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Bel Ami

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  12,608 ratings  ·  667 reviews
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 11th 2008 by BiblioLife (first published 1885)
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Kalliope

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
...more
Kim
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
Manny
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
...more
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
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.
...more
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)
...more
Chrissie
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 nevert
...more
Jonfaith
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.
Eric
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."
Sketchbook
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.
Cheryl
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!
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
Roberta
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
...more
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
...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
...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
Hadrian
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
...more
Hareton Linton
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.
Doroti
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
Martin
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
Sylvester
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
...more
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
...more
Dagny
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.
Kelly
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.
Elizabeth
Apr 13, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who can read (and those who can read it in the original French, in particular)
Recommended to Elizabeth by: My need for a French 19th c. novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roberta
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
...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
...more
Jane
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
...more
Tim Freeman
Very enjoyable; I can see my self reading some more of his work, in fact I just ordered a collection of his short stories. I'm not sure what the attraction exactly was, it wasn't because I found Georges particularly a nice or admirable character, so it wasn't that. It wasn't the story per se either, being a little thin in the plot department, just not a lot to it, a moral fable of sorts for sure, that is hard to miss, but what I think held me to this book was the clear style, the crisp sentences ...more
Sandra
This is a classic piece of literature. No doubt about it. As such, the copyright has expired and you can obtain a free copy in e-format through Project Gutenberg.

So I did. Mostly because I had never read this book (wasn't required lit in school) and I needed to get a feel for the plot prior to watching the highly anticipated movie coming to the US on 3/2/12.

Clearly, this is a satire. Or at least, I should hope this was meant to be a satire. Either way, then and now, it's not about what you kno
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: download version on GR is French not English 2 43 Jan 02, 2012 04:07PM  
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18791
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
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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.” 43 likes
“The only certainty is death.” 38 likes
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