Maupassant's second novel, Bel-Ami (1885) is the story of a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Georges Duroy, christened "Bel-Ami" by his female admirers) making it to the top in fin-de-sihcle Paris. It is a novel about money, sex, and power, set against the background of the politics of the French colonization of North Africa. It explores the dynamics of an urban society uncomfortably close to our own and is a devastating satire of the sleaziness of contemporary journalism.
Bel-Ami enjoys the status of an authentic record of the apotheosis of bourgeois capitalism under the Third Republic. But the creative tension between its analysis of modern behavior and its identifiably late nineteenth-century fabric is one of the reasons why Bel-Ami remains one of the finest French novels of its time, as well as being recognized as Maupassant's greatest achievement as a novelist.
This new translation is complemented by fullest introduction and notes of any edition currently available.
About the Author
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (French: [ɡid(ə) mopasɑ̃]; 5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a popular French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form's finest exponents.
Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert and his stories are characterized by economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements (dramatic structure). Many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s, describing the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught up in events beyond their control, are permanently changed by their experiences. He wrote some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. His first published story, "Boule de Suif" ("Ball of Fat", 1880), is often considered his masterpiece.
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