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FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT
A LITERARY RELATIONSHIP



A DISSERTATION

SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY

OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS 4ND LIT^T?ATURE

IN CANDIDACY FCR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

DEPARTMENT OF ROMANCE LANGUAGES AND L!i'i;,.AI'''i:F'




BY

RUTHERFORD RIDDELI



THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS



V



Ube mntvctsitp ot Gbicaao



FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT
A LITERARY RELATIONSHIP



A DISSERTATION

SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY

OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND LITERATURE

IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

DEPARTMENT OF ROMANCE LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES



BY

AGNES RUTHERFORD RIDDELL



THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS



Copyright 1920 By
The University oe Chicago



All Rights Reserved



Published February 1920



Composed and Printed By

The University o! Chicago Press

Chicago, Illinois. U.S.A.



PREFACE

The publication of this dissertation has been delayed by the war,
as it has been impossible to visit the libraries of Europe for books
and articles not to be found on this side of the Atlantic. Permission
to publish has now been granted the writer by the Department of
Romance Languages and Literatures, with the understanding that,
if necessary, additions to or revisions of the dissertation may be
issued by her after she has examined the material in Europe.

This dissertation has been written under the direction of Pro-
fessor E. P. Dargan, to whose invaluable and untiring encouragement
and counsel the writer acknowledges with pleasure her very great
indebtedness. She desires further to express her thanks for much
valuable advice to Professor Nitze, head of the Department of
Romance Languages and Literatures. To Professor Pietsch, Pro-
fessor Jenkins, Professor Wilkins, Professor Coleman, Assistant
Professor Parmenter, and others who have assisted her from time
to time during the composition of the dissertation with facts and sug-
gestions, she wishes also to record her gratitude.



Tn



433141



TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAOB

Abbreviations . ix

CHAPTER

I. History of the Personal Relationship i

II. Discussion and Exemplification of Definitely Stated

Theories Regarding Life (with Introduction) . .11

III. Discussion and Exemplification of Definitely Stated

Theories Regarding Literary Procedure .... 21

IV. Likeness in Employment of General Realistic Devices . 38

V. Resemblances in Plot, Incident, Characterization, Ideas

and Wording 63

VI. Summary and Conclusion 109

Bibliography 111



ABBREVIATIONS

In referring to the works of Flaubert and Maupassant, the following
abbreviations are used throughout the notes of the dissertation in order
to save space. Where the reference is to a short story, the title of the
volume in which it is contained is given first, and then the name of the
story (abbreviated in many cases).

Flaubert

M.B Madame Bovary

L'Ed.S L'Education sentimentale

Sal Salammbo

T.C (U.C.S. ; L.L.d.SJ.l'H ;Trois Contes (Un Coeur simple; La Legende

Her.) de Saint Julien l'Hospitalier, Herodias)

L.T.d.S.-A La Tentation de Saint-Antoine

O.d.J Oeuvres de jeunesse

N.d.V Notes de voyages

P.l.C.e.p.l.G Par les Champs et par les Greves

Corr Correspondance

B.e.P. ...... Bouvard et Pecuchet

Maupassant

D.V Des Vers v

B.d.S Boule de Suif

P.e.J Pierre et Jean i

Mlle.F Mademoiselle Fifi u

M.Par Monsieur Parent ^

L.R.d.M.H Le Rosier de Madame Husson

Au S Au Soleil ■

L.M.G La Main Gauche

U.V UneVie

L.P.R La Petite Roque

S.l'E Surl'Eau

F.c.l.M Fort comme la Mort

N.C Notre Coeur

L.M.T La Maison Tellier

L.V.E La Vie Errante

L.H Le Horla

C.d.l.B. or Bee Contes de la Becasse

ix



x FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT

O.P Oeuvres posthumes l

M.Har Miss Harriet

L.S.R Les Soeurs Rondoli

M.-O Mont-Oriol

C.dJ.e.d.l.N Contes du Jour et de la Nuit •

L'l.B L'inutile Beaute «"

B.-A Bel-Ami

Cd.L. . Clair de Lune <s

Italicized words in quotations marked thus * are italicized in the text.
Where this mark is not used the italics are the writer's.



