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On we sail

Julian Barnes: Maupassant, 5 November 2009

Afloat 
by Guy deMaupassant, translated by Douglas Parmée.
NYRB, 105 pp., £7.99, 1 59017 259 0
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Alien Hearts 
by Guy deMaupassant, translated by Richard Howard.
NYRB, 177 pp., £7.99, December 2009, 978 1 59017 260 5
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... One of the great examples of literary advice-giving took place in the summer of 1878. Guy deMaupassant was on the verge of becoming famous. As Flaubert’s literary nephew, and a member of the new group calling themselves Naturalists, he was already well known in Paris; three years previously, he had made his first appearance – as ‘le petit Maupassant’ – in the Goncourt Journal, delighting a company of already famous writers with a long story about Swinburne’s decadent behaviour in Etretat ...

Breath of Unreason

Megan Vaughan: Fanon’s Psychiatric Hospital, 31 July 2008

Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa 
by Richard Keller.
Chicago, 294 pp., £16, June 2007, 978 0 226 42973 1
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... In 1953, Frantz Fanon took over as director of the Hôpital Psychiatrique de Blida-Joinville in Algeria. It is said that Fanon’s first act on taking charge of this overcrowded colonial hospital, in which electroconvulsive therapy was liberally dispensed and lobotomies regularly performed, was to unchain the patients ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... lack the comforting apparatus of genre, the cosy familiarity of the structure in which the good guy chases the bad guy and the bad guy gets his just deserts. They are hard in other ways too: Simenon had a comfortless view of life and of human psychology, and in the romans durs that ...

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