Guy de Maupassant: Boule de Suif

(2175 words)
  • Peter Cogman (University of Southampton)

“Boule de Suif” was first published in the collective volume Les Soirées de Médan [The Médan Soirées]: the title refers to Émile Zola’s house some 40 km outside Paris, and suggests the existence of a homogeneous literary group gathered round their Naturalist master; but it also echoes Les Soirées de Neuilly, a collection of short pieces in dramatic form by Adolphe Dittmer and Edmond Cavé, published in 1827 under the pseudonym of Monsieur de Fongeray, which satirised political opportunism and religious hypocrisy in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo. The stories in the volume by Zola and five younger writers, like the sketches of “M. de Fongeray”, question comfortable patriotic assumptions and …

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Cogman, Peter. "Boule de Suif". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2004
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]