Zola had contributed the manuscript of the "Attaque du Moulin," and it was at Maupassant's house that the five young men gave in their contributions. Each one read his story, Maupassant being the last. When he had finished Boule de Suif, with a spontaneous impulse, with an emotion they never forgot, filled with enthusiasm at this revelation, they all rose and, without superfluous words, acclaimed him as a master.
He undertook to write the article for the Gaulois and, in cooperation with his friends, he worded it in the terms with which we are familiar, amplifying and embellishing it, yielding to an inborn taste for mystification which his youth rendered excusable.
The essential point, he said, is to "unmoor" criticism. It was unmoored. The following day Wolff wrote a polemical dissertation in the Figaro and carried away his colleagues. The volume was a brilliant success, thanks to Boule de Suif. Despite the novelty, the honesty of effort, on the part of all, no mention was made of the other stories.
Relegated to the second rank, they passed without notice. From his first battle, Maupassant was master of the field in literature.
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.
At his parents’ separation he stayed with his mother, who was a friend of Flaubert. As a young man he was lively and athletic, but the first symptoms of syphilis appeared in the late 1870s. By this time Maupassant had become Flaubert’s pupil in the art of prose.
On the publication of the first short story to which he put his name, ‘Boule de suif’, he left his job in the civil service and his temporary alliance with the disciples of Zola at Médan, and devoted his energy to professional writing. In the next eleven years he published dozens of articles, nearly three hundred stories and six novels, the best known of which are A Woman’s Life, Bel-Ami and Pierre and Jean. He led a hectic social life, lived up to his reputation for womanizing and fought his disease.
By 1889 his friends saw that his mind was in danger, and in 1891 he attempted suicide and was committed to an asylum in Paris, where he died two years later.
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