Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893)
Maupassant was born in Normandy and raised, together with a younger brother, by their mother only, as she lived separated from her husband. He had a happy and free childhood, so when he went to a religious school he resented the atmosphere and the discipline. He went to Paris to study Law but had to join the army, during the years 1870-71, and witnessed the defeat of France in the war against Germany.
His mother was a close friend of Gustave Flaubert and he encouraged Maupassant to write for many years, during which he worked for different Ministries. Then Flaubert decided it was time for Maupassant to publish and introduced him to Zola and other famous writers of the time (Turgenev, De Goncourt, James). Between 1880 and 1891, 300 short-stories and 6 novels were published. The success was huge and enabled him to quit his job as a civil servant. So he went on working as a writer and as a journalist.
Despite his apparent healthy constitution, he had contracted syphilis when very young (his passion for women lasted all his life) and progressively worsened his conditions. He tried to commit suicide but did not succeed, so he was sent to an asylum where he died, crazy, shortly before his 43rd birthday.
Maupassant was a realistic writer, ha had no faith in life whatsoever and had a pesimistic and desperate vision of it. He loved the sea and the rivers and quite often water is present in his writings. He is considered the greatest French short-story writer.
His most famous works are: Tallow-Ball (1880) ; The Tellier House(1881) ; Mademoiselle Fifi (1882) ; A Woman's Life and Tales of the Goose (1883) ; Good Friend (1885) ; Mont-Oriol and The Horla (1887) ; Pierre et Jean Sur l'eau ; The Rose-Bush of Madame Husson(1888).
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