Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant. 0.00
Bel Ami is French author Guy de Maupassant's second novel, published in 1885. 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 mistresses. The novel is set in Paris in the upper-middle class environment of the leading journalists of the newspaper La Vie Française and their friends. It tells the story of Georges Duroy, who has spent three years of military service in Algeria. After six months working as a clerk in Paris, an encounter with his former comrade, Forestier, enables him to start a career as a journalist. From a reporter of minor events and soft news, he gradually climbs his way up to chief editor. Duroy initially owes his success to Forestier’s wife who helps him write his first articles and, when he later starts writing lead articles, she adds an edge and poignancy to them. At the same time, she uses her connections among leading politicians to provide him with behind the scenes information which allows him to become actively involved in politics. Duroy is also introduced to many politicians in Madame Forestier’s drawing-room. Duroy becomes the lover of Forestiers' friend Mme de Marelle, another influential woman. Duroy later tries to seduce Madeleine Forestier to get even with her husband, but she repulses Duroy’s sexual advances and offers that they become true friends without ulterior motives instead. In a few months, Charles Forestier’s health deteriorates and he travels to the south of France to regain it. Soon afterwards, Duroy receives a letter from Madeleine imploring him to come to join her and help her bear the last moments of her husband’s life. As Forestier dies, Duroy asks Madeleine to marry him. After a few weeks to consider, she agrees. In the last two chapters Duroy's ascent to power continues. Duroy, now a single man, makes use of his chief’s daughter's infatuation with him, and arranges an elopement with her. The parents then have no other choice but to grant their assent to the marriage. The last chapter shows Duroy savouring his success at the wedding ceremony at which 'all those who figured prominently in society' were present. His thoughts, however, chiefly belong to Mme de Marelle who, when wishing him all the best, indicates that she has forgiven him for his new marriage and that their intimate meetings can be taken up again.