Guy de Maupassant

A picture of the author Guy de Maupassant

Henri Ren Albert Guy de Maupassant (Aug 5, 1850 - Jul 6, 1893) was a popular French author who wrote under the pen name Guy de Maupassant. He is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story as well as one of its finest practitioners. His prolific and deeply admired body of work influenced a great number of writers including William Somerset Maugham, O. Henry, Anton Chekhov, Kate Chopin and Henry James.

He was a popular writer during his lifetime and had the good fortune to see that his stories were widely read. As a young man he fought in the Franco-Prussian War. He drew heavily on that experience and that war provides the setting for many of his stories which often depict the tragedy and suffering of innocent civilians caught in war's path. He also found inspiration in the not-so-admirable behavior of the bourgeoisie, and made them targets of his biting pessimism and skewering pen.

His most famous work for English readers is probably The Necklace. If you are unfamiliar with his works, also consider A Piece of String, Mademoiselle Fifi, Miss Harriet, My Uncle Jules, Found on a Drowned Man and The Wreck as starting points. If you have the stomach for it, you might try his truly terrifying piece of Gothic Fiction, The Hand.

Boule de Suif is arguably considered Guy de Maupassant's finest short story. It's a bit long for the short story form, but it's length is justified by Maupassant's mastery and the treatment of his high society targets. The story is a withering criticism of the French society of the late 19th century. Maupassant takes representatives from the different classes and stations of French Society and places them all in the same carriage, which is then accidentally driven behind enemy lines during the Franco-Prussian war. In time, the true character of each participant is revealed as Maupassant passes scathing judgement upon his fellow countrymen.

Guy de Maupassant suffered from mental illness in his later years and attempted suicide on January 2nd, 1892. He was committed to a private asylum in Paris and died the following year.

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Short Stories

A Country Excursion
A Coup d'Etat
A Coward
A Cremation
A Dead Woman's Secret
A Duel
A Family
A Family Affair
A Father's Confession
A Ghost
A Humble Drama
All Over
A Meeting
A Mother of Monsters
An Affair of State
An Artifice
A New Year's Gift
A Normandy Joke
An Uncomfortable Bed
A Parricide
A Piece of String
A Portrait
A Queer Night in Paris
A Recollection
A Sale
A Sister's Confession
A Stroll
A Tress of Hair
At Sea
A Vagabond
A Vendetta
A Wedding Gift
A Widow
Belhomme's Beast
Beside Schopenhauer's Corpse
Boule de Suif
Clair de Lune
Father Matthew
Father Milon
Found on a Drowned Man
Friend Joseph
Friend Patience
His Avenger
In the Spring
In the Wood
Julie Romain
Lasting Love
Legend of Mont St. Michel
Lieutenant Lare's Marriage
Little Louise Roque
Madame Baptiste
Madame Hermet
Madame Husson's Rosier
Madame Parisse
Mademoiselle Cocotte
Mademoiselle Fifi
Mademoiselle Pearl
Miss Harriet
Monsieur Parent
Mother and Son
Mother Sauvage
My Twenty-Five Days
My Uncle Jules
My Uncle Sosthenes
My Wife
Old Amable
Old Judas
Old Mongilet
On the River
Our Letters
Queen Hortense
Rosalie Prudent
Saint Anthony
Simon's Papa
Sundays of a Bourgeois
That Costly Ride
That Pig of a Morin
The Accursed Bread
The Adopted Son
The Apparition
The Baroness
The Beggar
The Blind Man
The Child
The Christening
The Colonel's Ideas
The Corsican Bandit
The Cripple
The Devil
The Diamond Necklace
The Diary of a Madman
The Dispenser of Holy Water
The Donkey
The Door
The Dowry
The Drunkard
The Effeminates
The Englishman of Etretat
The False Gems
The Farmer's Wife
The Father
The First Snowfall
The Fishing Hole
The Gamekeeper
The Grave
The Hairpin
The Hand
The Horla
The Horrible
The Impolite Sex
The Inn
The Kiss
The Legion of Honor
The Little Cask
The Log
The Love of Long Ago
The Magic Couch
The Maison Tellier
The Man with the Pale Eyes
The Marquis de Fumerol
The Mask
The Model
The Moribund
The Mountain Pool
The Mustache
The Necklace
Theodule Sabot's Confession
The Orphan
The Parrot
The Patron
The Penguins' Rock
The Piece of String
The Prisoners
The Question of Latin
The Rabbit
The Relic
The Rondoli Sisters
The Snipe
The Son
The Spasm
The Story of a Farm Girl
"The Terror"
The Test
The Thief
The Trip of the Horla
The Umbrella
The Unknown
The Vendetta
The Wardrobe
The Will
The Wolf
The Wreck
The Wrong House
Two Friends
Two Little Soldiers
Useless Beauty
Waiter, a "Bock"
Walter Schnaff's Adventure
Yvette Samoris

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson