Guy de Maupassant

On this date in 1850, Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was born in France. After fighting in the Franco-German War, Maupassant began writing short stories. Considered a master of the short story, Maupassant wrote more than 300 short stories, as well as novels and travel books. He was a colleague of Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola, Ivan Turgenev and Henry James. One of his most famous short stories, "Ball of Fat," 1880, was said to have inspired a plotline in John Ford's "Stagecoach," 1939, about the hypocritical treatment of a prostitute by travelers. Pierre and Jean (1889), a psychological study of adultery between a wife and two brothers, was turned into a film in 1951 by Luis Bunuel. Many of his stories have been adapted as movies in France. Among his 39 horror stories is "The Inn," a predecessor to Stephen King's "The Shining," involving a plot about madness afflicting an isolated mountain caretaker. Freethought biographer Joseph McCabe noted: "His works sufficiently reflect his disdain of religion" (A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists). D. 1893.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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