Guy de Maupassant, Une vie [A Life]

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Henry James noted that Maupassant's first novel “has nothing that corresponds to the usual idea of a plot”:

Une Vie

simply follows the life of Jeanne Le Perthuis des Vauds, a young woman of the provincial aristocracy, from the moment when she leaves the convent in 1819 until the menopause and her becoming a grandmother in the late 1840s. Maupassant conceived the novel in December 1877; encouraged by Flaubert, he worked on it throughout 1878, then abandoned it, in part because of the pressures of his work as a civil servant, in part because his first draft of the opening chapters was encumbered by a multiplicity of characters (in it Jeanne has a brother, two aunts, and two cousins) and incidents. He only returned to complete it in 1881-2; final corrections took until March 1883.


2065 words

Citation: Cogman, Peter. "Une vie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2004 [, accessed 15 April 2024.]

11360 Une vie 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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