Guy de Maupassant
Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), French author of the naturalistic school who is generally considered the greatest French short story writer.
Guy de Maupassant was probably born at the Château de Miromesniel, Dieppe on August 5, 1850. In 1869 Maupassant started to study law in Paris, but soon, at the age of 20, he volunteered to serve in the army during the Franco-Prussian War. Between the years 1872 and 1880 Maupassant was a civil servant, first at the ministry of maritime affairs, then at the ministry of education.
As a poet Maupassant made his debut with Des Vers (1880). In the same year he published in the anthology Soirées de Medan (1880), edited by E. Zola, his masterpiece, "Boule De Suif" ("Ball of Fat", 1880). During the 1880s Maupassant created some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. In tone, his tales were marked by objectivity, highly controlled style, and sometimes by sheer comedy. Usually they were built around simple episodes from everyday life, which revealed the hidden sides of people. Among Maupassant's best-known books are Une Vie (A Woman's Life, 1883), about the frustrating existence of a Norman wife and Bel-Ami (1885), which depicts an unscrupulous journalist. Pierre Et Jean (1888) was a psychological study of two brothers. Maupassant's most upsetting horror story, Le Horla (1887), was about madness and suicide.
Maupassant had suffered from his 20s from syphilis. The disease later caused increasing mental disorder - also seen in his nightmarish stories, which have much in common with Edgar Allan Poe's supernatural visions. Critics have charted Maupassant's developing illness through his semi-autobiographical stories of abnormal psychology, but the theme of mental disorder is present even in his first collection, La Maison Tellier (1881), published at the height of his health.
On January 2, in 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was committed to the celebrated private asylum of Dr. Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris, where he died on July 6, 1893.
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