Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Horla

July 6, 1893- French author Guy de Maupassant died in an asylum in Paris at the age of 43. GdM (as I'll call him here) wrote a great deal in his short life- 300 short stories and six novels among other things. You may have read one of his short stories in school. I read "The Necklace" in middle school and never forgot it.

GdM influenced many writers and often wrote about the cruelty and madness of mankind. He lived in a period where psychology was being studied and taken seriously for the first time and wrote several haunting stories that dealt more with the workings (or failures) of the inner-mind rather than outside supernatural beings. It doesn't make them any less spooky.

His most famous horror story is "The Horla."  Written in journal form it describes the breakdown of a man who believes that his life is being sucked out of him by an invisible creature. I read it recently during daylight hours and felt the need to look over my shoulder a few times. Some have said that "The Horla" inspired Lovecraft's Chthulu.

There are several collections of GdM's more supernatural stories available including The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Guy de Maupassant: Volume 1 and The Dark Side: Tales of Terror and the Supernatural by Guy de Maupassant. However, before you run full steam ahead, I suggested you start with The Horla which you can read online for free. There are several free editions online, but after starting and stopping on several I chose the linked one above. Don't forget the GdM wrote in French and we are reading translations. Some are good translations and some are not so good. Be aware that the link above actually provides you with three different versions of "The Horla" that GdM wrote. He like the story too.

If you're not so much into reading these days (tsk, tsk) you could always watch the Hollywood version of "The Horla" called Diary of a Madman (1963) with Vincent Price. Actually you should do both. Read the story and then watch the movie. If you're really, really, really looking for extra points head over to Vimeo for a 1993 opera of The Horla by Peter Morse. Let's just say it's interesting and you must watch at least watch 15 minutes of it, preferably after a strong cocktail, to receive credit.

Once you've completed all of the above, you're going to need this Guy de Maupassant doll by Uneek Doll Designs.
Guy de Maupassant by Uneek Doll Designs
Unless I get him first.

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