Maupassant's second novel, Bel-Ami (1885) is the story of a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Georges Duroy, christened "Bel-Ami" by his female admirers) making it to the top in fin-de-sihcle Paris. It is a novel about money, sex, and power, set against the background of the politics of the French colonization of North Africa. It explores the dynamics of an urban society uncomfortably close to our own and is a devastating satire of the sleaziness of contemporary journalism.
Bel-Ami enjoys the status of an authentic record of the apotheosis of bourgeois capitalism under the Third Republic. But the creative tension between its analysis of modern behavior and its identifiably late nineteenth-century fabric is one of the reasons why Bel-Ami remains one of the finest French novels of its time, as well as being recognized as Maupassant's greatest achievement as a novelist.
This new translation is complemented by fullest introduction and notes of any edition currently available.
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Note on the Translation
Argenteuil asked began Bel-Ami Bois de Boulogne Boisrenard boulevard breath Cafe Cantel Canteleu carriage Clotilde Comte delightful dinner door dressed Duroy's enquired everything eyes face feeling felt francs French front gave gazing Georges Duroy Gil Blas Golfe Juan gossip column GUY DE MAUPASSANT hair hand head heart husband Jacques Rival journalist kind kiss L'Assommoir Laroche-Mathieu laugh leave lips looked Madame Madeleine married Maupassant Maupassant's Mme de Marelle Mme Forestier Mme Walter Monsieur moved murmured never newspaper ninth arrondissement Norbert de Varenne novel Palais-Bourbon paper Paris political replied Rouen round Saint-Potin seemed silence slowly smile someone stammered stood stopped suddenly Suzanne talk tell There's things thought thousand francs tomorrow tone took turned Vaudrec Vie franfaise voice waiting walked whispered wife women word