>• • • "•'



CHAPTER I
HISTORY OF THE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP

Flaubert's connection with the Maupassant family began through
the friendship between his mother and the mother of his companions,
Alfred and Laure Le Poittevin, 1 the latter of whom became, in 1850,
the mother of Guy de Maupassant. 2 The relationship with Alfred
Le Poittevin continued until the latter 's death in 1848, 3 as is evi-
denced by the frequent mention of him in the Correspondance and
elsewhere in Flaubert's works, 4 by the letters addressed to him, 5
and by the dedication to him of La Tentation de Saint-Antoine and
of two youthful attempts. 6 Some years older than Gustave, Alfred
Le Poittevin seems to have had upon him considerable influence.
For present purposes the friendship is interesting mainly because
it gives rise to the speculation as to how far Flaubert's relationship
with the nephew is traceable to his friendship with the uncle.

With Laure Le Poittevin, who married, in 1846, Gustave de
Maupassant, Flaubert maintained his friendship as long as he lived. 7
She seems, however, to have passed out of his ken during the early
years of her married life. 8 The first letter to her included in the
Correspondance dates from 1863. 9 Others follow in 1866, 1872, and
1873 (2). 10 In these letters reference is made to Alfred; mention
also occurs of Laure's son Guy and of the growing affection of
Flaubert for him, partly on the lad's own account and partly because

1 Flaubert, Corr., I : Souvenirs intimes de Mme. de Commanville, p. ix.

2 Maynial, La vie et I'oeuvre de Maupassant, p. 24.

3 Ibid., p. 21.

4 For example, Corr., I, 24, 33, 35, 39, 45, 54, 60, 62, 74, 77, 96, 167, 191, 207,
298, 301, 402, 459; II, 23, 92, I9I-93; N.d.V., I, 89; P.l.C.e.p.l.G., pp. 337, 339,
etc.

5 Corr., I, 147, 150, 153, 159, 162, 173 (1845), 187, 188 (1846).

6 O.dJ., I, 401 ; II, 121.

7 Maynial, op. cit., pp. 23 and 21. Maynial gives a very full account of the
personal relationship between Flaubert and Maupassant, to which the present
chapter is much indebted. The acknowledgment is made here once for all,
except in the case of specific references.

s Ibid., p. 22. » Corr., Ill, 384, 418; IV, 138, 158, 185. ™ Ibid.



2 -FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT

of his strong resemblance to his uncle. 11 This is the beginning of
a letter in Correspondance, IV, 158:

Tu m'as prevenu, ma chere Laure, car depuis un mois je voulais
t'ecrire pour te faire une declaration de tendresse a l'endroit de ton fils.
Tu ne saurais croire comme je le trouve charmant, intelligent, bon enfant,
sense et spirituel, bref (pour employer un mot a la mode) sympathique !
Malgre la difference de nos ages je le regarde comme «un ami,» et puis
il me rappelle tant mon pauvre Alfred ! J'en suis meme parfois effraye,
surtout lorsqu'il baisse la tete, en recitant des vers.

Flaubert advises her to encourage her son in his taste for verse
writing and holds out hope that in time the young man may accom-
plish something worthy of literary fame. In a letter in Correspon-
dance (IV, 185), Flaubert again expresses his affection for Guy and
declares himself willing to do all in his power to help him.

The letters to Guy de Maupassant himself included in the Cor-
respondance begin in 1873 and continue until the year of Flaubert's
death. They are thirty-seven in number 12 and contain criticism,
warning, and advice regarding literary and other matters, requests
for information and for counsel, explanation of commissions to
execute, thanks for services rendered, messages to Mme de Maupas-
sant and to friends, accounts of the older man's own doings, and
I-, current gossip. In one Flaubert calls Guy "mon tres aime disciple." 13
Another is a species of manifesto on the relation of art to morality.
It upholds "le culte de la femme" on the authority of great writers
of ancient and modern times and enunciates the theories, to be
discussed in later chapters of this thesis, of "art for art's sake,"
and of the persecution of literature by the public. 14 This epistle,
cast in a tone of ironic exasperation at the "betise" of the prosecu-
tion occasioning the letter, was written for insertion in the Gaulois
to defend Maupassant against a threatened lawsuit, brought on by
the unauthorized publication of fragments from one of his poems.
It now appears, somewhat changed, as a preface to the latter's
volume of verses. 15 The personal literary advice contained in the

« Corr., IV, 185.

