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 …
Cogman, Peter. "Une vie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2004; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11360, accessed 20 April 2015.]