Guy de Maupassant: Une vie [A Life]

(2065 words)
  • Peter Cogman (University of Southampton)

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 …

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Cogman, Peter. "Une vie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2004
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]