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The Horla

Overview

"The Horla" is a short story by Guy de Maupassant.

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 - 6 July 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form's finest exponents.

A protégé of Flaubert, Maupassant's stories are characterized by their economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements. Many of the stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the ...

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The Horla

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Overview

"The Horla" is a short story by Guy de Maupassant.

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 - 6 July 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form's finest exponents.

A protégé of Flaubert, Maupassant's stories are characterized by their economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements. Many of the stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught in the conflict, emerge changed. He authored some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. His first published story "Boule de Suif" ("Ball of Fat", 1880) is often considered his masterpiece.

He delighted in clever plotting, and served as a model for Somerset Maugham and O. Henry in this respect. His stories about expensive jewellery ("The Necklace", "La parure") are imitated with a twist by Maugham ("Mr Know-All", "A String of Beads") and Henry James ("Paste").

Taking his cue from Balzac, Maupassant wrote comfortably in both the high-Realist and fantastic modes; stories and novels such as "L'Héritage" and Bel-Ami aim to recreate Third Republic France in a realistic way, whereas many of the short stories (notably "Le Horla" and "Qui sait?") describe apparently supernatural phenomena.

The supernatural in Maupassant, however, is often implicitly a symptom of the protagonists' troubled minds; Maupassant was fascinated by the burgeoning discipline of psychiatry, and attended the public lectures of Jean-Martin Charcot between 1885 and 1886. This interest is reflected in his fiction.

Maupassant is notable as the subject of one of Leo Tolstoy's essays on art: The Works of Guy de Maupassant.

Friedrich Nietzsche's autobiography mentions him in the following text:

"I cannot at all conceive in which century of history one could haul together such inquisitive and at the same time delicate psychologists as one can in contemporary Paris: I can name as a sample - for their number is by no means small, ... or to pick out one of the stronger race, a genuine Latin to whom I am particularly attached, Guy de Maupassant."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976140740
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Series: Art of the Novella Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,142,238
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. At 20 he served in the Franco-Prussian War, then studied writing with his mother’s friend Gustav Flaubert (perhaps believing rumors, which persist, that Flaubert was his father). In 1880 he published his first story, “Boule de Suif,” which was hailed as a masterpiece. He quit his civil service job and soon published the collection, La Maison Tellier. He would go on to publish 300 stories and six novels, including Bel-Ami and Pierre et Jean, while living the life of a bon vivant. In the late 1880s, however, he began to show signs of syphilitic mental illness, and in 1891, was institutionalized after a suicide attempt. He died in a mental asylum in 1893.

Charlotte Mandell has won the Modern Language Association Prize in translation. Among other titles she has translated for The Art of the Novella series are Marcel Proust's The Lemoine Affair, Guy de Maupassant's The Horla, and Gustave Flaubert’s A Simple Heart.

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