Guy de Maupassant, 1850-1893

Biographical note

Maupassant is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story. His short stories are characterised by their economy of style and the efficient way in which the various threads within them are neatly resolved. He delighted in clever plotting, and served as a model for Somerset Maugham and O. Henry.

Taking his cue from Balzac, Maupassant wrote comfortably in both the high-Realist and fantastic modes; stories and novels such as "L'Héritage" and Bel-Ami aim to recreate Third Republic France in a realistic way, whereas many of the short stories (notably "Le Horla", cited as an inspiration for H. P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu", and "Qui sait?") describe apparently supernatural phenomena. The supernatural in Maupassant, however, is often implicitly a symptom of the protagonists' troubled minds; Maupassant was fascinated by the burgeoning discipline of psychiatry, and this interest is reflected in his fiction.

Works

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