The Duel

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  • The Duel
  • Guy de Maupassant
  • 13 January 2018

About the Author: Guy de Maupassant

Henri Ren Albert Guy de Maupassant was a popular 19th century French writer He is one of the fathers of the modern short story A protege of Flaubert, Maupassant s short stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient effortless d nouement He also wrote six short novels A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who get crushed in it many are set during the Franco Prussian War of the 1870s.


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10 thoughts on “The Duel

  1. Glenn Russell says:

    Nineteenth century French author Guy de Maupassant was a pioneer and master of the short story My guess is anybody reading this review is familiar with the author s classic tale The Diamond Necklace from high school Maupassant once said a good writer should aim to show true human nature in his work, the unexceptional and the everyday of people s lives and their characters, their feelings and passions how people love or hate each other, how they fight each other and how they make up Maupass Nineteenth century French author Guy de Maupassant was a pioneer and master of the short story My guess is anybody reading this review is familiar with the author s classic tale The Diamond Necklace from high school Maupassant once said a good writer should aim to show true human nature in his work, the unexceptional and the everyday of people s lives and their characters, their feelings and passions how people love or hate each other, how they fight each other and how they make up Maupassant followed his own advice as this description fits his stories like a fine leather French glove Even the famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed Maupassant to be a brilliant and delicate psychologist The Duel is a five page master stroke of fiction The events of the story are simple and clear enough At the end of the Franco Prussian war, a fat middle aged Frenchman travels from Paris by train to join his wife and daughter in Switzerland He shares a compartment with two fat Englishmen At a little town, a Prussian officer enters the compartment, joins the Englishmen s conversation and starts bragging about his killing Frenchmen and goes on to say that if he was in charge he would have burned Paris to the ground and killed every man, woman and child in France.The sequence of events within the story are one thing but how the details of the characters and events are presented are quite another This is where Maupassant is a master For example, when the Prussian officer climbs the steps to enter the compartment, he does so with much clanking of his sword We are not surprised when he quickly starts boasting and bragging about killing Frenchmen.I wouldn t want to say anythingspecific and possibly spoil anybody s experience of reading, so I will turn to a general observations about one of the author s themes national pride Here is what nineteenth century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has to say on the subject The cheapest sort of pride is national pride for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority Schopenhauer s words have a ring of truth but Maupassant knew there are those occasions in life when we are pushed in a corner and are forced to act and react Indeed, living in a world with people of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds, encountering conflict, confrontation and interpersonal challenges is inevitable One can imagine how the French cheered for the story s main character at the time when the story was published and probably still cheer today.And what did Maupassant think, in turn, of Schopenhauer s pessimistic philosophy urging us to stand apart and above the turmoil of everyday passions, worldly aspirations, romantic love, and yearnings of the heart The French author penned a penetrating tale entitled At the Death Bed of Schopenhauer relaying what happened to a couple of students who sat at Schopenhauer s death bed, a tale of black humor with a trace of mockery of those who would disdain life and the common people he wrote about with such tenderness and compassion in his short stories.Guy de Maupassant

  2. Joe Short says:

    A brief snippet into the absurdity of war, Maupassant pits a German, Frenchman and two Englishman on a train Brief and brilliant.

  3. Zack Tyler says:

    One of Guy de Maupassant s great short stories The story takes place in France after the Franco Prussian war in the early 1870s, and while it is fictional, Maupassant made it incredibly realistic Witnessing the destruction of Paris and other cities as he travels by train to his family, the main character encounters a couple Englishmen and eventually a Prussian officer Through a series of events including bragging and threatening France by the Prussian officer, the situation escalates The mai One of Guy de Maupassant s great short stories The story takes place in France after the Franco Prussian war in the early 1870s, and while it is fictional, Maupassant made it incredibly realistic Witnessing the destruction of Paris and other cities as he travels by train to his family, the main character encounters a couple Englishmen and eventually a Prussian officer Through a series of events including bragging and threatening France by the Prussian officer, the situation escalates The main character, forced into a tough situation, ends up showing his patriotism.I certainly recommend this story to any history lovers, even if it is just a brief 5 page snippet The story is great for anyone though as it makes a valid point By describing the destruction and desperation of Paris and other cities, especially as the Prussian officer threatens to do worse, Maupassant shows how war can hurt innocent people and change their lives Neither Maupassant nor the main character seemed to be affected much, but the main character witnesses distracted, starving, despairing Paris ravaged fields and burned hamlets and a station that had been burned down Regardless of the part everyone in France played in the war, whether they were fighting or merely supporting their families, everyone was affected.There is still some lightheartedness to the story as the Englishmen try to remain neutral but clearly show sympathy or support to the Frenchman Likewise, each character s personality becomes clear as the story progresses, making it all therealistic All in all, it is a story worth reading

  4. Ethan Sanchez says:

    La meilleur nouvelle de Guy de Maupassant que j ai lu.

  5. Obalola Ibrahim says:

    Be Brave but better yet, don t brag so much.

  6. Ahmad Abudiab says:

    Very enjoyable and comical story A duel of literature with two Englishman and a Frenchman in the middle a war time situation while on a train Very brief yet enjoyable short story that has interesting points but with a comical value.

  7. Deepanshi Gusain says:

    Best story in my opinion as in this author s love for nation is clearly visible.As there was a war and persian and Germans destroyed France but author was still happy to be french and just ignore the talks of Persian officer

  8. Claudia says:

    It s hard at times, to find such well written tales that at the end there s a big smile on your face This is one such story As great as an amazing novella How I love 19th century story telling And French too Marvellous job Guy de Maupassant 5 stars Wish I could give it 500