M Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

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Monday, July 19, 2010

"A Father's Confession" by Guy de Maupassant

"A Father's Confession" by Guy de Maupassant (8 pages)

Guy de Maupassant (1850 to 1893) is always listed among great short story writers.    His many short stories deal with real life in Paris among ordinary people.    I have previously posted on his novella, Pierre Et Jean (1888) which I greatly enjoyed and admired.    

Guy De Maupassant  was a very successful and highly productive writer.  He wrote six short novels, over 200 short stories and a vast amount of journalism.       He was a protege of Gustav Flaubert.   Guy De Maupassant made a very good amount of money from his writings.   He served in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.   For ten years after the war he was a civil service clerk.   Flaubert, who knew his mother, encouraged him to pursue his literary interests.   One of his first short stories, about a prostitute during the Franco-Prussian, war was proclaimed a masterpiece by Flaubert and was hugely popular.   From the success of this De Maupassant began a career as a professional writer.   Through Flaubert he became friends with Zola and Turgenev.   (I will post soon on the story set in the Franco-Prussian War, "Duex Amis" (Two Friends-some of his works even when translated are still commonly referred to by their French titles)

"A Father's Confession" (I read this online and the date of the story and the translators name are not given-my guess is the story was written around 1880) opens at end of a funeral procession for a man who enjoyed  a long life free from any blame in the eyes of society.   He had become affluent through hard work as an attorney and thrift.    He was respected and respectable in every way and eye.    His son was a counselor general and his daughter had married an attorney and moved in the best social circles.    His wife of many years whom he always treated royally had died a few years before.    His children were very distraught over his passing having loved him as  wonderful father.   

The father had left instructions that his will should be opened as soon as  his coffin had been placed in the ground and that only his children were to be present at the reading.    Upon the opening of the sealed in wax envelope with the will inside the son finds a letter from his father.    What they read in this letter will shake him and his sister to their cores:

My children, my dear children, I could not sleep the eternal sleep in peace if I did not make to you from the tomb a confession, the confession of a crime, remorse for which has ruined my life. Yes, I committed a crime, a frightful, abominable crime.
I was twenty-six years old, and I had just been called to the bar in Paris, and was living the life off young men from the provinces who are stranded in this town without acquaintances, relatives, or friends.
As  I read the confession I was very shocked and ashamed for the father but I found his confession and the reasons behind his crime very credible.   I think anyone who has lost a greatly admired father will be very moved by this story and can understand the emotional impact  the confession would have on his adult son and daughter.   I will not spoil the story by explaining his crime.   I  recommend this story to any and all.    Guy de Maupassant is on all short lists of world's best short story writers.    


"A Father's Confession" can be read on line  at Classic Reader.   


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6 comments:

Molly said...

I have only read a few short stories by Maupassant, but I have loved each and every one. I need to make the time to read more.

Suko said...

This sounds like a must-read story. I will look for an online link.

TheBlackSheep said...

I've never read any Maupassant and certainly didn't know he was Flaubert's protogé so thanks for the author info. He sounds intriguing and I'll be looking to read something of his sometime soon. I'll keep this one in mind as a starter

JoAnn said...

I posted on a de Maupassant story today, too! Have loved every one I've read so far, and have bookmarked this for later. Thanks for including the link.

Rebecca Reid said...

I loved the Maupassant stories I've read but haven' read this one, thanks for the reminder to revisit the guy.

rajanthuvara .blogspot.com said...

mauppassant is a great intellectual.the menoirs of his vallet,francoise gives the reader a certain panorama about that ever great writter. i have translated his stories in to malayalam