Guy de Maupassant Brief Biography
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Guy de Maupassant Occupations:
In 1869 he moved to Paris to study law. When the Franco-Prussian War broke (1870), Guy de Maupassant served in the army, as a private, for two years. Afterwards he became a government clerk, first in the ministry of the navy and later in the ministry of education.
These low level jobs were a means of support, since he never intended to become a career civil servant. At night and weekends he gave his time to writing. During this time Flaubert took him under his wing, encouraging, tutoring, and introducing him to his literary circle. The Parisian circle included luminaries such as American writer Henry James, Russian novelist Turgenev, and Emile Zola. By his association with the latter and his themes, Maupassant was considered a writer of the naturalistic school.
Early in 1880, Maupassant started to publish a series of short stories, which gained him quick recognition as a literary writer. He went on to publish more than 300 short stories, six novels, and travel books, articles for magazines as well as for newspapers, and poetry. But what distinguished him and was acclaimed for was his mastery of the short story.
While Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) attempted to capture the spirit French society with his Comédie humaine —volumes of interlinked novels— Maupassant did it with a great variety of short stories, stories which included a wide range of themes affecting the different strata and regions of the French nation.
Guy de Maupassant Madness and Death
Having been affected by syphilis from his early 20's, Guy de Maupassant’s condition deteriorated, causing him an increasing mental disorder. Given the dark and horrific bent of some of his stories, some critics have ascribed that to his incurable illness.
After a botched suicide attempt in 1891, Guy de Maupassant spent the last two years of his life in a Paris mental home. At the age of 43, in 1893, he finally succumbed to the fatal illness that had plagued most his adult life.