12 Corr., IV, 166, 223, 266, 269, 273, 278, 285, 313, 315, 319, 335, 345, 346, 349,
350, 357, 363, 382, 386, 388, 391, 396, 397, 401, 405, 4ii, 414, 417, 4i8, 423, 425, 427,
427, 428, 429, 430, 431.

13 Corr., IV, 39i-

14 See below, pp. 36, 20. 15 D.V., pp. xxvii-xxxi.



PRESONAL RELATIONSHIP 3

letters is valuable here because it throws light upon the method of
training to which Flaubert subjected his pupil. The older man shows
keen interest in everything written by the younger and is constantly
asking for news of his efforts. When Maupassant is trying to
secure a position on the journals, Flaubert suggests to him subjects
for articles. 16 An article on himself wins his thanks; another is
"fine," a third "good." 17 The last-mentioned, however — on French
poetry — does not do justice to Ronsard. Remarks on individual
works are very specific, praise being tempered with blame. The
following are examples of generally commendatory criticism.

Cest tres bien votre Venus* Je n'y vois rien a reprendre que deux
petites incorrections grammaticales, mais elles peuvent se defendre. 18

Quant a votre mur* 19 plein de vers splendides, il y a des disparates
de ton. Ainsi le mot bagatelle* vous verse une douche glacee. L'effet
comique arrive trop tot, mais admettons que je n'aie rien dit; il faut
voir l'ensemble. 20

The following passage is a sample of severe criticism. Although
somewhat long, it is quoted in its entirety because it shows with
what vigorous censure the master corrected the disciple on occasion.

Maintenant causons de Desirs* Eh bien! mon jeune homme, la
dite piece ne me plait pas du tout. Elle indique une facilite deplorable.

Un de mes chers desirs* un desir qui est cher! Avoir des ailes*
parbleu ! le souhait est commun. Les deux vers suivants sont bons, mais
au quatrieme les oiseaux surpris* ne sont pas surpris puisque tu es a
les poursuivre. A moins que surpris ne veuille dire etonnes?

16 For example, Corr., IV, 274. The numerous articles which Maupassant
wrote for reviews and journals have, with few exceptions, never been reprinted
(Maynial, op. cit., p. 213). It is impossible, therefore, at the present moment,
for the writer of this thesis to say from personal observation how far these
suggestions of Flaubert's were carried out.

Mahn, Guy de Maupassant, sein Leben und seine Werke, gives, in his chap-
ter entitled "Der Journalist," pp. 125-66, an account of his researches on the
subject of these articles at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Maupassant wrote espe-
cially for Le Gaulois and Le Gil Bias, as well as for numerous other journals.
The content of the articles, as described by Mahn, does not differ in kind from
that of the author's collected works.

17 Corr., IV, 273, 319, 285. 18 Corr., IV, 386.

19 A reference apparently to Maupassant's poem Le Mur. The word mur
is printed in the Conard edition of Flaubert's Correspondance with a small
letter.

20 Corr., IV, 397.



4 FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT

Je voudrais, je voudrais* Avec une pareille tournure on peut aller
indefiniment tant qu'on a de l'encre ! Et la composition ? Ou est-elle ?

Ainsi qu'un grand flambeau* l'image me semble comique; outre
qu'un flambeau ne laisse pas de flamme, puisqu'il la porte.

Des fronts en cheveux noirs aux fronts en cheveux roux.

Charmant, mais rappelle trop le vers de Menard :

Sous tes cheveux chatains et sous tes cheveux gris.

cOui je voudrais.* Pourquoi ouif*

Clair de lune* excellent.

