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Bel Ami

Guy de Maupassant

Book Overview: 

Though firmly set in 1880s Paris, Maupassant's gripping story of an amoral journalist on the make could, with only slight modifications of detail, be updated to the 1960s, to the Reagan-Thatcher years, or maybe to the present day. Anti-hero Georges Duroy is a down-at-heel ex-soldier of no particular talent. Good-looking but somewhat lacking in self-confidence, he discovers an ability to control and exploit women - whereupon his career in journalism takes off, fuelled by the corruption of colleagues and government arrivistes. He may be a provincial Don Juan, but he is neither accident-prone nor heading for a fall.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .P> Examining him from head to foot, she cried: "How you have changed! Well; tell me the news."

They began to chat at once as if they were old acquaintances, and in five minutes an intimacy, a mutual understanding, was established between those two beings alike in character and kind. Suddenly the young woman said in surprise: "It is astonishing how I feel with you. It seems to me as if I had known you ten years. We shall undoubtedly become good friends; would that please you?"

He replied: "Certainly," with a smile more expressive than words. He thought her very bewitching in her pretty gown. When near Mme. Forestier, whose impassive, gracious smile attracted yet held at a distance, and seemed to say: "I like you, yet take care," he felt a desire to cast himself at her feet, or to kiss the hem of her garment. When near Mme. de Marelle, he felt a more passionate desire.

A gentle rap came at the door through which Mme. de Marelle had. . . Read More

Community Reviews

5 stars
This is a really good story and I totally loved it.

I mean I LOVED it.

When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and clap. I am clapping.

OK now, Chrissie, explain why you loved it.

I loved it because I was laughing from start to finish. I loved it because it has a m...more

A rollicking tale from Flaubert’s protégé chronicling the inexorable rise of social climber Georges Duroy. Translated by Douglas Parmée, who rendered A Sentimental Education into irresistibly sumptuous English, Bel-Ami is powered by electrifying dialogue and a terse descriptive prowess Flaubert s...more

On the surface, the moral of the book is simple: be a complete bastard, treat all the women you meet like dirt and exploit them as much as possible, and you'll be a stunning success. The author stays deadpan thoughout; it's impossible to tell for sure whether he's being ironic, though one strongl...more

A while back, I happened to read some of De Maupassant's darkly humorous short stories from the 'Parisian affair' collection and found them a pure delight. He no doubt had a talent of capturing the bourgeousie society and predominantly focusing on relationships between men and women, exploring th...more

For a novel published in 1885 and set in the Paris of that period, this novel has a remarkably modern feel. It's about sleazy journalism, corrupt politicians, sex, money and power. And through it all is the Bel-Ami of the title - Georges Duroy, who uses his liaisons with rich and / or powerful wo...more

Guy de Maupassant was responsible for a couple of items named Bel-Ami. One was his very successful 1885 novel and the other was his small sailing yacht.

Here is what the latter looked like, from a Sale advertisement.

Advertisement for the sale of Guy de Maupassant's Yacht 'Bel-Ami' (litho) (b/w pho...more

”There are many women who would give way to a passing whim, a sudden violent desire or an amorous fancy if they weren’t afraid that their brief moment of happiness would end in a dreadful scandal and bitter tears.”

Georges Duroy comes from the provinces of France to Paris with the determination to...more

Guy de Maupassant's 1885 portrayal of a scoundrel of the highest order, is set in Paris and was written with great style and not a little humour.

It really brings this period to life, and though this isn't edge of the seat stuff, the pages turn just as quickly following the exploits of George Dur...more

826. Bel-Ami = The History of a Scoundrel, Guy de Maupassant
Bel Ami is the second novel by French author Guy de Maupassant, published in 1885; an English translation titled Bel Ami, or, The History of a Scoundrel: A Novel first appeared in 1903. The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy's cor...more

Just who is Bel Ami? 'bel ami' (beautiful/handsome friend) is Georges Duroy, ostensibly a love rat, a man intent on procuring fortune and social status by way of the women in his life rather than by more usual means. A man of humble parentage, he's an ex-soldier with nothing to live on but his de...more

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