Guy de Maupassant Biography

Guy de Maupassant was an acclaimed French short story writer and novelist. This biography provides detailed information about his childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Also Known As:
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant
Famous as:
Novelist & Short Story Writer
Nationality:
Birth Date:
Died At Age:
42
Sun Sign:
Leo
Born in:
château de Miromesnil, France
father:
Gustave de Maupassant
mother:
Laure Le Poittevin
siblings:
Hervé de Maupassant, Creig de Maupassant,
Married:
No
Died on:
July 6, 1893
place of death:
Esprit Blanche, Passy, Paris,
Diseases & Disabilities:
More Facts
education:
Lycée Pierre-Corneille

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Widely regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Short Story’ writing, Guy de Maupassant was one of the greatest French writers in the 19th century. His stories strikingly captured various aspects of day-to-day life in France during that time. Many of his stories were based on the Franco-Prussian War and the lives of innocent people who were caught in it. His writing belonged to the genre of naturalism. He has written more than 300 short stories, six novels, travel books and also a book of poetry. Some of his well-known works include, ‘Boule de Suif', 'Pierre et Jean', 'Bel Ami', ‘La Parure’ , 'Deux Amis', 'Mother Savage', and 'Mademoiselle Fifi'. Soon after graduation, Maupassant served as a volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War, after which he pursued a career as a civil servant working in the Navy Department and the Ministry of Public Instruction. He also wrote under various pen names - Guy de Valmont and Joseph Prunier. Unfortunately, in his 20s he began to suffer from syphilis, which caused him much mental agony and trouble for the rest of his living years.

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Guy de Maupassant
Childhood & Early Life
  • Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was born in Tourville-sur-Arques, France. His parents Laure Le Poittevin and Gustave de Maupassant were both from affluent families.
  • When he was eleven years old, his mother separated from his father. He lived under the care of his mother. He was very devoted to his mother, who was a well-read woman with a passion for classical literature.
  • When he was thirteen, he went to learn classical studies at the Yvetot seminary for a brief period. He later attended the Institution Leroy-Petit, in Rouen, a private school.
  • In 1867, he began high school, during which time he became friendly with French writer, Gustave Flaubert. The following year, he went to the Lyc�e Pierre-Corneille School, where he took part in drama and became passionate about poetry.
  • In 1868, when he was eighteen, he saved the life of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, rescuing the latter from drowning off the coast of Etretat. After his graduation, he became a volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War.
  • From 1871, he went to Paris and started working as a clerk in the Navy Department. He would spend the next ten years of his life, serving in this position.
  • French writer, Gustave Flaubert played a pivotal role in guiding him through his earlier days in literature and journalism. It was in the latter’s home that he met many writers, including Emile Zola and Ivan Turgenev.
  • In 1878, he was transferred to the Ministry of Public Instruction. He also started working as a contributory editor to the newspapers, ‘Le Figaro, Gil Blas’, ‘Le Gaulois’ and’ l'Echo de Paris’.
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Career
  • In 1880, his acclaimed short story, ‘Boule de Suif' was published. This was the first of his stories that was cantered on the Franco-Prussian War. His subsequent short stories include, 'Deux Amis' and ‘Mother Savage'.
  • In 1881, he came out with 'La Maison Tellier', his first collection of short stories. The following year, his book of short stories titled, ‘Mademoiselle Fifi' was published.
  • In 1883, he published his novel, ‘Une Vie', which sold more than 25,000 copies. The same year, he came out with his short story titled, ‘La Ficelle'.
  • In 1884, his short story ‘La mere Sauvage' and 'La Parure' was published. The following year, his novel, ‘Bel Ami’ was published. It was about the story of a journalist in Paris.
  • On February 17, 1884, his short story titled, ‘La Parure' was published in the French newspaper called, 'Le Gaulois'. This story is one of his most well-known works.
  • In 1887, he came out with the short horror story titled, ‘Le Horla'. The story was written in the form of journal. That year, he also came out with a novella, ‘Le Rosier de Madame Husson'.
  • Between June and September 1887, he authored one his well-known naturalist novels, ‘Pierre et Jean'. The novel comes under the realist genre and was one of the shortest of his novels.
  • In 1890, he authored the short story 'L'Inutile Beaut�’. The same year, he came out with the novel, ‘Notre Cœur'. He also authored a travel book titled, ‘La Vie errante'.
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Major Works
  • His seminal work, ‘La Parure’ remains one of his most famous short stories. The story is particularly known for its surprising ending. In 2007, it was produced at the Edinburgh Festival.
  • His magnum opus, 'Boule de Suif' is widely revered as one of his best short stories. This short story was made into an opera named, ‘The Greater Good’ in 2006.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • It is widely believed that from 1880 to 1886, he was in a relationship with a woman named, Gisele Estoc.
  • He was also romantically involved with a woman named, Josephine Litzelmann.
  • He fathered three children - Honore Lucien Litzelmann, Jeanne Lucienne Litzelmann and Marthe Marguerite Litzelmann.
  • He suffered from Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that he contracted in his youth.
  • He suffered from mental problems and tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat in 1892. He was later admitted into a private mental institute, Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris.
  • He died at the age of 42 in Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris. He was laid to rest at the Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Paris.
  • In 1894, he became the subject of Leo Tolstoy’s book ‘The Works of Guy de Maupassant'.
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Trivia
  • This acclaimed French short story writer and novelist was one among 46 Parisian literary and artistic people, who wrote a letter to the Minister of Public Works in Paris in protest of the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
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Article Title
- Guy de Maupassant Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/guy-de-maupassant-4806.php
Last Updated
- October 13, 2017

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