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BEL-AMI (French) Mass Market Paperback – Jul 8 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: GALLIMARD (May 1 1999)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 207040935X
  • ISBN-13: 978-2070409358
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #123,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Guy de Maupassant est né en 1850 au château de Miromesnil en Normandie. Ses parents se séparent alors qu'il est encore enfant. Confié à sa mère ainsi qu'à son jeune frère, il vit désormais à Étretat dans la propriété familiale. Ces années sont les plus heureuses de son existence. Sa mère veille elle-même sur l'instruction de son fils, s'efforçant de lui faire partager son amour des livres tout en le laissant s'ébattre librement dans les champs et les bois, au bord des falaises, et flâner sur les ports où des marins l'emmènent parfois en mer. Elle se résigne enfin à l'inscrire au collège, mais l'enfant supporte mal l'enfermement, la grossièreté de ses camarades et la discipline, aussi s'isole-t-il pour écrire des vers. Certains raillent si ouvertement ses professeurs qu'il est renvoyé et doit poursuivre ses études au lycée de Rouen. L'invasion de la Normandie lui inspira une nouvelle : «Boule de Suif». Un emploi lui est ensuite offert à Paris, au ministère de la Marine, puis au ministère de l'Instruction publique, occupations ingrates auxquelles les promenades en bateau qu'il fait chaque dimanche apportent quelque distraction. Mais, surtout, sa mère l'a recommandé à Gustave Flaubert, dont elle a été l'amie d'enfance. L'écrivain lui ouvre les portes de son bureau, dirige ses lectures, le charge de recherches. Maupassant lui soumet bientôt ses premiers manuscrits. Flaubert l'introduit dans la société littéraire. Maupassant collabore alors à divers journaux. Il en dépeindra les salles de rédaction dans «Bel-Ami». «Boule de suif», publié en 1880, rencontre un tel succès qu'il abandonne ses projets de poèmes et de théâtre, pour se consacrer aux nouvelles et aux romans. Dès lors, il ne cesse d'écrire. De 1880 à 1890, il publie six romans, dont «Une vie», et seize recueils de nouvelles, dont «La Maison Tellier», «Mademoiselle Fifi». Son besoin de solitude est tel qu'il se fait construire une villa à Étretat, dans laquelle il se retire pour écrire. Vers 1885, Maupassant ressent les premiers symptômes de la maladie nerveuse qui l'emportera. Il sombre dans la tristesse, il se croit entouré d'êtres invisibles. C'est à cette époque qu'il écrit «Le Horla». On finira par l'interner dans une clinique où il mourra, dix-huit mois plus tard, le 6 juillet 1893.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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