1850 Schloss Miromesnil
1893 Passy (Paris)
The French author and journalist Guy de Maupassant, whose real name was Henry René Albert Guy de Maupassant, was born on 5th August 1850 in Chateaux Miromesnil in Normandy. Alongside Stendhal (1783–1842), Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), Gustave Flaubert (1821–80) and Émile Zola (1840–1902), Maupassant is regarded as one of the great French writers of the 19th century.
Maupassant attended the catholic seminar in Yvetot where he made his first forays into writing. He then attended the state secondary school in Rouen where he met Flaubert, who later became a father figure of sorts to him. In 1869, the author began studying law, but broke off his studies when he volunteered for the army after the outbreak of the French-German war in 1870-71. Guy de Maupassant did not resume his studies following demobilisation. Instead, on Flaubert’s recommendation, he took a job as a clerk in the naval department and later in the Ministry of Public Education.
In 1875, he composed his first short stories under Flaubert’s guidance, who put him in contact with Parisian writers such as Zola. In 1880, the author made his literary breakthrough with his psychological novella "Boule de suif" (Suet Dumpling Butterball), which was written for a novella conceived by Émile Zola, entitled "Les soirées de Médan".
Guy de Maupassant stopped writing lyrical and dramatic texts, and focussed on more narrative work. Until 1891, despite increasing health problems, he lived and worked like a possessed man, completing three hundred short stories, six novels, three travel books, a book of poetry and a volume of plays. He also contributed various political articles to the Parisian newspapers. Guy de Maupassant’s work, which was mainly set in Normandy and Paris, was written in the naturalist style.
His most famous works include the novels "Mademoiselle Fifi" (1882) "Un Vie" (1883), "La parure" (1884) and "Bel Amie" (1885). In 1880, he was successful enough as a writer to leave his job. In 1833, Guy de Maupassant built a house in Étretat and purchased a yacht two years later. He also undertook a number of trips to North Africa and lived in Cannes and Antibes. Following a breakdown on New Year's Eve, he returned to Cannes, where he attempted suicide.
A year and a half later, on 6th July 1893, Guy de Maupassant died in a psychiatric clinic in Passy near Paris.