Mademoiselle Fifi and other Stories

Mademoiselle Fifi and other Stories

Read FREE!

Mademoiselle Fifi and other Stories

Mademoiselle Fifi and other Stories

Read FREE!

Synopsis

In addition to the title story, this volume includes Shepherd's Leap, Call it Madness?, Two Friends, At Sea, The Tribulations of Walter Schnaffs, Miss Harriet, A Duel, A Vendetta, The Model, Mother Savage, The Little Keg, The Dowry, The Bequest, Monsieur Parent, This Business of Latin, Madame Husson's May King, Hautot and Son, The Grove of Olives, and Who Can Tell?.

Excerpt

Guy de Maupassant was born on 5 August 1850 in the Normandy which he loved and used as the setting of so many of his stories. His father Gustave, dandy, womanizer, and amateur water-colourist, lived comfortably on his private income. His mother, Laure Le Poittevin, and her brother Alfred had been childhood friends of Gustave Flaubert, the future author of Madame Bovary. Flaubert had hero-worshipped Alfred and was grief-stricken when he died aged 30 in 1846. He remained in touch with Laure and it was through her prodding and her ambition for her son to make a mark in literature that Maupassant was later to come under the wing of 'The Master'. Laure was cultured and took a personal hand in the education of Guy and of his brother Hervé, who was born in 1856. But she was highly strung and emotional and suffered symptoms consistent with a malfunction of the goitre. She was restless, suffered migraines, and was at times unable to stand bright light, and it seems likely that the nervous disorders suffered by her sons were to some extent inherited. Maupassant always remained close to both his parents, though he tended to blame his father for the breakdown in their relationship. Divorce, which was not legalized until 1884, was not an option in 1863, when husband and wife finally separated.

Until he was 9, Maupassant lived with his mother in Normandy. In 1859, he was sent to his father in Paris and spent a year at the Lycée Impérial Napoléon, before being returned to Laure, who was by then living on the Channel coast at Étretat, which was turning into a fashionable resort for writers and artists. There Maupassant learned to love boats and the sea, and there too he mixed with fishermen and country people, picking up a store of characters, anecdotes, and speech-patterns on which he would later draw copiously. His education was continued by Laure and the local priest until 1863, when he entered a Catholic boarding-school at Yvetot, where, in spite of the tall tales he later told of his pranks, he was a conscientious pupil. Even so, the discovery of a . . .

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