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Bel-Ami (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Guy de Maupassant , Robert Lethbridge , Margaret Mauldon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 May 2001 0192836838 978-0192836830 New edition
'His rise testifies to the decline of a whole society.' Jean-Paul Sartre 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-siècle 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 behaviour 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.


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (3 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192836838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192836830
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,655,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Paris. It is a novel about money, sex, and power, set against the background of the politics of the French colonization of North Africa. This new translation is complemented by fullest introduction and notes of any edition.

'His rise testifies to the decline of a whole society.' Jean-Paul Sartre

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-siècle 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 behaviour 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.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Margaret Mauldon has previously translated Zola, L'Assommoir, Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma, Huysmans, Against Nature (winner of the 1999 Scott Moncrieff prize) and Constant, Adolphe for OWC. Robert Lethbridge has edited Zola's L'Assommoir and La Debacle for OWC and has written several books on Maupassant and Zola.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When the cashier had handed him the change from his five-franc piece,* Georges Duroy left the restaurant. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Guy de Maupassant does not suffer fools or the hipocrisy of (usually bourgoise) society gladly, and thus this, his romping satire that lifts the lid on Parisian society, is a comic tale with rapier wit, sly mocking, and a wonderful appetite for the absurd. Live vicariously through our vain and dashing hero on the make as he cuts a swathe through high society, wowing and wooing all in his path.
Frank descriptions of the sexual desires and all-so-often-acted-upon indiscretions of the book's characters - in spite of the social refinements and etiquette of the age - adds to its contemporary or timeless feel.
Warning: this could not be much further from the likes of Jane Austen. This is no romantic stroll through the picturesque, but a highly intelligent, constantly amsuing, dare I say it rock'n'roll swagger through the offices, nightclubs, parlours and boudoirs of 19th century Paris. And yet, it should be noted, that this book is not without moving moments and depth. Its characters are not merely caricatures, its (not always but often subtle) satire is not at the expense of reader empathy and real emotion.
If I was to read any book one more time, it would probably be A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, and halfway through I'm pretty sure I would be wishing I'd chosen this instead. Quite simply brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bel-Ami 9 Jun 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of how plain, poor and down on his luck Georges Duroy uses others to become a success. For a book published in 1885 it retains a freshness and a relevant message about the press and morality. From the moment we meet Georges Duroy to the end of the book, it is fair to say he doesn't change. A man who swaggers, full of daydreams and a dislike of work - who enjoys spending money, but is envious of others who have more than him, always looking for the next chance to come along. A man who excuses his behaviour, often feeling humilated and hard done by, especially when he is at fault. It is hard not to enjoy this novel, as M. Duroy romps through Paris, admiring himself in mirrors and happily using those he comes across. The women are also delightful characters. There is Mme de Marelle, sly and devious; the intelligent Mme Forestier and poor, besotted Mme Walter, among others, who all fall for the handsome Bel Ami. Will the reader also fall for the charms of this dangerous man? My feeling is that most will, at least, admire his sheer ambition, which shows that talent is not the only way to make it to the top. It is, perhaps, reassuring to know that our current cult of celebrity for the sake of being famous, rather than for any particular talent, is nothing new. Bel Ami could have showed all current contestants on reality shows how it was done over a hundred years ago...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read 8 April 2012
Format:Paperback
I bought this book with the intention on watching the film right after, I thought it would be an easy read. It wasn't, but not in a bad way. It was more challenging. It taught me about the the history of a lot of things. Like the colonisation of Morrocco. It showed how Paris got to where it is today, with the money it made. BEL-AMI is an amazing read. Hard hitting. The film isn't worth watching though. Books are always better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bel Ami 26 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback
I definetely recommend it. The translation is well written; it's faithful to the author's style. When you start reading it, you will be taken back into a different century. The story is so gripping that you can't put your book down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read 13 Mar 2012
By Andrea
Format:Paperback
I like a good book and also a good film, but I like to read the book first, and now I can't wait to see the film. I always know I'm reading a good enjoyable book when I wake in the morning still holding it in my hands and this is just that. Definitely worth a read and has you from the very beginning. Bel-Ami (Oxford World's Classics)
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