In "The Unknown Masterpiece," a tale much admired by Cézanne and Picasso, a painter becomes obsessed with his search for utter perfection. In its masterly examination of the conflict between an artist's commitment to his work and his obligations to others, the story involves a theme particularly close to Balzac's heart. Two of the other stories explore the consequences of the quest for worldly wealth. Written in 1830 but set in France's Revolutionary period, "An Episode During the Terror" moves from a suspenseful beginning to a solemn tableau that contrasts material poverty with spiritual riches; in "Facino Cane" an old and destitute blind man recounts how his passion for gold led to his fall from grace. Included also are "The Revolutionary Conscript" and "A Passion in the Desert."
In their bold, distinctive portraits of French society during the 19th century, these tales offer a perfect introduction for readers unfamiliar with Balzac's work. This modestly priced edition will also appeal to those already acquainted with the author's much-imitated but unsurpassed style.
French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) was a founder of realism in European literature. An inspiration to Proust, Dickens, Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, and countless others, Balzac wrote works that were hailed for their multifaceted characters and exquisite attention to detail. This edition's excellent translation was the first to make Contes Drolatiques available to English-speaking readers.
Père Goriot — one of the outstanding novels in The Human Comedy, Balzac's panoramic study of Parisian life — features richly detailed settings, a skillfully related plot, and a vibrant cast of characters. Young Rastignac's acquaintance with the elderly widower Goriot, a formerly wealthy merchant impoverished by the demands of his fashionable daughters, lies at the heart of this story of love and greed. Acclaimed by critic Leslie Stephen as "the modern King Lear," Père Goriot offers a timeless view of the tragedies behind the prosaic details of everyday life.
Books shape our lives and transform the way we see ourselves and each other. The best books are timeless and continue to be relevant generation after generation. Vintage Classics asked the winners of The Orange Prize for Fiction which books they would pass onto the next generation and why. Rose Tremain chose Eugénie Grandet.
Monsieur Grandet is a very rich man whose chief care is his gold. He runs his household with exacting miserly attention and his wife and daughter suffer a Spartan existence. On the evening of his daughter Eugénie's twenty third birthday his foppish nephew Charles suddenly arrives from Paris. Eugénie has never known passion. Now, in an instant, she falls in love and her life is changed forever. Monsieur Grandet will not countenance his daughter's marriage to her penniless cousin and Eugénie's determination to follow her heart leads her into direct conflict with her father.
'This brilliant but devastatingly sad novel moved me so much, I began it again the moment I got to the end' Rose Tremain.
This book is published by Booklassic which brings young readers closer to classic literature globally.
Many people (among them Henry James) have considered Balzac to be the greatest of all novelists. Eugenie Grandet, his spare, classical story of a girl whose life is blighted by her father's hysterical greed, goes a long way to justifying that opinion. One of the most magnificent of his tales of early nineteenth-century French provincial life, this novel is the work of a writer on whom nothing was lost, and who represents most fully the ability of the human animal to understand and illuminate its own condition.
Translated By Ellen Marriage With An Introduction By Fredric R. Jameson
Fredric R. Jameson is William A. Lane, Jr. Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University in North Carolina. His publications include Sartre: The Origins of a Style, Signatures of the Visible, and Post-modernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, with Aesthetics of the Geopolitical forthcoming.
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
This vivid portrait of the underbelly of nineteenth-century Paris, exuberantly rendered by Jordan Stump, is the first major translation in more than a century of Balzac’s forgotten masterpiece L’Envers de l’histoire contemporaine. Featuring an illuminating Introduction by Adam Gopnik, this original Modern Library edition also includes explanatory notes.
From the Hardcover edition.
Balzac’s Contes Drolatiques, or Droll Stories, were originally published in three volumes in the 1830s. Set in medieval Europe, these stories were Balzac’s attempt to write in the great tradition of Rabelais and Boccaccio, to render the Middle Ages with a touch of raunchy humor, and to provide a delightful portrait of medieval France. Balzac took the old themes that had delighted his ancestors—the tales of faithless wives and confiding husbands, of monks incredibly endowed for amorous athleticism, of lusty wenches and adventurous lads, and of great bouts of eating and drinking.
Droll Stories has always been an essential part of Balzac’s work when published in French, but it has been excluded from the definitive English editions. This book presents all three volumes of this classic and enduring work.
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Along with Gustave Flaubert (whose work he influenced), Balzac is generally regarded as a founding father of realism in European literature. Balzac's novels, most of which are farcical comedies, feature a large cast of well-defined characters, and descriptions in exquisite detail of the scene of action.
An essentially simple tale about the struggle and triumph of innocence reviled, Ursule Mirouet is characterized by that wealth of penetrating observation so readily associated with Balzac's work. The twin themes of redemption and rebirth are illuminated by a consistently passionate rejection of both philosophic and practical materialism in favour of love. In this case love is aided by supernatural intervention, which itself effectively illustrates Balzac's life-long fascination with the occult.
This convenient dual-language volume includes six of Balzac's most highly regarded short stories: "An Episode During the Terror," a deftly told tale contrasting material poverty with spiritual riches; "A Passion in the Desert," inspired by Balzac's interest in the Near East and his fascination with Napoleon; "The Revolutionary Conscript," a critique of provincial life; "The Forsaken Woman," an intriguing study of female psychology and a how-to seduction manual; "The Unknown Masterpiece," which focuses on the conflict between an artist's commitment to his work and his relationship with the woman who loves him; and "Facino Cane," a tale of a destitute blind man's dreams of restoring his former wealth and power.
Stanley Appelbaum has provided excellent, line-for-line English translations of the text, as well as an informative introduction and notes related to each story. This superb selection of tales by one of the world's great writers of fiction is sure to delight students and devotees of French language and literature.
CHAPTER I. THE CHALET
At the beginning of October, 1829, Monsieur Simon Babylas Latournelle, notary, was walking up from Havre to Ingouville, arm in arm with his son and accompanied by his wife, at whose side the head clerk of the lawyer's office, a little hunchback named Jean Butscha, trotted along like a page. When these four personages (two of whom came the same way every evening) reached the elbow of the road where it turns back upon itself like those called in Italy "cornice," the notary looked about to see if any one could overhear him either from the terrace above or the path beneath, and when he spoke he lowered his voice as a further precaution.
"Exupere," he said to his son, "you must try to carry out intelligently a little manoeuvre which I shall explain to you, but you are not to ask the meaning of it; and if you guess the meaning I command you to toss it into that Styx which every lawyer and every man who expects to have a hand in the government of his country is bound to keep within him for the secrets of others. After you have paid your respects and compliments to Madame and Mademoiselle Mignon, to Monsieur and Madame Dumay, and to Monsieur Gobenheim if he is at the Chalet, and as soon as quiet is restored, Monsieur Dumay will take you aside; you are then to look attentively at Mademoiselle Modeste (yes, I am willing to allow it) during the whole time he is speaking to you. My worthy friend will ask you to go out and take a walk; at the end of an hour, that is, about nine o'clock, you are to come back in a great hurry; try to puff as if you were out of breath, and whisper in Monsieur Dumay's ear, quite low, but so that Mademoiselle Modeste is sure to overhear you, these words: 'The young man has come.'"