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The Necklace and Other Tales de Guy de…
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The Necklace and Other Tales (edição: 2003)

de Guy de Maupassant (Autor), Adam Gopnik (Introdução), Joachim Neugroschel (Tradutor)

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1133189,238 (3.97)19
Ranging from poignant scrutiny of social pretension, to wicked tales of lust and love, to harrowing stories of terror and madness, the genius of Guy de Maupassant, France's greatest short-story writer, is on full display in this enthralling new translation by Joachim Neugroschel. The stories Neugroschel has gathered vividly reveal Maupassant's remarkable range, his keen eye, his technical perfection, his sexual realism, his ability to create whole worlds and sum up intricate universes of feeling in a few pages.Adam Gopnik's Introduction incisively explores the essence of Maupassant's unique style and his tremendous, if unjustly unacknowledged, influence (on everything from the American short story to contemporary cinema), bearing eloquent testimony to Maupassant's continuing and vital appeal.… (mais)
Membro:wendellg
Título:The Necklace and Other Tales
Autores:Guy de Maupassant (Autor)
Outros autores:Adam Gopnik (Introdução), Joachim Neugroschel (Tradutor)
Informação:Modern Library (2003), Edition: New edition, 224 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:short stories

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The Necklace and Other Tales {Modern Library Classics} de Guy de Maupassant

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In the introduction, Adam Gopnick makes the point that de Maupassant was admired by both Henry James for having fearlessly written down what life is actually like, and by Ernest Hemingway, for having the courage to be brief, and therefore having an astonishing range. What’s also astonishing to me is the range of subject matter evident even in this sampling of 12 of the 300 stories he would write in his meteoric career before dying of syphilis at age 43. Combine all that with his humanism and the acceptance of people for who they were, but at the same time his distance from them, as well as his existential musings on the cruelty and arbitrariness of fate, and there is a lot packed into these short stories. It definitely makes me want to explore more of his writing.

My favorites, starting with those dealing with Prussian occupation during the Franco-Prussian War, both of which are masterpieces:
Butterball
Mademoiselle Fifi

There are also creepy horror/science-fiction workss which directly influenced books/movies well into the 20th century:
On the Water
The Hand
The Entity (The Horla)

Lastly, those that call to mind provincial France, but at the same time in very honest ways, acknowledging the bawdier side of life, and which call to mind the Impressionist painters in tone and style, which was appropriate to a society that was increasingly in motion even in the 19th century:
The Tellier House
A Day in the Country

Quotes:
On faith (and religion); from Butterball:
“The earthquake that crushes an entire population under tumbling houses; the overflowing river that sweeps drowned farmers together with carcasses of cows, with beams torn from roofs; or the glorious army that massacres people defending themselves and brings back the survivors as prisoners, looting by right of the Sword and thanking their God to the booming of cannon – these are all terrifying scourges that cripple any faith in eternal justice, any trust that we have been taught to place in divine protection and human reason.”

On God, from The Entity (The Horla):
“When his intelligence was still in a rudimentary stage, that obsession with invisible phenomena took commonplace but terrifying forms. It gave rise to the popular beliefs in the supernatural, the legends of restless spirits, fairies, gnomes, ghosts – I would even say God. For our notions of the creator-and-laborer, from whatever religion they may come, are the most mediocre, most dim-witted, and most unacceptable inventions ever concocted by a frightened brain. Nothing could be truer than Voltaire’s maxim: ‘God made man in his own image, and man has returned the favor.’”

On the governed and the government, from The Entity (The Horla):
“July 14. Bastille Day. I roamed the streets. I was as entertained as a child by the flags and the firecrackers. Yet it’s very silly to be joyful on a date fixed by government decree. The populace is a moronic flock, alternating between stupid patience and fierce revolt. It is told, ‘Have fun.’ It has fun. It is told, ‘Go and fight your neighbor.’ It goes and fights. It is told, ‘Vote for the emperor.’ It votes for the emperor. Then it is told, ‘Vote for the republic.’ And it votes for the Republic.
The men who rule it are likewise fools; but instead of obeying other men, they obey principles, which can only be asinine, sterile, and bogus, simply because they are principles – that is, ideas accepted as certain and indisputable in a world in which we are sure of nothing since light is an illusion and noise is an illusion.”

