A sigh for sly, awry Guy

THE INSANITY OF GENIUS

Poor Guy de Maupassant, the foremost living realistic romancist of the French school. One would fain hope that the hand that turned aside the strain to which De Maupassant subjected his brain during the past ten days, others as the result of a strange accident which befell him about a year ago, when a heavy volume from a shelf above him landed on the back of his neck, while he was searching a book of reference. The blow caused a slight attack of paralysis, which soon passed away, leaving the novelist too eager to resume his abnormal literary activity. His brother, about this time died insane after a short illness, and this sad experience, it is stated, seriously affected his sensitive nature. The incident may have help him develop latent germs of the dread disease in the excitable romanticist’s over-taxed brain. He is, though, young and strong, and the doctors hold out hope of an ultimate cure.

THE INSANITY OF GENIUS. (1892, March 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918)

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226163409

  • In 1868, when he was eighteen, De Maupassant saved the life of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, rescuing the latter from drowning off the coast of Etretat.
  • He suffered from syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that he contracted in his youth.
  • He suffered from mental problems and tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat in 1892. He was later admitted into a private mental institute, Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris.
  • De Maupassant didn’t know at the time that syphilis infected the brain and caused paralysis alongside mental disintegration. He is quoted as recklessly saying:

“I can screw street whores now and say to them ‘I’ve got the pox.’ They are afraid and I just laugh”,

  • But then he died 15 years later in an asylum howling like a dog and planting twigs as baby Maupassants in the garden.
  • This acclaimed French short story writer and novelist was one among 46 Parisian literary and artistic people, who wrote a letter to the Minister of Public Works in Paris in protest of the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

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