This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Bel-Ami (1885)

by Guy de Maupassant

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,136364,373 (3.83)139

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 139 mentions

English (29)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
If you read this book, avoid this edition and go for one of the other translations. I found out much too late that this translation is deeply flawed. I simply could not make myself read it again in another version since I had no joy in reading it whatsoever.

I have loved other works by Guy de Maupassant and suspect that the beauty of his language and construction have been lost in this reading. I have added another translation back to my "to-read" list. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
In his review of the 2012 movie version of this novel, New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden refers to Georges Duroy as:...the coldblooded social climber who seduces his way to the top of Gallic society in Guy de Maupassant’s 1885 novel, Bel Ami, is one of the nastiest pieces of work in French literature.Sure, Holden says this so he can point out how lame Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame, apparently - I wouldn't know, I can't stand teeny-bopper nonsense. Besides, Georges had a moustache, maybe Pattinson was too young to grown one) plays the part of this cold-blooded social climber. Yet Georges reminds me of almost everyone I work with, and everyone around me, including myself. Or at least how everyone wants to be. For he has a major chip on his shoulder, one borne by being of a peasant family. But Guy de Maupassant is regarded as a "naturalist", in that he tried to depict human nature as it really was, rather than an idealised or "Disney-fied" version that late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century humans have plastered over their collective vision. I got the feeling that Duroy was not as bad as all that. He was parts of me and parts of those around me. His depictions of envy and the "chip on the shoulder" talented peasant boy who was wrenched out of his comfort zone by the army resonates deeply. And those around Duroy remind me of how I see many others. Maybe my empathy for Duroy holds up a crystal-clear mirror to me. Not something to celebrate, but certainly a reflection to reflect upon. And I think that is why this novel is so very good - it really does depict human nature. The good guy doesn't win in the end, the bad guy doesn't win either, but the scheming Duroy, self-made not through hard work but purely through social climbing, and climbing on the social climbers around him - it was like watching real life, but not where one could sit in judgement (as we tend to do), because deep down, we know that we are one of these very characters, too. This is only the second book I have read by Guy de Maupassant, and my earlier discussion of the collection of short stories in A Parisian Affair had me thinking of Hemingway. It is interesting that I am presently half-way through Albert Camus' The Stranger, and the translator's introduction mentions the similarities between Camus' style and Hemingway, and how his "American" translation brings back some of what Gilbert's "English" translation lost. How much have we lost in the translation of Bel Ami? It would seem like not a thing. How would it be possible for this novel to be any better? I am pleased novels like this are few and far between, or I would quickly become tired of reading. And the biggest lesson I have learnt from this novel? Nietzsche's idea of "beyond". Beyond morality. Nietzsche, I think, meant what Guy de Maupassant does: strip away the veneer of morality and tell the story like it is - no embellishing the facts with morals, no pointing out vices and virtues. Only then, it would seem, can we truly reflect upon ourselves, can we truly see ourselves as we are, without the bias of morality. As Nietzsche suggested, many so-called virtues are weaknesses. Not because he was the "Antichrist", but because if we look at ourselves in the mirror of life, we can only see the vices and virtues we choose to see: "Oh, OK, I get it, I eat too much, but at least I am not a liar..." [never mind that we are disgustingly jealous but can't see this while it is in the very act of taking out our own eye]. This is how I interpret Nietzsche's meaning, and Guy de Maupassant, the great naturaliste, makes this clear to me in this wonderful story. ( )
2 vote madepercy | Jun 10, 2018 |
George Duroy is a penniless ex-soldier when this novel opens, but he is amoral and ruthless as he climbs his way to the top of Parisian society. His good fortune is due primarily to the mistresses he chooses and discards as his needs dictate. He's not a 'family values' kind of guy; his nickname, Bel-Ami is kind of a cross between 'handsome' and 'lover-boy.'

Although written in the 19th century, this book reads like a modern novel, and it caused quite a scandal when first published. De Maupassant's sympathies are quite clearly with the women. Their characters are fully developed and very believable. Although some of the women are definitely more accomplished and more intelligent than Bel-Ami, de Maupassant is able to make us understand to a certain extent why they put on blinkers where matters of love are concerned.

