Оноре де Бальзак

Список книг автора Оноре де Бальзак


    The Black Sheep

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    Listed by the British newspaper «The Guardian» as number 12 on a list of the 100 greatest novels of all-time, Honore de Balzac's «The Black Sheep» is another installment in his magnum opus «The Human Comedy.» Agathe Rouget, who is born in Issoudun, is sent to be raised by her maternal relatives, the Descoings in Paris by her father Doctor Rouget. Agathe has two sons, Philippe and Joseph, with which the story is principally concerned. Philippe becomes a soldier in Napoleon's armies, while Joseph becomes an artist. Philippe, who is ironically his mother's favorite, is a hard drinker with a gambling problem that brings trouble to the family. The differences between the two brothers are brilliantly contrasted by Balzac as their true natures are revealed throughout the course of the work. As in the rest of «The Human Comedy» Balzac criticizes the value that is placed on wealth and beautifully illustrates the conflict that arises out of the ambition to achieve a place in the aristocratic society of France.

    A Harlot High and Low

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    Originally published between 1838-1847 «A Harlot High and Low» continues the story of Lucien de Rubempré from Honore de Balzac's preceding novel «Lost Illusions.» Central to the tale is the pact made between Lucien and Vautrin in which Lucien will arrive at success in Paris if he agrees to follow Vautrin's instructions on how to do so. A love affair between the beautiful Esther van Gobseck and Lucien creates a conflict for their plans of bringing Lucien to his desired exaltation though. When Vautrin realizes that wealthy Baron de Nucingen has fallen in love with Esther he conspires to use the Baron's affection with Esther to help advance Lucien. What follows is a series of tragic consequences. Another chapter in Balzac's magnum opus, «The Human Comedy,» «A Harlot High and Low» is at once a biting commentary of French aristocratic society and examination of the criminal underworld in which Vautrin is so very well at home.

    The Wild Ass's Skin

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    "The Wild Ass's Skin" is Honoré de Balzac's 1831 novel that tells the story of a young man, Raphaël de Valentin, who discovers a piece of shagreen, in this case a rough untanned piece of a wild ass's skin, which has the magical property of granting wishes. However the fulfillment of the wisher's desire comes at a cost, after each wish the skin shrinks a little bit and consumes the physical energy of the wisher. «The Wild Ass's Skin» is at once both a work of incredible realism, in the descriptions of Parisian life and culture at the time, and also a work of supernatural fantasy, in the desires that are fulfilled by the wild ass's skin. Balzac uses this fantastical device masterfully to depict the complexity of the human nature in civilized society.

    Lost Illusions

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    Perhaps the most famous of Balzac's novels, «Lost Illusions» paints a faithful picture of the spectacular but superficial world of contemporary society, and the indissoluble relationship between the bourgeois and aristocratic classes. Set in nineteenth century France, David Séchard is an innovative, hard-working young printer from Angoulême with aspirations to revolutionize the production of paper and provide for his new family. The victim of a callous father and unscrupulous competitors, David finds himself in constant turmoil from the reckless exploits of his friend and brother-in-law, Lucien Chardon. Lucien, a vain and naïve young poet, is drawn away to Paris as a result of a scandalous affair, where his impetuous actions wreak havoc for many back home. Follow the intertwined stories of these two men in a novel that exemplifies the eternal battles of love, ambition, greed, loyalty, vanity, and betrayal.

    Cousin Bette

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    "Cousin Bette" by Honore de Balzac is generally considered to be the writer's most famous novels, his last great work before his death. It is a classic novel of revenge, passion, and vices. Along with her friend Valérie, the title character Bette strategizes for the overwhelming destruction of men in general and her cousin-in-law Baron Hector Hulot specifically. Hulot sacrifices his family and fortune on a series of extramarital seductions, and when he becomes interested in Valérie, she and Bette concoct a plan that will cost the Hulot family their happiness. Bette's actions lead her entire family to self-destruct due to her insatiable rage and manipulative tactics. Balancing the immoral characters is the virtuous Adeline, Hulot's wife. Her moral nature and forgiving personality give the dysfunctional family a touch of decency. The story examines the typical moralistic themes that are mirrored in Balzac's earlier works. Also present are Balzac's uncensored opinions and depictions of society, contrasted with the stereotypes of men and women during the high points of French culture during the 19th century. Critics also praise the novel for its realism and use of historical content and accuracy. Some even consider it the original naturalist text, saying that the society and environment has a direct effect in shaping human character.

