Literary Birthday of a Horror Writer – Guy de Maupassant’s Horror Fiction and 10 Quotes

Born August 5, 1850, Guy de Maupassant was a popular 19th-century French writer. He is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story. He wrote more than 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of poetry.

It is with Le Gaulois in 1883 that de Maupassant diverted himself from a career as a humorous short story writer and begins on a second career that would make him a horror writer to stand beside Edgar Allan Poe. The stories in de Maupassant’s first nine volumes often speak of insanity, and it becomes clear that the author had a fascination with mental illness that grew with time, for lunacy is often used by de Maupassant as a plot devise.

De Maupassant’s masterpiece is “The Horla”(1886). Of all the stories he wrote this single tale is most often anthologized and was even filmed, though under the title of a different story, in MGM’s Diary of a Mad Man (1963) with Vincent Price. H. P. Lovecraft felt of stories describing alien possession “this tense narrative is perhaps without peer in its particular department.” In “Diary of a Mad Man” we read a judge’s diary revealing how he was obsessed with killing, then murders a little boy and a fisherman.

Here are a few of his short horror stories:

  1. “The Spectre” or “The Apparition” 
  2. “The Flayed Hand”
  3. “The Hand” or “The Englishman” 
  4. “The White Wolf” or “The Wolf”
  5. “Vendetta” or “Semillante”
  6. “A Mother of Monsters”
  7. “The Spasm” 
  8. “On the River”
  9. “He?” or “The Terror” 
  10. “The Specter” 
  11. “The White Lady”
  12. “Was it a Dream” or “Epitaph”

Photo by Justin Schuler. Graphic design by Mind on Fire Books.

Here are 10 quotes attributed to this writer.

  1. Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.
  2. There is only one good thing in life, and that is love. And how you misunderstand it! How you spoil it! You treat it as something solemn like a sacrament, or something to be bought, like a dress.
  3. I have come to the conclusion that the bed comprehends our whole life; for we were born in it, we live in it, and we shall die in it.
  4. Every government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship’s captain has to avoid a shipwreck.
  5. It is better to be unhappy in love than unhappy in marriage, but some people manage to be both.
  6. Solitude is dangerous for active minds. We need men who can think and can talk, around us. When we are alone for a long time, we people space with phantoms.
  7. Love always has its price, come whence it may.
  8. The great artists are those who impose their personal vision upon humanity.
  9. There are in France some fifty thousand young men of good birth and fairly well off who are encouraged to live a life of complete idleness. They must either cease to exist or must come to see that there can be no happiness, no health even, without regular daily labor of some sort.
  10. Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.

Published by Willy Martinez

We aim to have quality conversations about “L”iterature within the genres of Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy. We feel that mainstream tends to neglect these genres as having real value in our communities. Reading and analyzing how we study fear and how writers use fear is important to find the monsters, the enemy, the feeling of isolation within our communities.

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