L'affolante bataille* atroce!

En somme je t'engage a supprimer cette piece, elle n'est pas a la
hauteur des autres.

La-dessus ton vieux t'embrasse. Severe, mais juste. 21

In the foregoing three passages the form of criticism is that of
specific comment, with some general remarks. No point is allowed
to pass which offends against Flaubert's uncompromising standards
of originality, of correctness, of artistic fitness. Venus, for example,
contains "two slight grammatical errors." The word "bagatelle"
in le Mur has "a chilling effect." The poem Desirs shows "a deplor-
able facility." Avoir des diles is a commonplace expression. The
word "surpris" is ambiguous, the word "oui" superfluous. The
image of the torch is inappropriate. The line quoted is a plagiarism.
And so on. The strictures on these poems illustrate certain of
Flaubert's literary theories which will be considered later in this
thesis, as, for instance, his insistence on the "mot juste," his dislike
of "idees regues," etc. 22 As the poems now appear in the volume
Des Vers we may observe that the expressions criticized have gen-
erally been altered, 23 showing Maupassant's deference to the opin-
ions of Flaubert.

In commenting on Boule de Suif, the "conte rouennais" con-
cerning which Maupassant had apparently thrown out mysterious
hints before its appearance in the Soirees de Me dan, Flaubert is
most enthusiastic. 24 It is the best thing in the volume, a real
masterpiece, original, well thought out, excellently written. Land-

21 Corr., IV, 424. The poem was not "suppressed," as it appears in the vol-
ume Des Vers (pp. 67-68), but some of the expressions censured have been
changed.

22 See below, pp. 28-31, 27.

23 Cf. Maynial, op. cit., p. 89; D. V., pp. 67-68.

24 Corr., IV, 392, 397-99-



PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP 5

scapes and characters are vividly conceived; the psychology is
"strong" ; Cornudet is "immense et vrai" ; the nun with the small-
pox marks on her face is "parfaite" ; the scene where Boule de
Suif weeps while Cornudet sings the "Marseillaise" is "sublime."
Then comes the minute reservation of the conscientious mentor :

Eh bien, precisement* parce que c'est raide de fond et embetant
pour les bourgeois, j'enleverais deux choses, qui ne sont pas mauvaises
du tout, mais qui peuvent faire crier les imbeciles, parce qu'elles ont

l'air de dire: "Moi je m'en f ": i° dans quelles f rises, etc., ce

jeune homme jette de la fange a nos armes; et 2° le mot tetons* Apres
quoi le gout le plus begueule n'aurait rien a vous reprocher [p. 398].

In a subsequent letter, after saying that he has re-read Boule de
Suif, Flaubert adds: "Tache d'en faire une douzaine comme ca!
et tu seras un homme!" 25 Such advice gives some ground for the
remark of Mme de Maupassant, quoted farther on, 26 that it was
Flaubert who wished to make a novelist of her son. 27 That the older
man personally knew the young Guy mainly as a writer of verses
and an aspirant for dramatic honors, especially the former, is true,
however, as one can gather from what Maynial says 28 and from
the comments in the letters. Maupassant tells us that he tried his
hand at all kinds of composition during his seven years' appren-
ticeship. 29 Verse writing nevertheless seems to have predominated.
His early fondness for this form may be, in part, a residue from
the influence of Bouilhet, under which he passed two years before
he knew Flaubert. 30 Maynial suggests also that verse came more
spontaneously than prose to Maupassant, and satisfied better than
prose the young writer's desire for immediate productiveness. 31
There is a certain tone of curiosity or of delighted surprise in
Flaubert's remarks on Boule de Suif which seems to indicate that
the pupil had exceeded the master's expectations, giving hints of
possibilities hardly suspected hitherto. Hence the advice to aim,
if possible, at persistence in the same type of performance. Mean-
while references to the verses continue. When the volume Des Vers
appears shortly after the publication of the Soirees de Medan,
Flaubert expresses his approval, 32 as he has done in the case of

