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Bel ami

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  14,575 ratings  ·  740 reviews
De Maupassant's second novel, Bel-Ami (1885) is the story of a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Georges Duroy, christened ''Bel-Ami'' by his female admirers) making it to the top in fin-de-siecle Paris. It is a novel about money, sex, and power, set against the background of the politics of the French colonization of North Africa. It explores the dynamics of an urban societ ...more
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Published January 1st 2011 by Vi-Da GLOBAL (first published 1885)
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Guy de Maupassant was responsible for a couple of items named Bel-Ami. One was his very successful 1885 novel and the other was his small sailing yacht.

Here is what the latter looked like, from a Sale advertisement.

Advertisement for the sale of Guy de Maupassant's Yacht 'Bel-Ami' (litho) (b/w photo)

In Maupassant’s mind both the novel and the boat must have had a great deal in common, for we must remember that le bateau in French is of a masculine genre.

I also see a link in the great deal of ple
For a novel published in 1885 and set in the Paris of that period, this novel has a remarkably modern feel. It's about sleazy journalism, corrupt politicians, sex, money and power. And through it all is the Bel-Ami of the title - Georges Duroy, who uses his liaisons with rich and / or powerful women to achieve the wealth and social position he craves. Bel-Ami is the nickname given to him by the daughter of a mistress. It means "handsome (or beautiful) friend", but the nickname, like almost every ...more
On the surface, the moral of the book is simple: be a complete bastard, treat all the women you meet like dirt and exploit them as much as possible, and you'll be a stunning success. The author stays deadpan thoughout; it's impossible to tell for sure whether he's being ironic, though one strongly suspects he is. Fans of the Flashman series will probably enjoy this too.

Isaiah's comment highlighted for me why the book is so fascinating. Most people don't want to admit to themselves how important
MJ Nicholls
A rollicking tale from Flaubert’s protégé chronicling the inexorable rise of social climber Georges Duroy. Translated by Douglas Parmée, who rendered A Sentimental Education into irresistibly sumptuous English, Bel-Ami is powered by electrifying dialogue and a terse descriptive prowess Flaubert seemingly overemphasised to Maupassant—the prose is so compact you could park it in your driveway. Duroy is a misanthropic schemer and exploiter, but something of a “working-class hero,” if we understand ...more
5 stars
This is a really good story and I totally loved it.

I mean I LOVED it.

When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and clap. I am clapping.

OK now, Chrissie, explain why you loved it.

I loved it because I was laughing from start to finish. I loved it because it has a message that is oh so true. The message being that those who succeed, those who attain power, and position and money and fame very often do it by the least of admirable methods. This dire message is never
Alice Poon

This was my first Maupassant novel and it impressed me as a brilliantly told story about how a journalist-turned-parvenu of low-born parentage attained status, wealth and power by sleazy means in Third Republic France.

In a witty and crisp style, the story flows smoothly along as the protagonist jumps from one woman’s embrace to the next, gathering each time more worldly benefits like career advancement, social recognition, wealth and status. His only weapon of conquest is his youth and his hands
B the BookAddict
Oct 12, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Recommended Reading
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela & AAB members

Who is Bel Ami? Bel Ami (beautiful/handsome friend) is Georges Duroy, ostensibly a love rat, a man intent on procuring fortune and social status by way of the women in his life rather than by more usual means. A man of humble parentage, he's an ex-soldier with nothing to live on but his desire to do better for himself; trading on his charm, his wit, good looks and sex appeal. Never satisfied with what he has, Duroy furthers his status, employment and bank balance via his wife and his mistresses.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
If Flaubert has his heroine Madame Bovary, then Guy de Maupassant has his hero, George Duroy, nicknamed "Bel Ami" ( can't understand, however, why in the English translation of the book "Bel Ami" is translated as "Pretty Boy" when it actually means "good friend" and "pretty/beautiful boy" is "beaux garcon"). Both characters, you will either love or hate.

Had George Duroy (he later changed it to "George Du Roy" after he succeeded in marrying into money to make his name more aristocratic-sounding)
Here's to scalawags; I loved this tale of triumph about an absolute bastard who quickly understands how the world works. I thought at times that Bel-Ami was an almost self-conscious pastiche of sorts, including the better bits from previous hallmark novels of Parisian decadence. Apparently, such wasn't exclusively the case. The novel remains an incredible joy, a vibrant pulse of narrative curiosity and folly.
Cheryl Kennedy
A manipulator of women's hearts, bleeding envy from every artery, instigator of sexual scandals, late arrival arriviste, journalistic plagiarist, serial adulterer, a rake leading a debauched life reaching for the highest recognition in Paris society...

You'll want to know what happens to this corrupt scoundrel in Guy de Maupassant's 1885 masterpiece.

