Guy de Maupassant

On this date in 1850, Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born near Dieppe, France. After fighting in the Franco-Prussian War, he started writing short stories. Considered a master of that literary form, Maupassant wrote more than 300 short stories, as well as novels and travel books. One of his most famous, “Ball of Fat” (1880), was said to have inspired the plot line in John Ford’s 1939 movie “Stagecoach” 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.

Freedom From Religion Foundation