25 Corr., IV, 426. 29 See below, p. 9.

26 See below, p. 7. ZQ -P.e.J.: «Le Roman*, p. xxii.

27 D. V., p. xxi ; Maynial, op. cit., p. 44. 31 Maynial, op. cit., p. 80.

28 Ibid., p. 80. 82 Corr., IV, 427.



6 FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT

Boule de Suif. What pleases him about this effort is that it is
"personal" and does not adopt the formula of any school. "Pas
de chic! pas de pose! ni parnassien, ni realiste (ou impressioniste,
ou naturaliste)." (Flaubert especially detested these modern shib-
boleths.) He wishes Maupassant to collect for him everything that
is published on Boule de Suif and on the verses. 83 In this we see
^^ the eager interest of the master in a favorite disciple.

We have given examples of Flaubert's specific criticism of
Maupassant; more general literary advice is not lacking. Guy
must not allow his mode of life to interfere with his art. A man
who aspires to the name of "artist" has no right to live as do
others ; his only principle must be the necessity of sacrificing every-
thing to art. He warns the young man also against brooding and
conjures him to work harder. "II faut,* entendez-vous, jeune
homme, il faut * travailler plus que ga. ... Vous etes ne pour faire
des vers, f aites-en !" 34

Another form of literary training probably not less important
than the above-mentioned, because it furnished the example to estab-
lish the precept, is emphasized by Maynial. 35 Flaubert associated
his pupil with himself in the composition of Bouvard et Pecuchet,
seeking from him precise information on many points and detailing
at length his own efforts toward accuracy and precision. For in-
stance, he needs for a particular episode in his story a certain kind of
hillside slope, and Maupassant must suggest to him a place near
Havre which will fulfil the requirements. 36 Or the young man
becomes the confidant of Flaubert's chagrin at M. Baudry's question-
ing of his botanical exactness. 37 Other examples of a like nature are
to be found in the Correspondance.

In letters from Flaubert to various persons during the later years
of his life there is frequent mention of Maupassant and of the young
man's mother, the former being often called "mon disciple," occa-
sionally "mon eleve." 38 These letters are sometimes written to help
the beginner in his prospects, or refer to Guy's doings and to the
writer's interest in him. 39

33 Corr., IV, 427. 35 Maynial, op. cit., pp. 68-69.

34 Corr., IV, 336. 8e Corr., IV, 313-15-
™ Corr., IV, 429%.

38 For example, Corr., V, 323, 421.

39 For example, Corr., IV, 384, 395-96; V, 445, 452, 455, etc.



PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP 7

Besides the letters of Flaubert there are several from Mme de
Maupassant and from her son to their common friend which give
evidence of the relationship between the two men. In the "Notes"
to the volume containing Flaubert's Theatre there is an epistle by
Mme de Maupassant in which she speaks of the friendship and says,
"Comme le disciple appartient au maitre !" 40 In the volume of Mau-
passant's verses there are some letters from his mother to Flaubert
in which she often mentions her two sons, refers to her anxiety
regarding Guy's future, asks for her old friend's advice and assis-
tance in the matter, thanks him for his kindness to the young man,
or assures him of the latter's affection. 41 In one place she speaks of
Flaubert's having called Guy his "fils adoptif " ; in another she says,
"C'est Flaubert qui voulut en faire un romancier." 42 The likeness to
the uncle, Alfred Le Poittevin, is referred to by her, 43 as well as by
Flaubert's mother in a short note preceding the selections from Mau-
passant's correspondence in the volume entitled Boule de Suif.^ In
the same volume are included some letters of Maupassant's to
Flaubert, 45 in which he generally addresses the latter as "mon cher
maitre" and speaks of missing their "causeries de chaque semaine." 46
He asks for advice or gives information regarding what he is writing
and recounts the events of his official life, his efforts to obtain a place
on the journals, the happenings about him, news of mutual friends.
In the other letters of Maupassant — letters to his mother and his
friends — there are various short personal references to Flaubert. 47
The last instance of this dates from a time after the latter's death
and reads as follows :

