to versify, at the thirteen years age. Of its first catholic education it will preserve a hostility marked towards the religion. It is then sent to the college of Rouen, where it is good pupil, being devoted to poetry and taking part much in the plays. It is there that it cotoie Louis Bouilhet and especially Gustave Flaubert.
In 1870, shortly after its baccalaureat, it enlists like volunteer at the time of the Guerre free-Prussian: affected initially in the services of intendance then in artillery, it will take part in the retirement of the armies Normans in front of the German projection. After the war, it pays a substitute to complete in his place its military service and leaves the Normandy for Paris where it will spend ten years as initially made to the Ministry for the Navy then to the Ministry for the State education where it is transferred in 1878. During these ten years of trouble, its only distraction will be canoeing on the the Seine Sunday and during the holidays.
Gustave Flaubert takes it under his protection and will be for him a kind of mentor literary, guiding his beginnings in the Journalisme and the Littérature. At Flaubert it met the Russian novelist Ivan Tourgueniev and Emile Zola, as well as many writers belonging to the schools realistic naturalist and . He writes many worms and short parts.
He also starts to provide articles to several important newspapers like Le Figaro, Gil Blas , the Gallic and the Echo of Paris then devotes its leisures to the writing of novels and news. Always encouraged by Flaubert the old friend of his family, it publishes in 1879 its first book, a booklet of a hundred pages “History of the old time”. Being bound with Zola, it takes part in 1880 in the collective collection of the writers naturalists the Evenings of Médan with its first news, Boule of Tallow , which gains from the start a great success and which Flaubert describes as “masterpiece which will remain”.
The decade of 1880 to 1890 is the fertile period of the life of Maupassant: it will publish 6 novels, more than 300 news and some accounts of voyage. Made famous for its first news, he works methodically and annually produces two and sometimes four volumes. The direction of the businesses joint to its talent brought the richness to him.
In 1881, it publishes its first volume of news under the title of the House Tellier , which reaches in two years its twelfth edition; in 1883, it finishes its first novel, a life , whose twenty five thousand specimens are sold in less than one year. With the royalties of the House Tellier it is made build its house “Guillette” with Étretat.
In its novels, it concentrates all its observations dispersed in its news. Its second novel, Beautiful-friend , appear in 1885 and know thirty-seven pullings in four months. Outstanding works by the style, description, the design and the penetration escape from its fertile feather. He at that time writes one of his masterpieces, Pierre and Jean, into 1887/1888.
Its natural aversion for the company carries it towards the retirement, loneliness and the meditation. He travels lengthily in Algérie, in Italy, England, Brittany, Sicily, Auvergne and each voyage is for him synonymous with new volumes. It goes on a cruise on its private yacht named “Beautiful-Friend” according to his novel Beautiful-Friend of 1885. This cruising, where it passes by Cannes, Agay and Saint-Tropez will inspire to him On water . This feverish life does not prevent it from tying friendships among the literary celebrities of its time: Alexandre Dumas wire dedicates a paternal affection to him. Guy also falls under the charm from the historian-philosopher Taine whom it meets with Aix-the-Baths.
Flaubert remains however his literary godfather while the friendship of Maupassant with the Goncourt is of short duration; its frankness and its glance sharp-edged on the human comedy are put up badly with the environment of commérage, scandal, duplicity and envieuse criticism that the two brothers created around them under the appearance of a literary living room to the manner of the 18th century.
During its last years develops in him a love exaggerated for loneliness, a morbid instinct of self-preservation, a constant fear of dead and a certain paranoia, perhaps due to the Syphilis which it had contracted during its youths. January 1st 1892, it makes an attempt at Suicide while trying to open the throat. It is then interned with Paris in the private clinic of the doctor Emile Blanche where it dies of general Paralysie, one month before its forty-third birthday, on July 6th, 1893, after eighteen months of almost total unconsciousness. On the death certificate the ranking is reproduced “born with Sotteville, close to Yvetot” which will open the door with a polemic concerning its birthplace.
It is buried without coffin with the Cimetière of Montparnasse to Paris, (26e division)…
Glance on work
Maupassant defined his designs of narrative art in particular in the Préface of Pierre and Jean entitled the novel into 1887/1888.
For him, the novelist who must all implement “to produce the effect that it continues i.e. the emotion of the simple reality, and to release artistic teaching that he wants some to draw, i.e. the revelation of what is truly the contemporary man in front of his eyes”, for him indeed “the large artists are those which impose on humanity their particular illusions”.
Rejecting the Romantic novel and his “deformed, superhuman, poetic vision” like the novel Symbolist marked by excesses of psychologism and the writing artist, Maupassant adheres to the ideal of a “novel objective” to the research of realism but conscious of the limits of this last. For him, “realism is a personal vision of the world that he (the novelist) seeks to communicate to us by reproducing it in a book” and with this intention the novelist carries out, starting from its personality, a choice in reality. “They is always we whom we show”, he affirms as he affirms that the novel is an artistic composition, “a skilful grouping of small constant facts from where will emerge the final direction from work”. Maupassant thus rejects also the naturalism with his heavy documentation and with its ambition demonstrator of a total realism with Zola but it practices a realism without exclusive morals with respect to sordid reality as at the time of died of Forester in Beautiful-Friend or the bitch in gésine in chapter X in a life .
Maupassant seeks the sobriety of the actions rather than the psychological explanation because “psychology must be hidden in the book as it is actually hidden under the facts in the existence”, this sobriety also applies to descriptions, breaking thus strongly with the Balzac writing. This taste for the density will lead Maupassant besides to privilege the art of the Nouvelle: he will write some more than three hundreds and only five novels, in one decade he is true.
