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The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
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The Horla (1885)

by Guy de Maupassant, F. Rachmuhl

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 22 mentions

English (6)  French (5)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (13)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
An interesting short story, presented as a novella length book by including three different versions. Each version has a different approach to the narrative: first person narration, as a "Letter from a Madman", and in a frame story in which an alienist (psychiatrist) introduces a patient, who then tells the story. All versions include the basic ideas: our perceptions are limited, so how can we judge the reality of what lies beyond them? Is possession by an invisible being very different from the effects of hypnotic suggestion? The rationality of the madman, a well-informed, French country gentleman in the late 19th century, is what makes this story of unexplained events entertaining. The first, and final, version would've been enough for me, but add a star if you're interested in the alternative narrative techniques. ( )
  BobCulley | Mar 30, 2015 |
Old-school horror story. It reminds me of 'The Double' by Dostoevsky. ( )
  mariusgm | Sep 12, 2014 |
"Después del hombre, el Horla".
Esta frase del autor resume, desde mi punto de vista distorsionado de la realidad, valga siempre realizar dicha aclaración, que por cierto es una característica común de cada ser humano que habita sobre la faz de este mundo, no se vaya a creer que uno es especial o un alienado o cualquier cosa fuera de lo regular, esta frase resume, decía, la fuerza y narración de este cuento impresionante, de esos que juegan con los límites entre lo verídico e inverosímil, entre el asombro del desarrollo científico y la insignificancia de este punto flotante en el cosmos. Pero también es un cuento con tintes de horror, cuya intensidad crece exponencial a medida que los hechos son revelados en el apunte diario de notas del personaje principal. Fascinante el cómo transforma el descubrimiento de un ser invisible, que deambula e inquieta la normalidad de una casa acomodada, en el heraldo de una nueva raza de seres que conquistarán a la humanidad, tal como esta última lo ha realizado, con total desfachatez, justificando e invocando la naturaleza humana, ante otros seres y civilizaciones que le parecieron inferiores. Creo que por un par de noches será pertinente dejar dispuestos, en la cercanía de mi recámara, los refrescos necesarios ante una eventual visita de tan respetable espectro. ( )
1 vote david.uchile | Mar 18, 2014 |
The Horla - 1887 (final version) - Fantastic piece of Gothic horror! I've read Maupassant before but this is my first time reading this story. A series of journal entries as a man tells how he is not feeling well. He takes various vacations, feels better but his illness always returns when he gets back home. He starts to believe he is going mad as his physical ailments lead to hallucinations and eventually he muses upon whether he is a rational man having hallucinations or simply a madman. However, things take a different turn when he believes his hallucination may be real and perhaps his problem is a being not of this plane. A perfectly paced example of the Victorian Gothic.

Letter From a Madman - 1885 (first draft published under a pen name) - This is a mere 10 pages compared to the over 40 of the final story and is only a hint of what would become "The Horla". A man writes a letter to a doctor asking him to be put away in the madhouse and then explains what he has been suffering. Starting out as an essay on the five senses and then going on to the man's hallucinations of experiencing the missing senses, this is not a particularly exciting short story though it does end on a creepy note. There are a lot of scenes and ideas that have been used in the final story "The Horla". One can see how this story must have left the author feeling there was much more that could be told from the basic idea he had presented here.

The Horla - 1886 (first version) - Not the novella of the final version but a much longer short story than the "Letter..." A good story which I quite enjoyed and would have been satisfied with giving a 4*, but having read the final version see how the story lacks its haunting Gothic creepiness. For this version a doctor invites colleagues over to hear his patient's story; which the patient then proceeds to recount. First off with this set up, we know the "madman's" fate from the beginning which is unknown in the final version and part of the pacing. The story does now contain all the same elements and events that will fill the final story but since the patient is telling a story which has happened in the past it does not have the same eeriness as the final story which is told in real time journal entries.

Altogether a wonderful experience reading the progress of an idea into a brilliant novella. Even though I enjoyed the first story (the final version) the most, the whole reading experience was a 5* event! ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Apr 26, 2013 |
Le narrateur mène une vie tranquille dans sa maison au bord de la Seine, en Normandie, lorsque d'étranges phénomènes commencent à se produire. C'est la carafe d'eau sur sa table de nuit qui est bue, des objets qui disparaissent ou se brisent, une fleur cueillie par une main invisible... Peu à peu, le narrateur acquiert la certitude qu'un être surnaturel et immatériel vit chez lui, se nourrit de ses provisions. Pire encore, cet être, qu'il baptise le Horla, a tout pouvoir sur lui, un pouvoir grandissant... S'il quitte sa maison, ce pouvoir disparaît ; mais bientôt, il ne peut plus sortir de chez lui, il est prisonnier. D'où vient cet esprit ? Du Horla ou de l'homme, l'un des deux doit périr. Le Horla comme les contes fantastiques écrits par Maupassant à la fin de sa vie, alors qu'il sombrait dans la folie, joue délicieusement avec nos nerfs en traitant de thèmes très actuels comme l'angoisse, la hantise du suicide, la peur de l'invisible. --Céline Darner
1 vote PierreYvesMERCIER | Feb 19, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy de Maupassantprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rachmuhl, F.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Hammarén, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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May 8. What a lovely day! I have spent all the morning lying on the grass in front of my house, under the enormous plantain tree which covers and shades and shelters the whole of it. I like this part of the country; I am fond of living here because I am attached to it by deep roots, the profound and delicate roots which attach a man to the soil on which his ancestors were born and died, to their traditions, their usages, their food, the local expressions, the peculiar language of the peasants, the smell of the soil, the hamlets, and to the atmosphere itself.
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This is for the short story only.  Collections should not be combined.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0976140748, Paperback)

Our woe is upon us.

This chilling tale of one man’s descent into madness was published shortly before the author was institutionalized for insanity, and so The Horla has inevitably been seen as informed by Guy de Maupassant’s mental illness. While such speculation is murky, it is clear that de Maupassant—hailed alongside Chekhov as father of the short story—was at the peak of his powers in this innovative precursor of first-person psychological fiction. Indeed, he worked for years on The Horla’s themes and form, first drafting it as “Letter from a Madman,” then telling it from a doctor’s point of view, before finally releasing the terrified protagonist to speak for himself in its devastating final version. In a brilliant new translation, all three versions appear here as a single volume for the first time.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:51 -0400)

This short story recounts an individual's combat with an invisible being, Le horla, thereby describing his own madness.

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