This was an easy read, and kept me fully engaged at all times (none of those long 19th century digressions). ( )
  arubabookwoman | Feb 12, 2017 |
An enjoyable read. I don't really like the main character, but I don't really hate him either. A good look at what some may do to get ahead in life. I look forward to reading more de Maupassant. His writing style was very readable, and I was surprised at how quickly I read this book. ( )
  AmieB7 | Jan 21, 2016 |
Bel Ami (good friend), what a man. At first we see him, he is walking the streets with barely the money to eat more than one meal a day and quench his thirst. He meets a friend from his military days and George is off. This man rises by using people. I read a review of another reader that compares Flaubert's Madame Bovary to de Mauppassant's George Duroy. This was an easy read and I enjoyed it a lot but this is not a likable character. He uses women, he plots and schemes, he takes money that is not his and he succeeds. This pretty much sums George Du Roy up; "You deceive everyone; you take advantage of everyone; you filch money and enjoyment wherever you can, and you want me to treat you as an honest man!" ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (224 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maupassant, Guy deAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bac, FerdinandIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bakker, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bigliosi, CinziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bory, Jean-LouisContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caproni, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cuijlenborg, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gidstam, BjörnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoving, VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springer, F.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szac, MurielleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Quand la caissière lui eut rendu la monnaie de sa pièce de cent sous, Georges Duroy sortit du restaurant.
After changing his five-franc piece Georges Duroy left the restaurant.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Nederlandse ed. ook verschenen o.d.t.: Vrindje, De strever, Adonis
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Georges Duroy, un giovane bello e ambizioso, va a Parigi dalla provincia in cerca di fortuna. L'amico Charles riesce a farlo entrare nella redazione di un giornale. Il successo con le donne lo aiuta a far carriera e, diventato Bel Ami, sfrutta questo suo fascino. Morto Charles, ne sposa la vedova dalla quale ottiene la metà di una ricca eredità. Poi cerca di conquistare Suzanne, la figlia sedicenne del proprietario del suo giornale. Divorzia dalla moglie, rapisce Suzanne e costringe il padre a dargliela in moglie. La madre della ragazza, anch'essa perdutamente innamorata di Bel Ami, impazzisce però di dolore.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140443150, Paperback)

Guy de Maupassant's scandalous tale of an opportunistic young man corrupted by the allure of power, "Bel-Ami" is translated with an introduction by Douglas Parmee in "Penguin Classics". Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his admirers as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie francaise and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives - the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses and wily financiers - and swiftly learns to become an arch-seducer, blackmailer and social climber in a world where love is only a means to an end. Written when Maupassant was at the height of his powers, "Bel-Ami" is a novel of great frankness and cynicism, but it is also infused with the sheer joy of life - depicting the scenes and characters of Paris in the belle epoque with wit, sensitivity and humanity. Douglas Parmee's translation captures all the vigour and vitality of Maupassant's novel. His introduction explores the similarities between Bel-Ami and Maupassant himself and demonstrates the skill with which the author depicts his large cast of characters and the French society of the Third Republic. Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was born in Normandy. By the late 1870s, the first signs of syphilis had appeared, and Maupassant had become Flaubert's pupil in the art of prose. He led a hectic social life, and in 1891, having tried to commit suicide, he was committed to an asylum in Paris, where he died two years later. If you enjoyed "Bel-Ami", you might like William Makepeace Thackeray's "Vanity Fair", also available in "Penguin Classics".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"Maupassant's second novel, Bel-Ami (1885), is the story of a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Georges Duroy, christened 'Bel-Ami' by his female admirers) making it to the top in fin-de-siecle Paris. It is a novel about money, sex, and power, set against the background of the politics of the French colonization of North Africa. It explores the dynamics of an urban society uncomfortably close to our own and is a devastating satire of the sleaziness of contemporary journalism."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
0.5 2
1 3
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 6
3 98
3.5 36
4 150
4.5 17
5 93

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140443150, 0141196793

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,053,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible