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Bel-Ami

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  29,277 ratings  ·  1,350 reviews
Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his friends as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie francaise and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives - the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses and wily financiers - and swiftly learns to ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 30th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published 1885)
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Constance The Necklace is an all-time great. If you can read it in French, it's even better. A splendid story of pride going before temptation, a haughty spirit…moreThe Necklace is an all-time great. If you can read it in French, it's even better. A splendid story of pride going before temptation, a haughty spirit before a fall....and of honor and redemption - and misunderstanding. Don't miss it!

And although Bel-Ami is less often read, it's a compelling portrait of a charming, sexy, amoral, greedy man. It strikes me he probably commits all of the 7 so-called deadly sins at one point or another... pride, avarice, lechery, envy, wrath, indolence and greed. What a guy! and how real!(less)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”There are many women who would give way to a passing whim, a sudden violent desire or an amorous fancy if they weren’t afraid that their brief moment of happiness would end in a dreadful scandal and bitter tears.”

Georges Duroy comes from the provinces of France to Paris with the determination to make something of himself. He finds a job making a pittance, but fortunately he runs into an old friend from the army named Charles Forestier. Even though Duroy has no real writing experience, Forestier
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
826. Bel-Ami = The History of a Scoundrel, Guy de Maupassant
Bel Ami is the second novel by French author Guy de Maupassant, published in 1885; an English translation titled Bel Ami, or, The History of a Scoundrel: A Novel first appeared in 1903. The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy's corrupt rise to power from a poor ex-NCO to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy women.The novel is set in Paris
...more
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
Maureen
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guy de Maupassant's 1885 portrayal of a scoundrel of the highest order, is set in Paris and was written with great style and not a little humour.

It really brings this period to life, and though this isn't edge of the seat stuff, the pages turn just as quickly following the exploits of George Duroy - journalist ( reputedly ) serial adulterer ( certainly ) and general rake, who'll stop at nothing to attain wealth, power, and recognition. Even though this was written in 1885, it seems that nothing
...more
Kim
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steven Godin
A while back, I happened to read some of De Maupassant's darkly humorous short stories from the 'Parisian affair' collection and found them a pure delight. He no doubt had a talent of capturing the bourgeousie society and predominantly focusing on relationships between men and women, exploring the nature of the human character, thumbs up here.

'Bel-Ami' although a solid enough read just didn't leave me with that same feeling of his shorter work. Zola, Balzac and Flaubert I find far more engaging
...more
Adam Dalva
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A meaty, exciting, insightful novel. Maupassant is so skilled with structure and is clearly champing at the bit to depict the ins and outs of 1880's Parisian culture (the extremely spoilery introduction is worth reading after you read the book to learn about the narrative parallels between Bel-Ami and the author). Bel-Ami's a great character - he's sort of totally loathsome and not particularly brilliant, and yet you can't help but thrill at his talent for manipulation and constant drive. It's a ...more
B the BookAddict
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Recommended Reading
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela & AAB members

Just 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 mist
...more
Chrissie

This is a really good novel 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 neverthele
...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
P.E.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sneaky short novel about a crook journalist giving false reports on subjects he never covers, a gigolo changing names, an upstart using expendable friends, all in all a very successful swindler which makes for a very successful carreer in Paris under the dawning Third Republic!

I wonder how compromised Maupassant have been in forging reports as a journalist.


Matching Soundtrack :
Moulinet-Polka, op. 57 - Josef Strauss

--------------------------------------------

Un roman sacrément rusé sur l'appre
...more
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
...more
Gary Inbinder
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sketchbook
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Ivana Books Are Magic
Bel- Ami is a true masterpiece. I've read an awful lot of Maupassant and I've always enjoyed his writing immensely. So, you could say that I had very high expectations when it came to his perhaps most critically reclaimed novel - Bel- Ami! I'm happy to report that this novel fulfilled them in the best way possible. As a young girl, I adored Balzac (and I still love him) but as a woman I treasure Maupassant over all the other great French writers. There is something in his pessimism that I find s ...more
Laure
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book would make an excellent HBO mini series! A glorious amoral tale of rags to riches through fraud, sex and shameless self-aggrandizement. I loved the ferocity of the omniscient narrator. There is something of the satire in this book, and the reader can only but squirm and smile in turn as fortune favours our totally corruptible 'hero'.
Jonfaith
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Emma
A scoundrel sleeps his way around 1880s Paris. Not much happens, aside from watching him seduce countless women he befriends. It's entertaining, and it's funny to think how essentially the same story could exist in any major city today.
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
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
4.5 *

Since most of my holiday reading books were complete & total dreck, seeing my Kindle used for good as well as evil was a bit of a relief.

& I'm not saying that Georges was good! For me, the change in Georges from a pleasant if rather aimless young man to evil personified was a bit abrupt, but that could have been the translation or me not paying enough attention to the clues being laid. Certainly not a word was wasted.


The ending genuinely surprised me. My first read of this author but defin
...more
Mark
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Life is a slope. As long as you’re going up you’re 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 but quick going down.”

Georges Duroy is a frightful snob and a wonderful creation by Maupassant, as he exposes French demi-monde society for all its shameful, tawdry hypocrisy. The story is fast paced and our anti-anti-hero, blessed with good looks and no education to speak of, but end
...more
Jill Hutchinson
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The man you love to hate! And to think I felt rather sorry for him in the beginning. George Duroy, penniless and with no social connections has a driving passion to become successful and he travels to Paris to fulfill his dream. He is a handsome charmer with wit and a talent for avoiding the truth when a better lie will suffice. Needless to say, he becomes a famous journalist who leaves behind a trail of mistresses and broken hearts. The author paints a scathing picture of late 19th century Pari ...more
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."
[P]
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jane
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
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 frie
...more
Tom
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd give it 3 and half stars. Despite his experience as protege, Maupassant is no Flaubert (an unfair comparison or expectation, granted). Perhaps Zola with better style? M's vision of world is certainly as grim and cynical as Z's. I prefer M's short stories, by far, but nonetheless, this book was at times a compelling read, for Du Roy's outrageous machinations and ambitions, which become so appalling that you assume it all has to fall apart and backfire at some point, and M's ability to create ...more
Laura
Available at BBC radio 4.

Dramatisation by Frances Byrnes of Guy de Maupassant's story of political corruption in the newspaper world of 19th-century France and the inexorable rise of Georges Duroy - 'Bel Ami' - a charming, ruthless man of little talent but plenty of ambition.

Bel Ami is making the perfect match with a society heiress but his past is about to catch up with him, in the shape of Mme de Marelle, his long-term mistress.

Bel Ami ...... Jonathan Slinger
Marelle ...... Emma Fielding
Madele
...more
Roberta
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici, favorites
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
Cphe
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Georges Duroy whose rise from peasant stock to the heights of Parisian society is fast and assured. Not a nice character by any means. It's the women that he uses, manipulates and discards in his way to the top that is breathtaking.

An entertaining read. A free edition without typos or errors, time well spent.
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Reading 1001: Bel-Ami - de Maupassant 3 8 Sep 30, 2020 07:45PM  
History in Vogue: Bel Ami : The Conclusion 18 19 Oct 07, 2015 04:37PM  
History in Vogue: Bel Ami : Chapters 5 - 8 6 9 Sep 29, 2015 02:21PM  
History in Vogue: Bel Ami : Chapters 1 - 4 14 14 Sep 21, 2015 06:00PM  
History in Vogue: Bel Ami : An Introduction 4 11 Aug 25, 2015 11:40PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant 1 14 Mar 21, 2015 08:02PM  
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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

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