Pierre et jean

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GUY DE MAUPASSANT

Pierre & Jean

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH
BY CLARA DELL

WITH A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION
BY THE EARL OF CREWE

A FRONTISPIECE AND NUMEROUS

OTHER PORTRAITS WITH

DESCRIPTIVE NOTES BY

OCTAVE UZANNE

P. F. COLLIER cV SON
NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT, I9O2
BY D. APPCETON fc COMPANY

GUY DE MAUPASSANT

In the long portrait-gallery of men of lettersthere are many figures, including some of the most
famous, which in one aspect, at any rate, have
baffled the analysis of countless critics. The rela-
tion between the training of these writers and
their art, between the lives they led and the work
they did, between their surroundings and their
message, remains untraced and obscure despite
every effort of loving or maliciousresearch. Thus,
above all others, it is with Shakespeare ; and thus
it would remain if every fact of his daily existence
were known to us. Thus, in differing degrees and
for various reasons, it is with Cervantes and Swift,
with Keats and with Heine. Others, on the con-
trary, stand out clearly as the best product of the
particular set of circumstances grouped about their
lives. Theyseem to be the finished result of a
given up-bringing, of a precise tutelage, and of a
chosen career. Of this second category Guy de
Maupassant is a singularly complete example.

Romances 1 v V0L . 19

Guy de Maupassant

Any difficulty in classifying his genius, or in esti-
mating the permanency of his fame, arises from no
mystery enshrouding his life or his work. The
evolutionof each is absolutely straightforward and
coherent : he traversed no " caverns measureless to
man " on his way to the sunless sea which engulfed
him at last. Through his single volume of verse,
through his six novels, through the multitude of
his short stories and feiiilletons , the succeeding
phases of a not very eventful life can be unerringly
traced, like the path of an explorer ona map.
There are glimpses of his boyhood at foretat and
Yvetot, of his school-days at Rouen, of his brief
service as a volunteer in 1870, of his clerkship at
a public department in Paris. Then, still trace-
able in the stories, came a spell of life in the capi-
tal, first in a small lettered society, later in a wider
circle of acquaintance. From time to time there
was a littletravel, quite insufficient to free him
from national limitations, a great deal of rowing
and sailing, and a taste of fashion on the Riviera.
This was all ; and amid the astonishing variety of
incident found in his stories he never passed out-
side these simple bounds. Other great writers,
though not many, have refrained from describing
what they have not themselves seen. Except for
afew rather unsuccessful excursions into the

vi

Guy de Maupassant

supernatural and the unnatural, Maupassant very
rarely touched any class of persons, or any order
of subjects, which he did not know to the core.
Whenever he broke this rule, his hand somewhat
lost its cunning ; he was completely at home only
when he moulded and remoulded for the purposes
of his art everyfragment of personal experience,
every scrap of confirmatory information and illus-
tration. There were not many tints on his palette ;
but he blended them almost to perfection.

The form in which these experiences were
given to the world was regulated by the bent of a
strong animal nature, by early association with a
peculiar rural society, and by his intimacy with
Gustave Flaubert.Never perhaps in the history
of letters did the relation of master and disciple
dovetail more nicely than between Flaubert and
Maupassant. It was not the outcome of a casual
enthusiasm on one side, or of a blind favouritism
on the other, but the development of an old family
friendship into a close intellectual bond. Gama-
liel's yoke was not easy. For six years, steadily
guiding...
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