Bel-Ami is a realistic novel by Guy de Maupassant published in 1885 as a series in Gil Blas and set in Paris in the 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution.
This novel retraces the social rise of Georges Duroy, an ambitious and seductive man (pushy - opportunist), employed at the office of the Northern Railways, who reached the top of the Parisian social pyramid thanks to his mistresses and journalism. Against a backdrop of colonial politics, Maupassant describes the close links between capitalism, politics, the press but also the influence of women, deprived of political life since the Napoleonic Code and who work in the background to educate and advise. The themes are eternal: sex, money and power. The work is presented as a small monograph of the Parisian press insofar as Maupassant implicitly shares his experience as a reporter. Thus Georges Duroy's ascent can be an allegory of Maupassant's own ascent.