Guy de Maupassant - Biography

Guy de Maupassant - Biography

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Short biography - Guy de Maupassant, prolific French writer despite his short existence was also a literary journalist, left us six novels and nearly three hundred short stories, in a style that mixes realism and fantasy. Published from 1880 to 1891, these works mainly describe social and rural settings. Natural sound deeply distressed will deeply inspire the pessimism and sometimes the horror that reigns in his works. He ends up losing the raisonot in 1891 and died two years later.

Guy de Maupassant's adolescence

Guy de Maupassant was born at the beginning of August 1850 either at the Château de Miromesnil or in Fécamp with his maternal grandmother. For six years, he lived with sailors and fishermen; therefore water, sea and boats will attract him all his life. After installation at Grainville-Ymauville castle in 1854 and the birth two years later of his brother Hervé, the family returned to the capital in 1859, Maupassant then entered the Imperial Napoleon high school (current Henri IV high school). After his parents separated, his mother took her sons to Normandy and the vicar of Etretat taught them grammar, arithmetic, Latin and catechism.

In 1863, Maupassant entered the Ecclesiastical Institution of Yvetot, but did not support the boarding school. He meets the painter Jean Baptiste Corot and begins to write his first "a little dark" essays. At eighteen, expelled from the Institution for licentious verse, he was at the lycée in Rouen where he met the poet Bouilhet, then de Flaubert ; both take him under their wing and advise him. He finished his year by obtaining his baccalaureate in letters in 1869 and during the holidays, met Gustave Courbet, before going to Paris to start a first year of law.

His first texts

With the Franco-Prusian War of 1870 approaching, he was one of the conscripts and was assigned to the Intendance. The debacle, the desolation of the war inspired him the tales known as "Suif Ball », « Miss Fifi », « Two friends ". Asking his father, a gatekeeper during the siege of the capital, to intervene to change his body, he gets no result and pays a replacement to leave the army. Aspiring to enter the administration, he first worked for free at the Library of the Ministry of the Navy in March 1872, while being enrolled in the Faculty of Law. Finally, in February 1873, he received his first money: one hundred and twenty-five francs a month! And spends his weekends canoeing on the Seine ...

At the end of the year, Maupassant founded the Union Society, takes the pseudonym of Joseph prunier, begins to write his first tale "The Flayed Hand Which appears in the Lorraine Almanac de Pont à Mousson. He meetsEdmond de Goncourt, then Stephane Mallarme, Emile Zola, Mendes and thanks to Flaubert, publishes articles in the daily The nation.

His first illness dates back to 1876 ... he suffers from syphilis and frequent migraines. Spending the summer of 1877 in cure, he wrote drama show like "A la feuille de rose" or "the betrayal of the Countess of Rhune" which will be refused to the French comedy, but presented to Sarah Bernhardt, then another tale "The Giver of Holy Water" and now earns two thousand one hundred francs a month. He is also working on his first novel "A life "Then a play" The History of Old Times "which premiered on February 19, 1879 and which was well received.

In the meantime, he meets Leon Gambetta, enter the Ministry of Public Instruction, was appointed Academy officer and became secretary to Xavier Charmes. Following the publication of the poem "A girl" he had to appear in court for insulting public morals and good morals ... Flaubert intervened and in February 1880, Maupassant obtained a dismissal.

He is working on a collection of poems published by the collective of writers "Les soirées de Médan" in which we find "Suet Ball ". Maupassant becomes famous, the press tears off his writings to make soap operas. But in May 1880, Flaubert disappeared, Maupassant took care of the funeral. Morally, he is very affected and his life will change.

Guy de Maupassant, writer and journalist

In the 1880s, He is gradually leaving the Administration to only write and publish. He published "Bouvard et Pécuchet" in La Nouvelle Revue and became one of the most important literary journalists. In the meantime, he made trips to Corsica, Etretat, Menton and Algeria which provided material for articles and reports. The success is growing: about fifty tales per year among whichThe Tales of the Woodcock (1883), Nice friend (1885), The Horla and other fantastic tales(1887), Strong like mort (1889), The Tellie Houser (1881) as well as numerous travelogues. But the disease is more present with back and eye pain (the right eye is severely affected).

Thinking of the newborn baby, a little one Honoré Lucien Litzelmann in 1883, he had a house built in Etretat (completed in June 1884), at the same time as his novel “A life "Which will be a great success and"Letters from Gustave Flaubert to Georges Sand "And that it is named Member of the People of Letters. The illegitimate couple (Maupassant and Joséphine Litzelmann) gave birth to a second child in June 1884, a little girl Jeanne Lucienne, while Maupassant was working on his new novel “Bel-Ami” and his “Contes du jour et de la nuit” which were published in March 1885. He was received in Parisian high society and met in particular Proust and Guitry.

His end of life

From February 1886, his health declined, may be due to the poor state of health of his brother Hervé, interned in Bron and who died in November 1889. To relax, he made several trips: Cannes, Antibes, Etretat, England (guest of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild), Saint Raphaël, Chatou, North Africa while continuing to write a novel "Pierre et Jean" in eight weeks. He bought a boat in Marseille, baptized it "Bel-Ami" and made several cruises in the Mediterranean Gulf. He spends a lot of time in Provence to rest, but is prone to intestinal disturbances, hallucinations, anxiety attacks. Despite everything, he wrote and had the novels "La vie errante" and "Notre coeur" published.

From January 1891 Maupassant began to lose his mind. Affected in the throat, teeth, back, he can no longer write, went to the sun (Luchon, Saint Raphael, Divonne-les-Bains, Aix les Bains, Cannes), but began to be paralyzed at the end of 1891. He felt his end was near, wrote his will and made an attempt to suicide in January 1892. In this state, he was admitted to a clinic from January 7 and his property was placed under guardianship. His health deteriorated from day to day in 1893 (convulsions then coma). Finally he died in Passy on July 6, 1893 at the age of 43 and is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery. His goods are auctioned at the end of December 1893.

Short biography of Maupassant

Full NameHenry-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant
Date of BirthAugust 5, 1850 (Tourville-sur-Arques)
Date of deathJuly 6, 1893 (Paris)
Professions (s)Writer, Literary Journalist
CurrentsNaturalism, Realism
 InfluencesArthur Schopenhauer, Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola

His main works


A life (1883)

Nice friend (1885)

Peter and John (1888)

Tales and short stories

Ball of tallow (1880)

Adornment (1884)

The Horla (1887)

For further

- Guy de Maupassant by Nadine Satiat. Biography, Flammarion, 2002.

- Maupassant by Henri Troyat. Biography, Flammarion, 1992.

Video: Biographie de Guy de Maupassant


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