Boule de Suif, translated variously as Dumpling, Butterball, Ball of Fat, or Ball of Lard, is a famous short story by the late 19th-century French writer Guy de Maupassant, first published on 15/16 April 1880. It is arguably his most famous short story and is the title story for his collection on the Franco-Prussian War, titled Boule de Suif et Autres Contes de la Guerre (Dumpling and Other Stories of the War).
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a 19th-century French author, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the Naturalist school, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms. Maupassant was a protégé of Gustave Flaubert and his stories are characterized by economy of style and efficient, seemingly effortless dénouements. Many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s, describing the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught up in events beyond their control, are permanently changed by their experiences. He wrote 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. His first published story, “Boule de Suif” (“The Dumpling”, 1880), is often considered his masterpiece.
Translated by Albert M.C.
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