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Guy de Maupassant Birth Anniversary: Interesting Facts About the Storyteller

On his 169th birth anniversary, here's looking at a few interesting facts about the author.

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Updated:August 5, 2019, 12:57 PM IST
Guy de Maupassant Birth Anniversary: Interesting Facts About the Storyteller
Image: Guy de Maupassant

A protégé of Gustave Flaubert, Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant, born on August 5, 1850, he is best remembered as the master of the short story, with around 300 tales to his name. The author also wrote six novels, three travel books and one volume of verse.

Stories like The Necklace (1884), The Horla (1887) and Mademoiselle Fifi (1882) were all written by the noted author who is known for his twist endings and depicting human lives and destinies in pessimistic terms with many of his works being set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s.

On his 169th birth anniversary, here's looking at a few interesting facts about the author:

When Maupassant was 11 and his brother Hervé, 5, his mother, Laure Le Poittevin, risked social disgrace and legally separated from her husband, who was violent towards her.

Even though he is known for writing he started out by studying law in Paris. However, his law studies were interrupted in 1871 when he volunteered for the army during the Franco-Prussian War.

Gustave Flaubert, a good friend of Maupassant’s mother noticed Maupassant’s interest in writing and introduced him to Emile Zola and Henry James.

In 1880 he published his first masterpiece, "Boule de Suif", which met with instant and tremendous success.

Maupassant was one of a fair number of 19th-century Parisians who disliked the Eiffel Tower. In fact, he and 46 other Parisian literary and artistic notables attached their names to a letter of protest against the tower's construction, written to the Minister of Public Works.

Maupassant also wrote under several pseudonyms such as Joseph Prunier, Guy de Valmont, and Maufrigneuse.

Maupassant would go on to develop a fear of death and paranoia of persecution caused by the syphilis he had contracted in his youth. In fact, he tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat on January 2, 1892 and was committed to the private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris.

Maupassant penned his own epitaph: "I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.”

Maupassant is considered a father of the modern short story. He delighted in clever plotting and his style of writing influenced Somerset Maugham and O. Henry.

Leo Tolstoy used Maupassant as the subject for one of his essays on art, The Works of Guy de Maupassant.

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