Guy de Maupassant

(1850 – 1893)

Guy de MaupassantBiographical Sketch

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (Château de Miromesnil near Dieppe, France, August 5, 1850 – Paris, France, July 6, 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form’s finest exponents.

A protégé of Gustave Flaubert, Maupassant’s stories are characterized by their economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements. 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 Qui sait? and his most unsettling horror story, Le Horla, 1887, which was about madness and suicide) 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. Many of the stories are also set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught in the conflict, emerge changed. All in all, he authored some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. The story Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat, 1880) is often accounted his masterpiece.

In his later years he developed a constant desire for solitude, an obsession for self-preservation, and a fear of death and crazed paranoia of persecution that came from the syphilis he had contracted in his early days. On January 2, 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was committed to the celebrated private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris, where he died on July 6, 1893. – Guy De Maupassant penned his own epitaph: “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.” He is buried in the Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris.

Read more about Guy de Maupassant on Wikipedia.



Novels and Novel Fragments
  • Une Vie; l’Humble Vérité (A Life, the Humble Truth; A Woman’s Life) (1883)
  • Bel-Ami (1885)
  • Mont-Oriol (1887)
  • Pierre et Jean (1888)
    (Pierre et Jean, or Crucifixion)
  • Fort Comme la Mort (1889)
    (Strong as Death; Fort Comme la Mort, or The Ruling Passion)
  • Notre Cœur (1890)
    (Notre Cœur, or A Woman’s Pastime; Alien Hearts)
  • L’Âme Étrangère (1894)
  • L’Angélus (1895)
  • Romans (1987)
  • Romans (1991)
Novellas and Short Stories
  • Boule de Suif (1880)
    (Ball of Fat)
  • La Maison Tellier (1881)
    (Madame Tellier’s Excursion; The House of Tellier)
  • Mademoiselle Fifi (1882)
  • Mademoiselle Fifi: Nouveaux Contes (1883)
  • La Légende du Mont Saint-Michel (1883)
    (The Legend of Mont Saint Michel)
  • Le Condamné à Mort (1883)
  • Contes de la Bécasse (1883)
  • Clair de Lune (1884)
  • Monnier (1884)
  • Au Soleil (1884)
    (Au Soleil, or African Wanderings)
  • Les Sœurs Rondoli (1884)
    (Francesca and Carlotta Rondoli)
  • La Ficelle (1884)
    (The String; The Piece of String)
  • Mon Oncle Jules (1884)
    (My Uncle Jules)
  • Miss Harriet (1884)
  • Yvette (1885)
  • La Parure (1885)
    (The Necklace)
  • Contes du Jour et de la Nuit (1885)
  • Le Diable (1886)
    (The Devil)
  • L’Auberge (1886)
    (The Inn)
  • Toine (1886)
  • La Petite Roque (1886)
    (Little Louise Roque)
  • Monsieur Parent (1886)
  • Le Fou (1886)
    (The Diary of a Madman)
  • Le Horla (1887)
    (The Horla; Hallucination)
  • Le Rosier de Madame Husson (1888)
    (An Enthusiast)
  • Sur l’Eau (1888)
    (Sur l’Eau, or Afloat)
  • L’Héritage (1888)
    (The Heritage)
  • La Main Gauche (1889)
    (The Hand; The Englishman)
  • La Vie Errante (1890)
    (La Vie Errante, or In Vagabondia)
  • L’Inutile Beauté (1890)
    A/K/A: Mouche
    (Useless Beauty; Fly)
  • Qui Sait? (1890)
    (Who Knows?)
  • Le Père Milon: (1899)
    (No Quarter; Father Milon)
  • Le Colporteur (1900)
    (The Peddler)
  • Oeuvres Complètes Illustrées (1900-1904)
  • Short Stories of the Tragedy and Comedy of Life (1903)
  • Complete Short Stories (1941)
  • The Complete Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant (1955)
  • Stories of Mystery and Terror (1963)
  • Contes du Surnaturel (1967)
    (Tales of Supernatural Terror)
  • Selected Short Stories (1971)
  • Contes et Nouvelles (1974 – 1979)
  • A Night on the River and Other Strange Tales (1976)
  • Olive Orchard, and Other Stories (1977)
