2017年8月5日 星期六

Maupassant’s “The Necklace” , Boule de Suif

Butterball by Guy de Maupassant

I’ve been on a roll lately with Maupassant, and when I saw this Hesperus edition of Butterball, a collection of Maupassant stories sitting on my shelf, well I just couldn’t resist. This edition is translated by Andrew Brown and includes a foreword by Germaine Greer. There are six Maupassant stories here:
Butterball (sometimes known as Boule de Soif), The ConfessionFirst SnowRoseThe Dowry and Bed 29. For me, the best stories were Butterball and Bed 29. While all 6 stories show tremendous empathy for the lot of women (from the high-born to the lowly peasant girl), both Butterball and Bed 29 are stories that take place during the Franco-Prussian war and very specifically examine the fate of prostitutes.
When Butterball begins, the French army has beaten an ignoble retreat and the civilian population is left to face the invading Prussians. The civilians, for the most part, have more or less minded their own business while war waged around them. Now the “debris” of the French army is gone, and the citizens of Rouen wonder–with some trepidation–just what their fate will be when the Prussians arrive. In one passage, Maupassant compares the invading army to some natural disaster:
“Commands, shouted out in an unknown guttural tongue, rose along the houses which seemed dead and deserted, while from behind the closed shutters, eyes peeped out at these victorious men, masters of the city, of the fortunes and lives in it, by ‘right of conquest’. The inhabitants in their darkened rooms were struck by the panic induced by natural cataclysms, by those murderous upheavals of the earth, against which all wisdom and all strength are useless. For the same sensation reappears each time that the established order of things is overturned, when security no longer exists and all that was protected by the laws of men or those of nature finds itself at the mercy of a fierce and mindless brutality. The earthquake that crushes an entire populace beneath their collapsing houses; the overflowing river which rolls along in its torrent drowned peasants with the carcasses of cattle and the beams torn from rooftops; or the glorious army massacring those who put up any resistance, leading the others away as prisoners, pillaging in the name of the sabre and giving thanks to a god with the sound of the cannon – all are so many terrible scourges which confound any belief in eternal justice, any trust that we have learnt to place in Heaven’s protection and man’s reason.”
A handful of Rouen residents are granted permission to leave the city, and so early one morning a stagecoach prepares for departure. Most of the passengers are leaving for business reasons but they are fully prepared to flee to England if necessary. The passengers are people who would normally not socialize: wine merchants M. and Mme Loiseau, an extremely affluent mill owner and his wife M. and Mme Carre-Lamadon,  the aristocratic Count and Countess Hubert, two nuns, a rather odd character called Cornudet and a prostitute whose “precocious corpulence … earned her the nickname of Butterball.”
“She was small, round all over, as fat as lard, with puffed-up fingers congested at the joints so they looked like strings of short sausages; with a glossy, taut skin, and a huge and prominent bosom straining out from beneath her dress.”
The so-called respectable passengers are of course disgusted to find themselves sharing the same coach with such a  creature. At first, their collective outrage at being forced to share the same air as Butterball causes the passengers to attempt to be friendly with one another while pointedly cutting Butterball out of the social loop. But then the trip winds on, it’s freezing cold and no one has thought to bring any food along for the trip–no one except Butterball. Obviously a woman who loves food, Butterball is very well prepared and her picnic basket breaks down the social barriers that seemed unbreachable.
The coach stops at an inn, and there a young Prussian officer refuses to let the travellers continue on their journey until Butterball grants him her favours. While Butterball, a committed Bonapartist declines, claiming her patriotism to France, the passengers become increasingly annoyed with her. Their logic is that after all, she wouldn’t be doing anything she hasn’t done thousands of times before….

羊脂球(法語:Boule de Suif,英語:Butterball),或譯為脂肪球,世界文學名著,法國文學家莫泊桑的短篇小說代表作,福樓拜稱之為「可以流傳於世的傑作」。
Maupassant’s early story “Boule de Suif,” from 1880, remains a hallmark and a natural starting point.

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Short Stories: The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant - East of the Web


She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. ... She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury. She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly ...

亨利-侯內-亞伯特-居伊·德·莫泊桑法語:Henry-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant法語:[ɡid(ə) mopasɑ̃],1850年8月5日-1893年7月6日),法國作家,作品以短篇小說為主,被譽為「短篇小說之王」,作品有《羊脂球》等。



  • 《月光》
  • 《米龍老爹》
  • 《兩個朋友》
  • 《女瘋子》
  • 《菲菲小姐》
  • 《瓦爾特·施納夫斯奇遇記》
  • 《一場決鬥》
  • 羊脂球(莫泊桑最優秀的作品之一)
  • 《隆多利姊妹》
  • 項鍊
  • 《我的叔叔于勒》(莫泊桑最優秀的作品之一)
  • 一個農場女傭的故事
  • 《一家子 (小說)》
  • 《西蒙的爸爸》
  • 《修軟椅的女人》
  • 《一個諾曼底人》
  • 《一個兒子》
  • 《珠寶》
  • 《一封信》


  • 一生》(1883年)
  • 漂亮朋友》(1885年)
  • 《溫泉 》(1886年)
  • 《皮埃爾與若望》(1888年)
  • 《如死一般強》(1889年)
  • 《我們的心》(1890年)

都德是我国知名度最高的法国作家之一,其《最后一课》和《磨坊文札》在我国可谓是脍炙人口 ...