Highly Recommended!
I got my clammy adolescent hands on this just months before my parents mustered the courage to give me The Talk. Oops. "But Mom, I already know about all that stuff...Who told me? Umm, my friend, Gee...Who's he? Umm, he's this, like, syphilitic roué I met at Barnes and Noble."
Maupassant's accidental careerist moves with charm from
boudoirs to ballrooms in this worldly social comedy. The
story is very contemporary : it reveals print journalism
with its tricky newshounds, vulgar publishers and ambitious
scenesters - pretentious, posturing - for whom insincerity
is almost enough. The observant Maupassant says that too
often nothing succeeds like mediocrity and a big portion
of luck. Ironic, pitiless and monstrously humane.
I’ve read so many French novels about cads and ladies men that I’m now something of an expert. I am able to recognise the subtle differences of approach these men take, and their various motivations, like a marine biologist who can adroitly identify different breeds of shark, which to a layman would all look the same. Take, for example, Julien Sorel, who conducts his amorous pursuits as though they were a military campaign, who, as I said in my review of The Red and The Black, is all about winni ...more
Francesco Fantuzzi
La lettura di un capolavoro, molto di frequente, concede sin dalle prime righe la possibilità di intuire che ci troviamo di fronte ad un' opera d'arte indiscutibile. Ebbene, la lettura di "Bel ami" ci rende consapevoli del fatto che ci troviamo a fare i conti con un personaggio, Georges Duroy, per molti versi emblematico, uno di quei personaggi che "fanno epoca", cioè che ci parlano dell'epoca loro e dell'epoca nostra. Il contenuto del romanzo si delinea sin dalle prime battute: si seguirnno la ...more
John Gaynard
It was interesting for me to read this soon after reading The Doll by Bolesław Prus. The end of the nineteenth century in Paris shows Maupassant's Bel Ami cynically using a succession of women to get a foot hold in the world of journalism and then in politics. He seduces and discards his conquests, passes himself off as a noble by changing his name from Duroy to Du Roy and, worse than merely discarding women, he compromises them in any way that can serve his own ends.

The hero of the Doll, in fin
Georges Duroy is not a conventional hero: he is selfish, tries to take advantage of everything and he is very stupid. The reason he achieves success is that he is handsome and lucky, incredibly lucky.

It is luck that makes him meet with a journalist and his looks makes him merry the widow of his friend, a smart woman that wrote the articles of his previous husband and now writes Georges'.

The most interesting part regards the newspaper: it has not much quality but it has political sympathies (symp

The Paris of Maupassant sparkles with mischief, with possibility, with sex; relentless changes from the Revolution to the Second Republic have left only a mixed and fractured set of ideologies still standing. Business and economics have become a game for the adventurer, politics a circus, and religion a shadow of its former self. Love was where you might choose to find it.

The one story that still holds our interest, though, now or then, is that of the young man making his way from rough beginni
Gary Inbinder
In Whit Stillman's film, Metropolitan, one character describes his rival as follows in a funny scene at a Debutante Ball after-party:
"Rick Von Slonecker is tall, rich, good-looking, stupid, dishonest, conceited, a bully, liar, drunk and thief, an egomaniac, and probably psychotic. In short, highly attractive to women."

That description from a 1990's Indie comedy of manners could apply to Georges Duroy, aka Bel Ami, the quintessential unlikeable protagonist of Maupassant's 1885 masterpiece. Grante
Ужасно е колко ужасни са хората, а още по-ужасно е, че са били такива преди векове, не са се променили сега и едва ли някога ще се променят. Само заобикалящата среда и епохата са различни. Всеки си плете кошничката и драпа за неговото си - пари, власт, влияние... Интрига след интрига... Понякога се замислям и за другата гледна точка - може би именно обстоятелствата принуждават човек да бъде така безпардонен, безцеремонен и безскрупулен; в противен случай не успява (каквото и да се разбира под "у ...more
Shaherzad ahmadi
So, the writing isn't GREAT, but I'm sure it loses some zest in the translation; perhaps if I had read the original French I would have given it a 5. However, currently I am limited to what I can read. Admittedly, there are some great moments, and very, very good writing (though affected dialogue). The one glaring annoyance I can report is his general lack of comfort with describing SEX. Yes, the entire book is about it but Maupassant hates to directly discuss what it is that makes Duroy so rich ...more
Simona Bartolotta
«Eppure eccola qui l'unica cosa bella della vita: l'amore! Stringere fra le braccia la donna amata! Questo è il limite ultimo della felicità umana.»

