Title

Goats and Ghosts: Maupassant's Le Horla

Subject Area

French and Francophone Studies

Abstract

Guy de Maupassant’s Le Horla has long been associated with the fantastic, notably as it was defined by Tzvetan Todorov in his Introduction à la littérature fantastique. Le Horla is a novella written as a personal diary with dated entries, which was later adapted to film in Vincent Price’s Diary of a Madman, wherein the narrator-protagonist is victimized by an unseen entity, the titular horla. Though this being is described as intelligent, we know very little of its origins, other than that which is filtered through the narrator who, by his own admission, is driven to madness. While the nature of the horla is something that draws in the reader, Le Horla as a story has two other, albeit brief, accounts which merit independent discussion as well as an examination of their role within novella. The first of these two tales is referred to as the legend du mont St. Michel and the second is a diary entry wherein the narrator writes of an unsettling hypnosis demonstration with his cousin. Together, these two accounts within Le Horla serve to give legitimacy to an otherwise impossible being and attribute vraisemblance to the supernatural creature, the horla.

Keywords

French, Supernatural, Short Story, 19th Century

Location

Morning Session 2 (PARB 255)

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

4-11-2019 10:45 AM

Embargo

1-25-2019

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Apr 11th, 10:45 AM

Goats and Ghosts: Maupassant's Le Horla

Morning Session 2 (PARB 255)

Guy de Maupassant’s Le Horla has long been associated with the fantastic, notably as it was defined by Tzvetan Todorov in his Introduction à la littérature fantastique. Le Horla is a novella written as a personal diary with dated entries, which was later adapted to film in Vincent Price’s Diary of a Madman, wherein the narrator-protagonist is victimized by an unseen entity, the titular horla. Though this being is described as intelligent, we know very little of its origins, other than that which is filtered through the narrator who, by his own admission, is driven to madness. While the nature of the horla is something that draws in the reader, Le Horla as a story has two other, albeit brief, accounts which merit independent discussion as well as an examination of their role within novella. The first of these two tales is referred to as the legend du mont St. Michel and the second is a diary entry wherein the narrator writes of an unsettling hypnosis demonstration with his cousin. Together, these two accounts within Le Horla serve to give legitimacy to an otherwise impossible being and attribute vraisemblance to the supernatural creature, the horla.