Finally Maupassant paying homage to Flaubert will take again the formula of Buffon according to which “the talent is a long patience” and will assert a “clear language, logical and nervous”, opposed to the writing artist of the 1880-1890 qu years' illustrate for example the brothers Goncourt.
TopicsThey are related on the daily life of its time and the various experiments of the life of the author, and of course combine the ones with the others:
- the Normandy, native area of Maupassant, holds an important place in its work with its landscapes (countryside, sea or cities like Rouen in a life or Le Havre in Pierre and Jean ) and its inhabitants, who they are peasants ( With the fields - Toine …), small landed proprietors and small notable ( a life ) or small middle-class men ( Pierre and Jean ). It does not constitute however a single space framework since Paris is used as backdrop with the large novel Beautiful-Friend which out of watch various socially defined districts, in particular for the mediums society men and racketeers that one finds elsewhere in Fort like death or Mont Oriol . The medium of the small Parisian employees and the popular classes is him rather present in news like the heritage or the ornament , an outing in the country or Two friends for the seconds.
- the War of 1870 and the German occupation constitutes another important topic, Maupassant remembering the lived events ten or fifteen years earlier: the list would be long, quote Boule of tallow - Miss Fifi - Two friends - the father Milon - insane the …
- On the human plan, Maupassant sticks particularly to the women , often victims (Jeanne in a life , the King-side castling , Miss Harriet …) with a notable place made with the figure of the prostitute ( Ball of tallow - Miss Fifi - the house Tellier …). The topic of the family and the child is also expensive to him with often the question of the paternity ( Pierre and Jean - Boitelle - With the fields - the child - In family…).
- Among the other major axes of the work of Maupassant is the madness , the depression and paranoia ( Horla - Him? - the hair - Miss Hermet which begins with these revealing words “attracts insane me”…) and also the dead and the destruction ( a life - Beautiful-Friend - the King-side castling - Extremely like death…). The pessimistic orientation of these topics where the happy love has little place finds however sometimes a counterpoint in the topic of the water , which it is the sea ( a life - Pierre and Jean …), the rivers ( On water - Fly - an outing in the country …) or the marshes ( Love …).
It is thus a powerful personality but worries and dark which shows through in works more personal than it sometimes is believed and than the biography of the author can light.
The realistic register is constant with the choice of the details of the daily life, the behavior of the characters and the effects of picturesque language, but the register Fantastique mark strongly certain works when the unreal one is presented as a possible reality while often exploiting to the topic of the madness ( the hair - falls to It - Horla …).
In parallel the register Dramatique often carries it with the presence of the threat (the madness in Horla - anguishes in front of the death of Beautiful-Friend…) or of disappearance (the rape and the assassination of the King-side castling, separation in Boitelle - died accumulated in a life - suicide of Miss Harriet …). This glance pessimistic and distressed on the men and the life, like an often black vision of the social and personal reports/ratios, even makes it possible to speak about register Tragique in certain cases like Insane the or the father Amable .
Nevertheless the register Comique is not absent even if it is often squeaking. It as well relates to comic words of gestures as of characters with the country caricatures (“the string” - “the Animal with Maît' Belhomme”) or the character of the misled husband and being unaware of his situation in Pierre and Jean , and while also reaching with comic manners in connection with the world of the employees ( the heritage ) or of the middle-class go-getters as in Beautiful-Friend where merge for example plays in love and financial traffics.
The association of these various registers gives a locatable coloring to the work of Maupassant whom still a style own brand by the density increases that the dominating place of the news in the production of the author reflects.
Processes stylistics and narrative
- the art of Maupassant is made of balance between the account of the adventures, limited and functional descriptions, and the play between direct Discours/indirect Speech/free indirect Speech. It is also marked by the use of rather short sentences with an expressive punctuation and paragraphs them also rather short, even very short, which give a ventilated page layout. The language, as for it, is constant in the account and dynamics in the direct speech, seeking even the Pittoresque by transcribing the words of the popular characters. Illustration - extract (with the shortened dialog) of Pierre and Jean (CH. 8):
- With regard to the organization of the Account, Maupassant generally uses a linear Narration with possibly some limited explanatory flashbacks (in Beautiful-Friend for example).
If the Romans are classically with the third nobody with a omniscient Point of view dominating, the Nouvelles have a great narrative diversity which plays with different the focusings and different the Narrateur S. One can locate indeed accounts with the third nobody intended directly for the reader ( an outing in the country - With the fields - Two friends - Miss Fifi - Boule of tallow …) and of the accounts to the first nobody in which the narrator, witness, main actor or secondary, tell a memory presented as personal ( a midnight supper - My uncle Sosthène - Which knows? …). It can also be addressed to an audience (collective or individualized) and tell an event of its life ( Conte of Christmas - Apparition - the hand …), which justifies the name of Conte sometimes used by Maupassant, as for the accounts with the first nobody enchased in a vaster account where a character tells with the principal narrator often quasi implicit or by speaking in front of an audience, a history which was told to him previously ( the chair-bottomer ) or to which it took share ( the hand - the King-side castling …) ; this account being presented sometimes under the aspect of a manuscript ( the hair ) or of a letter ( Him? ).
Thus the richness of the topics approached, the personal vision of the world which is released some and control it art to write place Guy of Maupassant at the first ranks of the prosateurs of the 19th century; it remains in particular most outstanding of the authors of Nouvelle S of the French Littérature.
Works of Maupassant
Marked works (e-book) are available freely in electronic format on Projet Gutenberg. Follow the bond to find them.
Novels and news
|Random links:||Joel Beat | Mesnil-letter | Open of Brisbane | Aerodynamic moments | Krčedin|