Guy de Maupassant: Le Horla [The Horla]

(2063 words)
  • Peter Cogman (University of Southampton)

“Le Horla” [“The Horla”, 1887], the longest and most ambiguous of Maupassant's tales of the fantastic, served as a lengthy introductory story to the volume of the same name which collected (as was Maupassant's practice) largely unrelated short stories published over the previous eight months.

Although Maupassant himself eventually succumbed to general paralysis of the insane as the result of tertiary syphilis, his tales of madness are not in any meaningful sense autobiographical. There is no correlation between the interest in madness and the progress of the disease in Maupassant, nor any exact match between his symptoms and those of his characters. His 18 or so fantastic tales (out of a total of just over 300) occur f…

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Cogman, Peter. "Le Horla". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 March 2004
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]