The author of the prize winning novel, Winds, Blow Gently, turns far from the Quaker background of his first book to an imaginary autobiographical sketch of the last years of de Maupassant. Through the device of letters, here are not the literary but the personal, or shall we say intimate, aspects of the artist recreated with focus on the sexual and syphilitic tortures he underwent, as he carried on ""madly with desire"" through a series of amours, realizing as he did so that his ""personal pleasures"" were endangering his life. Here too are the drugs to which he had recourse, and finally the swansong to love as he meets Helene d'Aramont, also diseased, and determined to revenge herself on man through the seduction of de Maupassant. This is as inexcusable a performance as has been perpetrated for some time. Neither the publisher's introduction, nor two of de Maupassant's stories included, offers justification.