A Reader's Guide to Guy de Maupassant and 'The Necklace'
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Guy de Maupassant wrote over three hundred short stories, six novels, poems, travel books, articles, four plays and pornography and was a hugely influential writer, establishing the modern short story form and writing stories which have been hard for others to equal when it comes to quality, intriguing twists in the tail, and an almost photographic realism. He could never explain his own literary ability and grew quite panic-stricken when asked about his gift, or even when others talked of literary matters in his presence. He didn’t want to analyse - just to represent and narrate.
I vividly remember my first reading of this powerful short story. I was about 11 years old and my teacher suggested we all open a School Reader for silent reading. I opened up the book and was attracted by one title - The Necklace. I began to read … and soon the classroom walls seemed to disappear, and I found myself in Paris, borrowing a necklace from a friend and then finding to my horror that it was no longer around my neck.
I have loved The Necklace ever since. I have lectured on it, thought about its greatness and how much can be achieved within such a short work. I hope you enjoy reading and thinking about it too, and encourage you to go on to read more by this master of the short story.
Guy de Maupassant was a chronicler for his time, but a writer for all time – his stories touch on truths about the human condition. For many, he is the finest short story writer the world has ever known!
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