Guy de Maupassant: Pierre et Jean [Pierre and Jean]

(2292 words)
  • Peter Cogman (University of Southampton)

Pierre et Jean, Maupassant’s shortest novel, was written in Étretat in his native Normandy between June and September 1887. It appeared in three instalments in the Nouvelle Revue and then in volume form in 1888, together with the essay “Le Roman” [“The Novel”].

Pierre and Jean are, or so it seems, the two sons of M. Roland, a jeweller who has retired to Le Havre, and his wife Louise; one has trained as a doctor, the other as a lawyer. By the end of the novel, which covers a few weeks in the family’s life, Jean is engaged to Mme Rosémilly, a young widow, and Pierre has left as a ship’s doctor on a transatlantic liner. These superficially normal events in a respectable middle-class setting conceal a …

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Cogman, Peter. "Pierre et Jean". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2004
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]