Honore de Balzac
1) Cousin Bette
Eugénie Grandet is a 1833 novel by Honoré de Balzac about miserliness, and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter, Eugénie, through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac, all the characters in the novel are fully realized. Balzac conceived his grand project, The Human Comedy, while writing Eugénie Grandet and incorporated it into the Comédie by revising the names of some...
3) Facino Cane
The short story Facino Cane has been categorized as both a "Philosophical Study" and a "Scene of Paris Life" in various editions of French writer Honore de Balzac's sprawling series The Human Comedy. The narrator is attending a wedding and takes an interest in one of the musicians performing at the event, an elderly blind man with a compellingly wizened visage. After being prompted, the musician, named Marco-Facino Cane, spills his...
In this novella from Honore de Balzac, the skilled artisan Palafox Gazonal arrives in Paris to settle some important business and perhaps make a splash in the city's thriving art scene. However, Gazonal is used to the slower-paced life in the provinces and finds himself confused—and even disgusted—with some of the customs and practices that are commonplace in Paris. It's another of Balzac's insightful analyses of the artist and his...
This novella is part of the Scenes from Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's sprawling story cycle The Human Comedy. Trapped in a maddeningly frustrating love triangle and unable to express his true feelings to his beloved, protagonist Paz invents an imaginary mistress to use as an excuse for his lovesickness and increasing alienation from his group of friends.
6) The Recruit
This gripping short story from master of French realism Honore de Balzac packs an emotional wallop and has a twist ending you won't be able to forget. The mother of a French soldier receives word that her son be paying her a visit. Though overjoyed at the news, she begins to fret about his safety on the trip home. Will her fears prove to be accurate?
If you like your tales of tragic love to come with a stiff dose of historical realism, get ready to savor this classic from French writer Honore de Balzac. The Lily of the Valley tells the tale of star-crossed lovers Felix de Vandenesse and Henriette de Mortsauf. Will social conventions keep them apart, or will they say goodbye to the trappings of the French aristocracy to live together? Pick up this must-read romance to find out.
Regarded by many critics as one of Honore de Balzac's foremost literary achievements, the novel The Alkahest offers an incisive look at the dangers of obsession. Scientist Balthazar Claes begins his research into alchemical properties with the best of intentions, but before long, he begins to neglect everything else in his life.
This collection brings together two short stories, one from the father of French realism, Honore de Balzac, the other from Russian writer Alexander Amphiteatrof. Both of the tales are related to Napoleon in some way, examining the impact of the famed leader's exploits on the national cultures of the French and the Russians.
This diptych is part of Honore de Balzac's epic masterpiece, The Human Comedy. It comprises two stories, Cousin Betty and Cousin Pons, each of which delve deeply into complicated family dynamics and the long-lasting impact of seemingly trivial conflicts.
This collection of loosely interwoven tales puts the unique talents of French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac on full display. In each, Balzac delves deeply into the eccentric characters and quaint customs of small villages whose ways of life are rapidly changing as the social and political climate of the nineteenth century begins to evolve.
Set among the sprawling vineyards of France's Loire Valley, Balzac's novel Parisians in the Country follows the life of one Dinah Piedefer, a beautiful and talented young woman who finds herself trapped in a not-so-perfect marriage. Though she is initially content, she gradually begins to bristle against the constraints of her union and the provincial shabbiness of her lifestyle.
The novella Gambara is part of the Philosophical Studies section of Honore de Balzac's The Human Comedy. It follows a tumultuous relationship between Italian nobleman Andrea Marcosini and the beautiful, young Marianna. She happens to be married to a mercurial, much older composer, who some believe is a genius and others regard as an abject failure.
Today, French writer Honore de Balzac is best remembered for The Human Comedy, a sprawling story cycle in which he attempted—and some would argue, succeeded—to capture the ebb and flow of everyday life in nineteenth-century Europe. But Balzac was an intrepid literary experimenter, and his prolific output encompassed every form and genre. The Resources of Quinola is a drama set in the Spanish Inquisition.
This section of The Human Comdedy, the multi-volume series of stories, tales, and essays that comprised most Honore de Balzac's life's work, focuses on love and marriage as they existed in early nineteenth-century Europe. An eclectic collection of essays, satirical observations, short tales, and character sketches, this unique excerpt is an interesting introduction to Balzac's writing.
Part of Honore de Balzac's sprawling epic The Human Comedy, the novella The Commission in Lunacy focuses on the story of a bachelor who feels his youth rapidly slipping away and tries to renew his sense of vigor and fulfillment through various means. He crosses paths with the beguiling Madame d'Espard and soon finds himself caught up in a nefarious scheme.
17) The Message
In this short story, a pleasant afternoon carriage ride lends itself to philosophical chitchat between two passengers, who muse together about the nature of life and love. When tragedy suddenly strikes, one of the young men finds himself promising to carry out a potentially awkward mission, but he keeps his word—and learns a few lessons in the process.
One of the key themes that is woven throughout Balzac's masterpiece, The Human Comedy, relates to the dangers of materialism and greed. In this novella, the narrator overhears some fellow diners discussing a complicated financial scheme that contributed to the fortunes of one of the wealthiest families in the country. The story also provides important background information about many characters who appear elsewhere in The Human Comedy....
Father Goriot is one of French novelist Honore de Balzac's most important pieces of writing. Three lives intertwine in Paris: an old man, a criminal and a law student. The novel evokes an unstable period in France, when many were desperate to climb the social ladder into the upper classes, and it questions social institutions such as marriage. The city is an important presence in this work. Balzac was both praised and censured for his realistic...
An extract from Honore de Balzac's sweeping novel cycle The Human Comedy, Gobseck is a novella that recounts the social ascendancy of young Anastasie de Restaud. Born into a wealthy family, Anastasie marries into aristocracy, but soon grows weary of the arcane rituals of her new lifestyle—not to mention her lack of feelings toward her husband. Seeking passion, she makes several bold decisions and quickly finds herself on the...