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Penguin Classics Bel Ami Film Tie In Edition [Paperback]

Maupassant Guy De
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 19 2012
Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his friends as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie francaise and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives - the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses and wily financiers - and swiftly learns to become an arch-seducer, blackmailer and social climber in a world where love is only a means to an end. Written when Maupassant was at the height of his powers, "Bel-Ami" is a novel of great frankness and cynicism, but it is also infused with the sheer joy of life - depicting the scenes and characters of Paris in the belle epoque with wit, sensitivity and humanity.

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From the Back Cover

Un essai
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.

Un dossier
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.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Story on 19th Century French Society May 26 2003
Format:Paperback
Guy De Maupassant (1850-1893), if "Bel-Ami" is any indication, must rank as one of the best writers in the history of the western world. Born in Normandy in 1850, Maupassant became a disciple of the French author Flaubert early in life. Guy quit his job with the civil service after publishing his first short story, "Boule de Suif" in 1880. What followed was a phenomenal flurry of 250 short stories and six novels before his premature death from syphilis in 1893. During his short life, Maupassant helped to form the "groupe de Medan," a loosely knit group of naturalist writers headed by Emile Zola. He also worked as a journalist, covering such important events as the French campaigns in Algeria and Tunisia. A hard worker when it came to writing, Maupassant also possessed a zest for life, including a love for the ladies that eventually killed him.
"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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars right up there with Madame Bovary Dec 9 2000
Format:Paperback
I would never have known that Guy de Maupassant wrote novels along with his great short stories if another amazon reader hadn't turned me on to their existence. This novel, reminiscent of Madame Bovary (a male version, you might say) is terrific. You'll get a great deal of description of Paris in the late 19th century with period details worthy of any great novelist. The plot is typical: poor, rural young man from the outskirts (Rouen) has no money and no position in life, but longs to find fame and fortune. Thanks to his manly wiles (he's a natural ladies' man), he manages to sleep his way to the top. Like Madame Bovary, happiness is never really there no matter how much money and power he attains - the more you get, the more you realize that others will always have more. Still, Monsieur Duroy, even at his most calculating retains somewhat of a sympathetic quality that allows us to relate to him and root for his success. Despite its length, this novel is a fast read. One of my favorites of the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars French Tickler Nov. 21 2000
Format:Paperback
We can always learn something from the French, and this novel of one journalist's rise in 1880s Paris is full of little 'life lessons' about the way of the World and how to turn things to one's own advantage.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sleaze, Manipulation, Mediocrity March 29 2004
Format:Paperback
This is a story of how sleaze, manipulation, and mediocrity prevail and get certain people ahead in life.
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!
David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful book. Never loses its charm. Worth rereading.
Published 4 days ago by Veronica Gareau
1.0 out of 5 stars French
I didn't like this book cuz I couldn't read it it's all in French ughhhh!! Not cool at all guys
Published 5 months ago by steph
5.0 out of 5 stars La réussite sociale dans tous ses états
Portrait très convaincant (et pour cause…) d’un « vagabond mondain », jeune homme issu des champs, mais qui veut devenir homme de la ville. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nicole Latourelle
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friend Less Beautiful
A great work by a giant of 19th century French literature who died young, perhaps before fully realizing his immense talent. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. A. I.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
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
4.0 out of 5 stars social climbers
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 more
Published on June 3 2004 by myshiak
1.0 out of 5 stars rien ne se traduit! il faut apprendre le français
je ne peux pas comprendre les gens qui lisent la littérature française en anglais. d'abord, rien ne se traduit (tradurre e' tradire). Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Polyglot
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly 'modern' classic
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 more
Published on June 12 2001 by "stephenmackintosh"
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, But Doesn't Quite Attain Excellence
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 more
Published on Sept. 10 2000
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