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…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Cogman, Peter. "Le Horla". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 March 2004
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]