On snowfall, from Butterball, I liked the feeling of this one:
“A curtain of white flakes kept endlessly sparkling as it descended toward the earth; it blurred all shapes, powdered all things with an icy froth; and in the vast, calm, wintry hush of the buried city, all that could be heard was the vague, elusive, indefinable rustle of falling snow – more a feeling than a sound, a mingling of airy atoms that seemed to fill all space and blanket the whole world.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Jul 4, 2015 |
Surprisingly, since he is considered a master of the short story and one of the earliest "modern" short story writers, I had never read any of Maupassant's stories before. The collection I read includes a varied selection, enough to give an idea of the breadth of his topics and to show Maupassant's ability to briefly but brilliantly depict places and people, including providing deep insight into their psychology. When I read the first two stories, I thought their endings were a little predictable, but I then realized that this is probably because I've read a lot of more recent stories and these endings were likely to have been novel plot twists when Maupassant wrote them.

Although the stories are varied, several themes and situations recur: Maupassant has a fondness for writing about prostitutes and for showing the hypocrisy of bourgeois society; he also often depicts French reactions to their occupation by Prussian soldiers in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war. Most of the tales in this collection take place in the Normandy countryside and towns, although a few take place in Paris, or elsewhere, including one chilling one (in more than one sense) in the Alps. Several of the stories, most notably "The Entity (The Horla)," have what might be called a hint of the supernatural, although I read "The Entity" as a compelling tale of a descent into madness, rather than of a haunting. It also shows Maupassant's interest in hypnosis and thus the beginnings of psychoanalysis.

Among my favorite stories, in addition to "The Entity (The Horla)," were "Butterball" and "The Tellier House" (both featuring prostitutes and bourgeois hypocrisy), "The Water" (for its wonderful depiction of a fog-shrouded river and a man's reaction to being trapped there), "Mademoiselle Fifi" (more prostitutes and the comeuppance of the Prussian occupiers), "The Inn" (for the snowy setting, another descent into madness, and the inspiration for "The Shining"), "The Hand" (for its utter creepiness), and "A Day in the Country" (for the amazing description of the nightingale singing and what this description is standing in for).

I do have two reservations, one about Maupassant and one about the translation. Despite his fondness for prostitutes (literarilly, that is), Maupassant doesn't seem to like women much; at least, he frequently makes quite disparaging comments about them (although, to be fair, men don't come off so well either). And the translation, although it generally seemed very readable to me, jarred me when the translator used contemporary or near-contemporary slang, like "wow" and "lucky stiff" and more. I realize it's a challenge for a translator when a writer uses slang, but if it's an older work I'd rather he tried to use older expressions even if they're harder to understand.
9 vote rebeccanyc | Apr 11, 2013 |
Collection of Maupassant stories for Folio Society. ( )
  stpnwlf | Jul 17, 2007 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Guy de Maupassantautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Gopnik, AdamIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Neugroschel, JoachimTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Maupassant Stories (Modern Library Classics)
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Over the years, many publishers have included a wide range of Guy de Maupassant's stories in various anthologies having the same or substantially similar titles. The contents of this particular Work (if known) are listed in the "Book Description" Common Knowledge field below. Please distinguish between this Work and any single story or other anthologies of Maupassant's writing, unless you have first confirmed that the same contents appear in each of the Works to be combined. Thank you.
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Ranging from poignant scrutiny of social pretension, to wicked tales of lust and love, to harrowing stories of terror and madness, the genius of Guy de Maupassant, France's greatest short-story writer, is on full display in this enthralling new translation by Joachim Neugroschel. The stories Neugroschel has gathered vividly reveal Maupassant's remarkable range, his keen eye, his technical perfection, his sexual realism, his ability to create whole worlds and sum up intricate universes of feeling in a few pages.Adam Gopnik's Introduction incisively explores the essence of Maupassant's unique style and his tremendous, if unjustly unacknowledged, influence (on everything from the American short story to contemporary cinema), bearing eloquent testimony to Maupassant's continuing and vital appeal.

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