  • Contes Fantastiques Complets (1987)
  • Contes et Nouvelles (1988)
  • Oeuvres de Maupassant: Contes et Nouvelles; Romans (1988)
  • The Dark Side: Tales of Terror and Supernatural (1989)
  • Madame Baptiste et autres Nouvelles (1991)
  • The Necklace and Other Short Stories (1992)
  • Contes et Nouvelles (1992-1993)
  • Contes Normands et Parisiens (1993)
  • Le Papa de Simon et autres Nouvelles (1995)
  • Contes Grivois (1995)
  • Une Partie de Campagne et autres Contes (1995)
  • Les Prisonniers (1997)
  • Une Partie de Campagne et Autres Histoires d’Amour (1998)
  • Apparition: Et autres Contes d’Angoisse (1998)
  • La Peur et autres Contes Fantastiques (1999)
  • Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss et autres Histoires de Fous (1999)
  • Berthe et autres Contes de l’Enfance (1999)
  • Un Réveillon: Contes et Nouvelles de Normandie (1999)
  • Mademoiselle Fifi and Other Short Stories (1999)
  • 13 Histoires Vraies: Texte et Dossier (2000)
  • La Nuit, et autres Nouvelles Fantastiques (2000)
  • La Chevelure et autres Histoires de Fou (2002)
  • Histoire du Vieux Temps (1879)
  • Musotte (1891)
    – With Jacques Normand.
  • La Paix du Ménage (1893)
  • Théâtre; Oeuvres Complètes (1969)
  • A la Feuille de Rose; Maison Turque (1984)
    Edition includes the author’s correspondence with Gisèle d’Estoc and Marie Bashkirtseff, as well as poetry.
  • Des Vers (1880)
    (Des Vers, or Romances in Rhyme)
  • Des Vers et Autres Poèmes (2001)
  • Les plus belles Poésies de Maupassant (2002)
Journalism, Travelogues, Memoirs, Correspondence
  • Pour Gustave Flaubert (1876 – 1888)
  • Chroniques, Études, Correspondance de Guy de Maupassant (1940)
  • Lettres inédites à Gustave Flaubert (1941)
  • Lettres de Flaubert à Maupassant (1942)
  • Correspondance inédite (1951)
  • Lettere inedite di Maupassant alla Principessa Matilde [17 mai 1879 – juill.-août 1891]
  • Lettere inedite di Maupassant al Conte Primoli (1961)
  • Chroniques Littéraires et Chroniques Parisiennes (1969)
  • Chroniques inédites (1969)
  • Correspondance (1973)
  • Chroniques (1993)
  • Choses et Autres (1993)
  • Correspondance Gustave Flaubert – Guy de Maupassant (1993)
  • Lettres d’Afrique (1997)
  • De Tunis à Kairouan (1998)
  • Au Soleil et autres Récits de Voyage (1998)
  • Textes sur le Roman naturaliste (1999)
  • En Sicile (1999)
  • Guy de Maupassant: A Selection of the Political Journalism (1999)
  • Correspondance avec Marie Bashkirtseff (2000)
  • Gustave Flaubert (2001)
  • Guy de Maupassant: A Selection of the Chroniques (1881 – 1887) (2002)
Online editions of Guy de Maupassant’s works:


A Selection of Quotes

Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques

“A sick thought can devour the body’s flesh more than fever or consumption.”

“If other beings besides us exist on Earth, why didn’t we meet them a long time ago?”

A Woman’s Life

“One sometimes weeps over one’s illusions with as much bitterness as over a death.”

“She realized for the first time that two people can never reach each others deepest feelings and instincts, that they spend their lives side by side, linked it may be, but not mingled, and that each one’s inmost being must go through life eternally alone.”

Pierre et Jean

“The great artists are those who impose their personal vision upon humanity.”

Les dimanches d’un bourgeois de Paris

“You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.”

Collected Stories: My Uncle Sosthenes

“Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.”

Collected Stories: On Water

“Since governments take the right of death over their people, it is not astonishing if the people should sometimes take the right of death over governments.”

“Any government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship’s captain has to avoid a shipwreck.”

As quoted in Pol Neveux’s introduction to “Original Short Stories,” “Guy De Maupassant: A Study”:

“I entered literary life as a meteor, and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.”

Find more quotes by Guy de Maupassant on Wikiquote and Goodreads.