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Bel Ami (Folio Plus Classique) (French Edition) (French) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2011

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Language Notes

Text: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

GUY DE MAUPASSANT (1850-93) was a literary disciple of Flaubert and part of the group of young Naturalistic writers that formed around Zola. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), Maupassant wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'. By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later. DOUGLAS PARMEE is a well-known French translator. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Folio Plus Classique (Book 211)
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Gallimard Education (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2070441083
  • ISBN-13: 978-2070441082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.8 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,573,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on May 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Guy De Maupassant (1850-1893), if "Bel-Ami" is any indication, must rank as one of the best writers in the history of the western world. Born in Normandy in 1850, Maupassant became a disciple of the French author Flaubert early in life. Guy quit his job with the civil service after publishing his first short story, "Boule de Suif" in 1880. What followed was a phenomenal flurry of 250 short stories and six novels before his premature death from syphilis in 1893. During his short life, Maupassant helped to form the "groupe de Medan," a loosely knit group of naturalist writers headed by Emile Zola. He also worked as a journalist, covering such important events as the French campaigns in Algeria and Tunisia. A hard worker when it came to writing, Maupassant also possessed a zest for life, including a love for the ladies that eventually killed him.
"Bel-Ami" is hardly an original premise. How many books written through the years discuss the idea of a rural man heading to the city to make it big? That is exactly what happens with this book in the form of main character Georges Duroy. After a five-year stint in the French army, Duroy moves to Paris to make his fortune. Regrettably, Duroy is languishing in a lowly job as a railroad clerk until he meets his old army buddy Forestier. From this point forward, Georges is on the fast track to success. Forestier gets him a job at a scandal rag named "La Vie Francaise" where Georges rapidly ascends the ranks from lowly reporter to chief editor. Along the way, Duroy engages in all sorts of amorous adventures with women both high and low on the Paris social register. By the time the story ends, Georges is within sight of the highest positions in French society, all accomplished through sheer cunning and social maneuvering.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Bayliss on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I would never have known that Guy de Maupassant wrote novels along with his great short stories if another amazon reader hadn't turned me on to their existence. This novel, reminiscent of Madame Bovary (a male version, you might say) is terrific. You'll get a great deal of description of Paris in the late 19th century with period details worthy of any great novelist. The plot is typical: poor, rural young man from the outskirts (Rouen) has no money and no position in life, but longs to find fame and fortune. Thanks to his manly wiles (he's a natural ladies' man), he manages to sleep his way to the top. Like Madame Bovary, happiness is never really there no matter how much money and power he attains - the more you get, the more you realize that others will always have more. Still, Monsieur Duroy, even at his most calculating retains somewhat of a sympathetic quality that allows us to relate to him and root for his success. Despite its length, this novel is a fast read. One of my favorites of the year.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "stephenmackintosh" on June 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Maupassant's characters are more real and colourful than those created by any of the other French naturalists. Bel Ami, his first fill length novel, is simply a joy to read. It tells the story a young ex-soldier, fighting for social position and materialism in the rat race of 1870s Paris. This novel could easily be transported to present day and loose nothing of its impact. Scandal, political intrigue and sexual manipulation are described with Maupassant's cutting pessimism, yet beautifully balanced by his black wit and appreciation for the simple joys of life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JoeyD on August 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting anything which happens to stumble upon it." Lord Byron 1788-1824

This classic chronicles Georges Duroy's (the main protagonist of the novel) quick rise to power from a poor, lost, ex-soldier to one of the most successful men in all of Paris. Georges is a young man who has indeed been blessed. He's exceptionally handsome, smart, charismatic, resourceful, etc... however, like many men who have been spoiled by the gods, Georges is completely self-centered. It's all about him. He uses these gifts to exploit people, especially women, and without conscience, he manipulates his way to the top of his profession.

I have to honestly say that I have never despised a main male character in a novel more than I did Georges. He is such a lowly cad, a man who is completely amoral and sans ethics. While I was reading the novel I kept waiting for Georges to get his come-uppance. For truly no man can live a life so loathsome before Karma finally decides to pay him a visit. Maupassant's excellent writing style and the hopes that Georges would get his just do, were the two main reasons I kept turning the pages. I could imagine a feminist wanting to burn this book, because of the way the main protagonist deceives women. However, that being said, most of the female characters in the novel are almost just as bad as Georges. They all cheat on their spouses, are self-absorbed & consumed, and lack integrity.

Maupassant interpretation of the hypocritical world of the Paris privileged in the late 19th century is both vexatious and morose. I just can't believe that people could be so damn unprincipled! There wasn't anyone to really root for in this story, no one whom you could really build a connection toward.
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