29 JANUARY 1927, Page 24

Current Literature

GUY DE MAUPASSANT : A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY. By Ernest Boyd. (Knopf. 21s.)—Mr. Boyd's new life of Maupassant shows a thorough knowledge of the subject, a 'sense of proportion and an attractive style. As Mr. Boyd has :translated and edited all Maupassant's writings, he ought to know his author. But it is rare and refreshing to find a biographer of Maupassant who admits that the novelist's work was most trnequal, that much of it is very second-rate, and that after the brilliance of his first three years, this :meteoric genius faded all too soon. Mr. Boyd rightly insists that from his youth up Maupassant was abnormal, and that, but for the strenuous discipline to which Flaubert subjected

• him, he might never have achieved such artistic triumphs. :The intoxication of success and the wild dissipation in which .he indulged were fatal to him. That terrible story of a man haunted by his invisible self, Le Horla, is a transcription of the unhappy author's own experience. He went mad at the age of forty-one, tried to kill himself, and died a year later. But he had long been hovering on the brink of insanity. Mr. Boyd is very frank in his narrative, without unduly

• emphasizing ugly details.