Where to start reading Maupassant?
June 25, 2022 by in Start reading
Maupassant was a 19th-century French writer. Much of Maupassant’s work participates in the realist literary movement, which tries to represent reality as closely as possible without embellishing anything. His career was short but very prolific.
The ideal way to start reading Guy de Maupassant is to start with a short story. He’s written over 200 short stories, so you’re spoiled for choice. If you’ve never tried reading a Maupassant’s short story, or aren’t sure which to read next, here’s a quick guide to 5 short stories that are a great place to start.
If you want to start with Maupassant then I advise you to start with the following selection of 5 short stories:
Why should I read Le Horla? (1887)
Le Horla is the flagship title of classic fantasy literature. This is an easy-to-read short story. The author’s style is fluent. There is a little psychological description when there could have been a lot given the subject matter.
The story is about a Norman lord who lives surrounded by his servants. This man feels the presence of another invisible being. He will try to unravel the mystery and find out who this being is? We do not know if it is a psychological disorder of the narrator or the emergence of a threatening entity. The doubt persists at the end of this novel. Besides, Guy de Maupassant, the author, suffered from hallucinations at the end of his life. It’s up to you to form your own opinion: is it a fantastic short story or an autobiographical novel? You can find a copy of the Horla by clicking on this link.
What can you learn from Allouma? (1889)
Allouma is a very short story that is part of the La Main Gauche collection of short stories. In this collection, the stories take place mainly in Normandy or Algeria.
Allouma’s story takes place in Algeria. The narrator finds an old lost friend, by chance, in Algeria: Mr. Auballe. He lives as a settler on a farm in the hinterland. The friend will tell the narrator about an affair he had with the beautiful Allouma, a girl from the sand. Read Allouma to learn more.
Why should I read Boule de Suif? (1880)
Boule Suif, one of Maupassant’s best-known stories, will take you on a journey to Normandy at the end of the 19th century. The story takes place during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. French troops must retreat to Normandy after the invasion of the city of Rouen by the Prussians. A group of French will try to flee to the city of Dieppe. For that, they will borrow a stagecoach. In this diligence, there will be a couple of traders, a couple of bourgeois, a couple of nobles, two nuns, a democrat, and Boule de Suif. Boule de Suif is a gallant who brings out mistrust and indignation in the other occupants. Yet it is she who will end up helping them. In this short story, you will discover how Boule de Suif, this Bonapartist, will become a fallen heroine. Find Boule de Suif by clicking here.
Why can you learn from Boitelle? (1880)
We are once again in the beautiful region of Normandy. Boitelle is a poor man who has become filth. He is going to tell us about the one great pain of his life. As a 20-year-old soldier in Le Havre, he had fallen in love with a black servant with whom he was convinced to have found the ideal companion. But his parents, after a series of moving and comical attempts, hadn’t managed to get used to the idea, they found the woman “too dark” for them. Faced with their opposition, he had renounced this union and had married another woman with whom he got fourteen children. In this short story, you will discover the astonishing prejudices of the Normans of the previous century. On this link, you will find a copy of Boitelle.
Why should I read la morte? (1887)
This very short story is also part of the collection of short stories “la Main Gauche”. La Morte remains an enigma for me, I don’t know if it is fantastic or realistic news? But what is certain is that I laughed at the end of this news because the end is totally unexpected. Find a copy of the collection of short stories of “la main gauche” and other short stories by clicking on this link.
It’s a nice list to start reading Maupassant. You can access reading sheets for Boule de Suif, Le Horla et La Main Gauche by joining the book club.