Guy de Maupassant (1850-93) was a literary disciple of Flaubert and one of the group of young Naturalistic writers that formed around Zola. Maupassant's contribution to the Naturalists collaborative collection of tales, Les Soirees de Medan, was 'Boule de suif', which remains one of the most well-known of the hundreds of stories he wrote over the course of his life and on which his literary reputation now rests. He also wrote six novels, including Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888). Sian Miles was born in Wales and educated there and in France where she lived for many years. She now teaches at Warwick University and is the author of an anthology of the writings of Simone Weil, and translations of George Sand's Marianne, Violet Trefusis's Echo, and has collaborated on Paul Valery's Cahiers/Notebooks.
Guy de Maupassant was born in 1850 and died in 1893.
Reviews - What do customers think about Bel Ami (Petits Classiques Larousse Texte Integral)?
I resent all characters in the book ,yet still love the book Jul 17, 2008
Is it possible to absolutely disdain every single characters in any literary form and abhor their actions ,but still love the book? yes, it is. If you read Guy de Maupassant's Bel-Ami, you will understand the question I raised.
Guy de Maupassant was a master story teller , especially his story stories were highly influential. Many writers have been influenced by his style which is an enhanced version of realism that Flaubert mastered when he was at the apex of his talent. This book "Bel-Ami" is his second novel and it's as entertaining as you expect.
The plot revolving around a scoundrel named Georges Duroy and show his ascension in Paris society during the third republic. Indeed, the time "Bel-Ami" is his nickname first used by a daughter of a woman with whom Duroy has an affiar. Except for being handsome and an expert of manupulation of female psyche, Duroy did not have absolutely no innate talent. However, his military service in Algeria happened to give hime a key to success. He met his comrades by chance and through him get into the door of the modern Babylon named Paris and works in aptly named newspaper "La Vie Francaise" as a journalist. Duroy is the archetype of a unscrupulous modern man who is driven by an obssetion of clibming social ladder by any mean .On top of that,he seems to lack control of his libido. He continues to have affairs with several women throughout the book ,yet all these affairs have dual purposes which provide him benefit each time. How skillful Maupassant is well represented his talent of creating circumstances that seems to never allow any human decency, which only lead anyone to the steep descension in social hierachry rather than the opposite. So inadvertently vindicate our hero Duroy's action.
If we can experience July Monarch through Balzac's works, we are able to glance the third repulic in Guy de Maupassant's novel. As Balzac is highly critical of the life in Urbanity, so does Maupassant In "Bel Ami" It's excellent piece of work that show a segment and the deeply rotten core of the society concorrently.
An Amoral Tale Dec 3, 2007
Bel-Ami is a fascinating novel in that it provides an exceptionally clear view of 19th century Parisian society and is an incredibly good story. Essentially the tale of a social climbing ladies man , who through his natural abilty to seduce women manipulates all around him for personal gain with no visible conscience or moral qualms.
A highly cynical novel written by a master of concise vivid writing, Bel-Ami moves along at a brisk pace and is one of De Maupassant's best works.
A Window onto Third Republic France Sep 30, 2007
Maupassant's classic novel provides insight into the politics and high society of France during the early Third Republic. Georges Duroy is the ultimate social climber, who manages to achieve wealth and power in a world that seems to reward scheming. But he is also representative of the "little man" who succeeded in France after 1870. His is a world pervaded by politics, dominated by the self-assured bourgeoisie, and focused on Paris as the center of French life.
Meanwhile, Maupassant depicts many of the important political and social trends of the day: the predominance of the haute bourgeoisie, corruption in politics, the too-cozy relationship between politicians and journalists, colonialism, secularization/anti-clericalism vs. religiosity or professed piety, antisemitism, relations between men and women marked by exploitation and hypocrisy.
Though the romantic scenes are a little ridiculous at times, "Bel-Ami" provides a terrific literary snapshot of a certain era in French history.
Talk about a Tomcat!!! Step aside Don Juan... Aug 27, 2007
"Self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting anything which happens to stumble upon it." Lord Byron 1788-1824
This classic chronicles Georges Duroy's (the main protagonist of the novel) quick rise to power from a poor, lost, ex-soldier to one of the most successful men in all of Paris. Georges is a young man who has indeed been blessed. He's exceptionally handsome, smart, charismatic, resourceful, etc... however, like many men who have been spoiled by the gods, Georges is completely self-centered. It's all about him. He uses these gifts to exploit people, especially women, and without conscience, he manipulates his way to the top of his profession.
I have to honestly say that I have never despised a main male character in a novel more than I did Georges. He is such a lowly cad, a man who is completely amoral and sans ethics. While I was reading the novel I kept waiting for Georges to get his come-uppance. For truly no man can live a life so loathsome before Karma finally decides to pay him a visit. Maupassant's excellent writing style and the hopes that Georges would get his just do, were the two main reasons I kept turning the pages. I could imagine a feminist wanting to burn this book, because of the way the main protagonist deceives women. However, that being said, most of the female characters in the novel are almost just as bad as Georges. They all cheat on their spouses, are self-absorbed & consumed, and lack integrity.
Maupassant interpretation of the hypocritical world of the Paris privileged in the late 19th century is both vexatious and morose. I just can't believe that people could be so damn unprincipled! There wasn't anyone to really root for in this story, no one whom you could really build a connection toward. They were almost all repugnant, self-centered, immoral characters and in many ways the women were worse than the men. It's interesting to note, that Maupassant was good friends with Emile Zola. I can see quite a few similarities between this story and Zola's classic "Nana". Duroy, like Nana, comes from a poor, working class family and like the latter he is almost irresistible to any member of the opposite sex he sets his eyes upon. His sex appeal has no rivals and he is able to exploit these women one after another in order to rise among the Paris elite society. Duroy will go down in my book as the quintessential womanizer of classic literature.
I thoroughly enjoy the way Maupassant writes, but I must admit I had a very difficult time with this one when it was all said and done. Perhaps I was expecting something to happen that didn't. I will refrain from elaborating on that point, for fear it will relate too much about the novel. However, all that being stated, it's a story that does grab your interest and never seems to let go.
Full Range Of Emotions Sep 18, 2005
Though I've only read the original, I highly recommend Bel-Ami! This book is a treat. I found it quite a fast read at 400 pages because I simply devoured it; the characters, in spite (or maybe because) of all their flaws and weaknesses, are so engaging you'll became so involved that you'll hardly be able to put it down. Maupassant has a way of conveying the moods of the book to the reader that you'll pant for more in the end.