On an ordinary, hot afternoon I found a book titled “Popular French Stories”. It was by an unknown publisher and had a very ordinary looking cover. Peering inside, I found a plethora of stories so strange my fifteen-year old brain couldn’t comprehend it and I put the book down. Years later, I sat down on an ordinary,hot afternoon and read the book again. It was at this point that I stumbled upon Guy De Maupassant and his brilliant brand of realism. One of France’s greatest poets, De Maupassant was the greatest of all French realists.
Guy De Maupassant was born on August 5th ,1850 near Dieppe, France. When Maupassant was 11 , his parents legally separated. His mother was a strong independent woman and she was an influential figure in his life. He was the godson, friend and an apprentice of the great Gustave Flaubert. Flaubert acted as his literary guardian and helped him make his debut in the world of writing. He met Emile Zola and Russian Novelist Ivan Turgenev as well as many others. His two hundred short stories depict the pessimist that he was and his dark, gloomy side. He wrote over three hundred short stories and six novels.
His stories have a cynical air to it. Even though his stories and opinions were based on realism, ultimately he lost his life to madness. He died at the age of 43 in an the private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris.
Why I love De Maupassant is because his stories are just simply brilliant. They describe human nature in a subtle, indescribable way. Take his first work ‘Boule De Suif”. It revolves around the hypocrisy of human nature and peer pressure. De Maupassant had indeed researched human nature thoroughly.
The way it’s been written is no surprise why this story made De Maupassant instantly famous.
Another favorite of mine, “The Necklace”, is a gem of a story. It revolves around the greed of human being and what a fake façade can do to a person’s life.
“Useless Beauty” is also another story with a wickedly humorous ending.
Human beings were never made out of sugar, spice and everything nice. They were made imperfect, devious and fickle. His stories are a thorough display of the what makes a human so vulnerable and unpredictable.