The Misfit of the Family is a compelling argument that Balzac must be taken seriously as a major inventor and purveyor of new tools for analyzing connections between the sexual and the social. Lucey’s account of the novelist’s deployment of "sexual misfits" to impel a wide range of his most canonical works—Cousin Pons, Cousin Bette, Eugenie Grandet, Lost Illusions, The Girl with the Golden Eyes—demonstrates how even the flexible umbrella term "queer" barely covers the enormous diversity of erotic and social behaviors of his characters. Lucey draws on the thinking of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu and engages the work of critics of nineteenth-century French fiction, including Naomi Schor, D. A. Miller, Franco Moretti, and others. His reflections on Proust as Balzac’s most cannily attentive reader suggest how the lines of social and erotic force he locates in Balzac’s work continued to manifest themselves in twentieth-century writing and society.
Michael Lucey is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Gide’s Bent: Sexuality, Politics, Writing.
Considering novels along with journalism, theatrical performances, correspondences, and face-to-face encounters, Lucey focuses on the interlocking social and formal dimensions of using the first person. He argues for understanding the first person not just as a grammatical category but also as a collectively produced social artifact, demonstrating that Proust’s, Gide’s, and Colette’s use of the first person involved a social process of assuming the authority to speak about certain issues, or on behalf of certain people. Lucey reveals these three writers as both practitioners and theorists of the first person; he traces how, when they figured themselves or other first persons in certain statements regarding same-sex identity, they self-consciously called attention to the creative effort involved in doing so.
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed Edmond Dantès spends fourteen bitter years imprisoned in the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsive for his incarceration. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dungeon all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo. Inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, The Count of Monte Cristo was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, and has been a fixture of western literature ever since, the subject of countless film and TV adaptations.
Robin Buss' lively translation is complete and unabridged, and remains faithful to the style of Dumas' original. This edition also includes an introduction, explanatory notes, a new chronology and updated suggestions for further reading.
'What makes The Count Of Monte Cristo such a superior story is that revenge is not the only emotion driving the plot ... it is an almost perfect story - also in the mix are love, friendship, jealousy, faith, education, snobbery and class' Sunday Express