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Bel-Ami (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 3 May 2001

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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 x 2 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,107,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Bel-Ami . . .deserves a superior place in the canon . . .This book is as piquant as any contemporary satire. Don't take my word for it. Read it yourself. (Commentary, new Statesman, 04/06/01)

'...anyone proposing to study Bel-Ami in depth would do well to acquire the Oxford translation,given its excellent critical apparatus 'well-packaged and affordable' (MLR, 97.3) --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

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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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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Sept. 2005
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 By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2012
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 By Avid Reader on 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 By Mrs. S on 26 Sept. 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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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback
One of Maupassant’s rare excursions into the novel form and Bel-Ami captures the seedy, exploitative side of 19th century Paris with a high degree of evocation. We follow returning, penniless army man Georges Duroy (‘Bel-Ami’) on a seemingly never-ending series of female seductions, as he discovers that romantic manipulation and selfishness might just provide the quickest way to securing his desired social and pecuniary standing.

Subject matter-wise, the uncompromising moral vacuum that seems to exist within Duroy’s world of journalistic manipulation and social pretence reminds me, by turns, of the likes of George Gissing’s New Grub Street, Jack London’s Martin Eden and elements of Zola and, whilst I do not rate Maupassant’s novel quite at the level of such works, the portrayal of the increasingly entwined web of adultery and corruption surrounding Bel-Ami is brilliantly done, particularly towards the latter stages of the novel and its bitterly ironic conclusion. Maupassant’s writing style is also relatively pithy (and certainly easy-to-read) when compared with many of his contemporaries. It’s a novel that will inspire this reader to revisit and delve further into the man’s extensive body of work (both novels and short stories).
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Format: Paperback
I saw the film was being made and I thought I would read the book first because it was set in a period I am interested in and I love costume dramas.
The story is about how greed and pride corrupts everything and everybody.
It could be set in any period. Maupassant uses a quite simple man. Gorges du Roi. who is blessed with looks and charm and sends him out to make his fortune. He does this by beguiling and seducing the wives of those in the society he aspires to.
As he becomes more involved he becomes more and more angry and cynical as he becomes embroiled in three affairs within the same circle of people. There is backstabbing and cruelty, insider trading and warmongering (it all sounds fairly familiar)It is really gripping and and I found myself worrying about the fate of the guy but he begins to learn the way things go and I will leave you to find out what happens.
Beautifully translated by the way!
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