Come spesso accade, quando ho preso Bel-ami tra le mani ero assai scettica. Da qualsiasi parte mi girassi, trovavo qualcuno che me lo consigliava, perché c'era il film in uscita e allora sì, se fanno il film lo devi leggere assolutamente. Se poi c'è Pattinson.
Insomma, l'affare mi puzzava. A tutt'oggi, non ho visto la versione cinematografica e non s
I have been to 19th century Paris, but I barely knew it. Because I have read a book with a style, with themes, with a story, that felt so very, very contemporary.

This is a story of journalists with dubious ethics, of politicians who use their position for personal gain, of men and women caught up in the quest for power, money and social status.

And at the centre of it all is Georges Duroy. He was an ordinary man, a former soldier, who rose from the bottom of society to the very top. An old friend
In vague technical terms, this is a French realist story about a young disaffected impoverished officer who learns the mechanisms of social norms, and uses them to advance his own position within society, with substantial commentary on the decay of French morality in the 19th century.

In other words, it's the story of a complete shit-heel who manipulates money and people and rises through society quite easily. Maupassant has a few cutting remarks (see - fencing scene) and he has a very nice contr
Beka Sukhitashvili
ძალიან მომწონა.
არ მოველოდი, იმიტომ რომ ფრანგული კლასიკის უმეტესობა ახლა უკვე სათქმელდაკარგულია და ენაც მოუხეშავი, გაწელილსიუჟეტიანი.
მაგრამ მოპასანი ისე კარგად აღწერს დიდებისკენ მიმავალ გზას. ფინალი ყველაზე მეტად მომეწონა - დატოვა მანკიერი გმირი დიდების მწვერვალზე.
მწერლის დამოკიდებულებამ მომხიბლა - თითქოს ერთგვარად ამართლებს კიდეც ასეთ გზას, თუკი მის პირად ცხოვრებას, მრწამსსა და მსოფლმხედველობასაც გავითვალისწინებთ. ზოლასავით მსახვრალი არაა, უფრო ლმობიერი და განყენებულია.
I don't usually feel angry on reaching the final page of a book, but after this one I was incensed. I read it chiefly because 1) it was free on my Kindle and 2) I remember liking Une Vie when I read it in college. If you would fancy a fictional movie where Bernie Madoff, instead of going to jail, gets away with it all, maybe this book is for you. Page after page I was waiting, desperately hoping for Georges Duroy to get his comeuppance, and of course it never came. Did de Maupassant actually bel ...more
Sono contenta di averlo finalmente letto. Non sono preparata sugli autori francesi, ma la presentazione a "Per un pugno di libri" mi aveva interessato molto.
Il Bel-Ami è un arrivista, un piacione che arriva ai vertici della scala sociale grazie alle donne di cui si circonda, e che seduce. Il problema è che, per quei 5 minuti in cui deve innamorarsene, ci riesce davvero. Le donne lo accettano non perché racconti loro semplicemente quello che si volgiono sentire, ma perché lo fa con intenzione e s
Yes, Bel-Ami was a nasty person. But he wasn't the only one. All of the women were *married* - except for Suzanne, the last (who is the one I feel sorry for). The rest all made conscious decisions to do the wrong thing, and it shouldn't have been surprising to them that bad would come of it.

Having just read "Envy" by Epstein, it's hard for me not to note that Bel Ami was a person driven by that emotion. Up to the very end, when he has attained so much, he looks around him and begins to envy the
Gozde V
Absolutely superb. It's one of those books in which you turn page after page and dove straight into the world of the late 19th century. You don't read but you witness, you don't learn but you experience. Maupassant's simple yet clever style of writing mesmerizes you from the beginning of the book to the very last page.

About the characters, Georges Duroy, or should I say Du Roy, was of a very typical portray of the century Maupassant lived in. Throughout, I got the feeling that the characteristic
Guy de Maupassant is probably more noted for his short stories, of which he wrote over three hundred, compared to six novels. Bel-Ami is the story of an angry young man in France in the late 1800s. He can't find his niche and turns to journalism as a last resort for fame and money. He becomes involved with three totally different women over a brief span of time, one for convenience, one for love (or lust) and one for career advancement.
I felt like this book was not about a whole lot. Regardless, I could not put it down. It is a book about Bel-Ami, who is quite the loser, using exploitation and greed to take advantage of women and situations. It has a surprisingly modern feel to it for it being a classic French novel. I really flew through it and enjoyed it.
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Henri René 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 dénouement. He also wrote six short novels. A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who get crushed i ...more
More about Guy de Maupassant...
The Necklace and Other Short Stories Une vie Le Horla et autres nouvelles fantastiques Boule de Suif (21 contes) Pierre et Jean

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“Life is a slope. As long as you're going up you're always looking towards the top and you feel happy, but when you reach it, suddenly you can see the road going downhill and death at the end of it all. It's slow going up and quick going down.” 50 likes
“The only certainty is death.” 50 likes
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