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Penguin Classics Bel Ami Paperback – Jun 19 2012
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From the Back Cover
Étude approfondie d'un grand texte classique ou contemporain par un spécialiste de l'oeuvre : approche critique originale des multiples facettes du texte dans une présentation claire et rigoureuse.
Bibliographie, chronologie, variantes, témoignages, extraits de presse. Eclaircissements historiques et contextuels, commentaires critiques récents.
Un ouvrage efficace, élégant. Une nouvelle manière de lire --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
GUY DE MAUPASSANT (1850-93) was a literary disciple of Flaubert and part of the group of young Naturalistic writers that formed around Zola. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), Maupassant wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'. By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later. DOUGLAS PARMEE is a well-known French translator.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"Bel-Ami" is hardly an original premise. How many books written through the years discuss the idea of a rural man heading to the city to make it big? That is exactly what happens with this book in the form of main character Georges Duroy. After a five-year stint in the French army, Duroy moves to Paris to make his fortune. Regrettably, Duroy is languishing in a lowly job as a railroad clerk until he meets his old army buddy Forestier. From this point forward, Georges is on the fast track to success. Forestier gets him a job at a scandal rag named "La Vie Francaise" where Georges rapidly ascends the ranks from lowly reporter to chief editor. Along the way, Duroy engages in all sorts of amorous adventures with women both high and low on the Paris social register. By the time the story ends, Georges is within sight of the highest positions in French society, all accomplished through sheer cunning and social maneuvering.Read more ›
Others may see it as a bleak ironic tale depicting the triumph of cynicism and amorality in an ultimately meaningless Universe. Meaning all depends on what peg you hang everything on. If you are looking for confirmation of some universal moral values, you won't find them here, but on the other hand you'll find an entertaining, sometimes disturbing, but always fascinating tale of a talented man with appetites and passions.
The conventional wisdom would be to view Georges Duroy as a cad, and with top hat and twirly moustaches, he definitely fits that visual stereotype, but he starts at the bottom and gets to the top merely by playing the rules of the game that is already in progress.
He gains success partly through the help of several women, and perhaps the way he treats them looks somewhat callous, but I would venture to defend him on this point. It is true he uses women at every stage of his ascent, but this, after all, can only be done with their consent and all the females who are so used, do this quite willingly, charmed by his good looks and personality.
Of course, one's moral view of this character depend on whether you take a male or female view of sexual morality. Men are by nature more promiscuous, whereas women view sensuality in pair bonding terms. Men, while paying lip service to this view because of its important role in rearing the next generation, believe that there should be a little icing on the cake.Read more ›
Georges Duroy is one of those incompetent losers who gets others to do his work for him and sleeps his way to the top, basically. This story is an expose of the corrupt and unscrupulous aspects of the newspaper publishing world and the immoral seductions of Parisian high society.
Duroy begins in the poverty and squalor of a worker's tenement building where he's struggling to make a living. Through sheer determination to change his situation and make something of his life, he moves to Paris and soon finds himself in the artistic salon of a wealthy and intelligent political hostess and the home of a rich Jewish banker and newspaper owner. Here Maupassant skillfully shows how a mediocre, untalented nobody becomes really successful in life through cunning, through good luck... and good connections!
author of "Love and Madness"
Most recent customer reviews
I didn't like this book cuz I couldn't read it it's all in French ughhhh!! Not cool at all guysPublished 22 months ago by steph
A great work by a giant of 19th century French literature who died young, perhaps before fully realizing his immense talent. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2013 by J. A. I.
Just a beautifully written story. This is my second time reading it, and I can't wait to read it again in 10 years! Love Maupassant, I would recommend it for sure.Published on Feb. 4 2010 by Marianne Julie Etienne
The novel can make you wonder how the society can be so porous to allow somebody to get from dire poverty to filthy richness. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by myshiak
je ne peux pas comprendre les gens qui lisent la littérature française en anglais. d'abord, rien ne se traduit (tradurre e' tradire). Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004 by Polyglot
Maupassant's characters are more real and colourful than those created by any of the other French naturalists. Bel Ami, his first fill length novel, is simply a joy to read. Read morePublished on June 12 2001
I enjoyed this book very much and readily recognize that it is head and shoulders above so much contemporary fiction -- particularly all this Oprah Winfrey-approved garbage. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2000
Has anyone ever asked you what 5 books you'd take with you to a desert island? Consider Bel Ami.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Read more