Pierre et Jean (II): Changing Places

  • Trevor A. Le V. Harris


This novel, Maupassant’s fourth, has always excited a positive critical response and for many readers is a perfect illustration of the precision and economy of his prose style. At the same time, these qualities of the prose have been placed at the disposal of a psychological analysis of considerable subtlety. Indeed, Sullivan, among others, see Pierre et Jean as a clear statement of Maupassant’s secession from Naturalism and a corresponding move towards the ‘psychological’ novel.1 It would not be an exaggeration to say that, in spite of its diminutive proportions, Pierre et Jean is deemed to be a great work, the brevity of the text belying the intricacy of the composition. This is a novel which is subtle without being cumbersome, complex but compact.


Moral Category Marital Infidelity Prose Style Narrative Sentence Interior Monologue 
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  1. 2.
    See M. Sachs, ‘The Meaning of Maupassant’s Pierre et Jean’, French Review, 34, no. 3 (Jan 1961) 244–50;Google Scholar
  2. E. M. Grant, ‘On the Meaning of Maupassant’s Pierre et Jean’, Trench Review,36, no. 5 (Apr 1963) 469–73;Google Scholar
  3. D. Freimanis, ‘More on the Meaning of Pierre et Jean’, Trench Review,38, no. 3 Jan 1965) 326–31.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    André Vial, Guy de Maupassant et l’art du roman (Paris: Nizet, 1954) p. 368.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    G. Hainsworth (ed.), Pierre et Jean (London: Harrap, 1966) p. 21.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    see Mary Donaldson-Evans, ‘The Sea as Symbol: A Key to the Structure of Maupassant’s Pierre et Jean’, Nottingham French Studies,17, no. 2 (Oct 1978) 36–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Trevor A. Le V. Harris 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor A. Le V. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesUniversity of SalfordUK

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