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200 × 130 × 13 mm
216 pages
30 illustrations
10 Feb 2020
Critical Lives

Guy de Maupassant Christopher Lloyd

The most celebrated French storyteller of the nineteenth century, Guy de Maupassant was a master of the modern short story. Offering an intriguing picture of French life, the enduring appeal of his stories derives from understated artistry, extreme craftsmanship and the universality of his characters and their aspirations and misfortunes.

In this insightful and compelling biography, the only one in English currently available, Christopher Lloyd situates Maupassant’s life and work in the literary and social context of nineteenth-century France. Lloyd skilfully introduces the reader to Maupassant’s most famous works, such as Boule de suif, Bel-Ami and Pierre et Jean, as well as highlighting the important stages and achievements of his life and legacy.

‘Christopher Lloyd’s compact but wide-ranging study provides an up-to-date survey of this career. He situates Maupassant’s work in various late nineteenth-century contexts – the social and political worlds, and those of literature and ideas and of journalism in particular . . . Lloyd brings out the complexity of the short stories and gives a spirited defence of their style . . . [a] crisp, witty, balanced and well-informed guide.’ — TLS

‘In keeping with the aims of Reaktion’s excellent series, Christopher Lloyd’s Maupassant explores the life of the writer in relationship to his major works. Lloyd’s pleasantly readable style, characterized by the same clarity and precision attributed to Maupassant himself, guarantees that even seasoned readers of Maupassant will discover afresh the brilliance and complexity of an author they thought they knew well.’ — Mary Donaldson-Evans, Elias Ahuja Professor Emerita of French, University of Delaware

‘One of the strengths of Lloyd’s book is the way in which the life and the work intersect in more subtle variants than mere replication. He refuses to indulge in psycho-analytical theorizing. His portrait is an overwhelming sympathetic one, arguably at the expense of reflecting more brutally on Maupassant’s sexual promiscuity and exhibitionism. But we are left in no doubt about the sheer energy, both physical and creative, of the man . . . [Lloyd's] intelligent analyses, however, are informed by a specialist’s familiarity with the work as a whole . . . [the book] is lively, engaging and consistently reliable. Its own long "afterlife" is assured as the best available introduction for readers of English (only) to Maupassant’s life and work.’ — Journal of European Studies

‘Christopher Lloyd writes with understated scholarship and always with the reader in mind. He is a clear, patient and shrewd guide to Maupassant and his work.’ — David Coward, Emeritus Professor of French, University of Leeds

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Christopher Lloyd is Emeritus Professor of French at Durham University. His publications on Maupassant include Maupassant: Bel-Ami (1988) and Maupassant Conteur et Romancier (1994).

1 A Life
2 Journalist
3 Writer
4 Storyteller
5 Novelist
6 Ironist
7 Afterlives

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Photo Acknowledgements