Je ne saurais vous dire combien je pense a Flaubert, il me hante et me
poursuit. Sa pensee me revient sans cesse, j'entends sa voix, je retrouve
ses gestes, je le vois a tout moment debout devant moi avec sa grande robe
brune, et ses bras leves en parlant. C'est comme une solitude qui s'est
faite autour de moi, le commencement des horribles separations qui se
continueront maintenant d'annee en annee, emportant tous les gens qu'on
aime, ou qui sont nos souvenirs, avec qui nous pouvions le mieux causer
des choses intimes. 48

40 Flaubert, Theatre, p. 515. 41 Z>. J 7 ., pp. ix-xxiii.

42 D. V., p. xxi ; Maynial, op. cit., p. 44 ; cf . above, p. 5.

43 D. V., pp. xi, xvi. 45 Ibid., pp. xcv-cxxiv.

44 B.d.S.: Corr., p. xciv. 46 Ibid., pp. xcv-cxiii, etc.
47 For example, B.d.S.: Corr., pp. cxxxv, cxli, cxliii-iv.

48 B.d.S.: Corr., pp. cxliii-iv.



->



8 FLAUBERT AND MAUPASSANT

We see in this passage how the very memory of Flaubert seems
to evoke the keen mental vision of individual characteristics which
the master advocated, 49 as well as to call forth the sense of isolation
and of the imminence of death which constantly overshadowed Mau-
passant's outlook on life. 50 It will be observed that the closing words
suggest a relationship of mental sympathy.

Also to be noted, from the point of view of the one author's influ-
ence on the other, are certain additional direct statements of Mau-
passant's. After the letter-preface to the verses there appeared, in
the third edition of the volume, a few lines on Flaubert's death, which
had occurred very shortly before. In them Maupassant pays the
following tribute to his friend :

Depuis que ce livre a paru (il y a un mois a peine) le merveilleux
ecrivain a qui il etait dedie est mort, Gustave Flaubert est mort.

Je ne veux point ici parler de cet homme de genie, que j' admire avec
passion, et dont je dirai plus tard la vie quotidienne, et la pensee familiere,
et le coeur exquis, et I 'admirable grandeur.

Mais, en tete de la nouvelle edition de ce volume «dont la dedicace
l'a fait pleurer,» m'ecrivait-il, car il m'aima aussi, je veux reproduire
la superbe lettre qu'il m'adressa pour defendre un de mes poemes : Au bord
de I'eau,* 61 contre le parquet d'Etampes qui m'attaquait.

Je fais cela comme un supreme hommage a ce mort, qui a emporte
assurement la plus vive tendresse que j'aurai pour un homme, la plus
grande admiration que je vouerai a un ecrivain, la veneration la plus
absolue que m'inspirera jamais un etre quel qu'il soit.

These paragraphs have been quoted because they show, especially
in the expressions italicized, the grateful affection and the extrava-
gant admiration with which Maupassant regarded Flaubert — an
affection and admiration which would lead naturally to the influ-
encing of the one writer by the other, even without the close connec-
tion of master and disciple which has been noted as existing between
them.

To the intimacy of this relationship Maupassant himself bears
witness in his article on "Le Roman," printed at the beginning of the
volume entitled Pierre et Jean. He tells how he ventured to submit
some of his attempts to Flaubert ; how the latter kindly read them

49 See below, pp. 25-26. 50 See below, p. 15.

81 Cf . on this point Maynial, op. cit., pp. 84-85, 89-96. There is some con-
fusion in the references to the poem.



PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP 9

and encouraged him to hope that time and work would reveal the
possession of talent by their author. For seven years thereafter the
master labored with the disciple. The story is told in Maupassant's
own words :

Pendant sept ans je fis des vers, je fis des contes, je fis des nouvelles,
je fis meme un drame detestable. II n'en est rien reste. Le maitre lisait
tout, puis le dimanche suivant, en dejeunant, developpait ses critiques
et enfongait en moi, peu a peu, deux ou trois principes qui sont le resume
de ses longs et patients enseignements. « Si on a une originalite. disait-il,
il faut avant tout la degager ; si on n'en a pas, il faut en acquerir une.» 52

We should take account of Maupassant's statement here that none


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