    The Unknown Masterpiece and Other Stories

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    One of the fathers of Realism was the famed 19th century French writer Honore de Balzac. His works are best known for their shrewd, yet honest, interpretation of real life problems within the social classes of French society. He believed that explaining a character would not inform the reader about the character's personality; however, describing their home, possessions, and other details would tell the reader about the character's true nature. With that in mind, he wanted to mold his characters to be as realistic as possible. He did not rely on outdated tropes and stereotypes. His characters were neither wholly good nor wholly evil. Instead, they were motivated by their own personal interests and believed that they were truly doing the right thing. The most famous set of stories that he wrote are known as «La Comedie Humaine,» or «The Human Comedy.» The tales follow various characters throughout their lives in France. The story «The Unknown Masterpiece» is the tale of a painter looking for a model for his upcoming masterpiece. When the man finally finds a suitable woman to serve as the subject, he completes the painting almost immediately. Yet it is impossible to distinguish whether the painter is a genius or just mad, as the painting is only of a foot amidst a swirl of colors. Readers will be both entertained and informed by this and other tales in this collection of Balzac's stories.

    Lost Illusions

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    One of the most famous of Honore de Balzac’s novels, “Lost Illusions” paints a faithful picture of the spectacular but superficial world of mid-19th century French society, and the indissoluble relationship between the bourgeois and aristocratic classes. Originally published serially from 1837 to 1843, the story features the main characters Lucien Chardon, a vain and naïve poet and journalist, and his friend and brother-in-law David Sechard, an innovative, hard-working young printer from the provincial Angouleme, with aspirations to revolutionize the production of paper and provide for his new family. The victim of a callous father and unscrupulous competitors, David finds himself in constant turmoil from the reckless exploits and betrayals of his friend Lucien. Lucien, in contrast, is full of grand dreams and aspirations and must leave for Paris as the result of a scandalous affair. He seeks fame and fortune in the city as a poet, while his impetuous actions wreak havoc for many at home. Readers will be drawn to the intertwined stories of these two men in a novel that exemplifies the eternal battles of love, ambition, greed, loyalty, vanity, and betrayal. This edition follows the translation of Ellen Marriage and includes a biographical afterword.

    Pere Goriot (Translated by Ellen Marriage with an Introduction by R. L. Sanderson)

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    Considered to be one of Balzac’s most important works, “Pere Goriot” is the story of its title character Jean-Joachim Goriot, a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin, and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac. We are introduced to the characters at Maison Vauquer, a boarding house owned by the widow Madame Vauquer. Central to the theme of the book is the struggle to achieve upper-class status in society. Rastignac is eager to achieve this upper-class standing but is unfamiliar to the ways of Parisian society. Vautrin tries to convince Rastignac to pursue an unmarried woman named Victorine, a dubious suggestion which involves the disposal of her brother who blocks access to the woman’s fortune. The failings to achieve this upper-class status are exemplified by Goriot who has bankrupted himself in supporting his two well-married daughters, who despite the fact reject him. A classic and tragic story, “Pere Goriot” is one of the most pivotal works in Balzac’s sweeping novel sequence “La Comedie Humaine”, which endeavors to depict the social panoramic of the human condition. This edition follows the translation of Ellen Marriage, includes an introduction by R. L. Sanderson, and a biographical afterword.

    Cousin Bette

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    Honore de Balzac “Cousin Bette” is generally considered to be one of the writer’s most famous novels, his last great work before his death. It is a classic novel of revenge, passion, and vices. Along with her friend Valérie, the title character Bette strategizes for the overwhelming destruction of men in general and her cousin-in-law Baron Hector Hulot specifically. Hulot sacrifices his family and fortune on a series of extramarital seductions, and when he becomes interested in Valérie, she and Bette concoct a plan that will cost the Hulot family their happiness. Bette’s actions lead her entire family to self-destruct due to her insatiable rage and manipulative tactics. Balancing the immoral characters is the virtuous Adeline, Hulot’s wife. Her moral nature and forgiving personality give the dysfunctional family a touch of decency. The story examines the typical moralistic themes that are mirrored in Balzac’s earlier works. Also present are Balzac’s uncensored opinions and depictions of society, contrasted with the stereotypes of men and women during the high points of French culture during the 19th century. Critics also praise the novel for its realism and use of historical content and accuracy. This edition follows the translation of Ellen Marriage, pseudonymously as James Waring, and includes a biographical afterword.

    Eugénie Grandet

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    Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) produced a huge collection of novels, novellas and short stories, earning him recognition as a great master of the novel, as well as one of the creators of literary realism. He collected and arranged his works under the name «La Comédie humaine», which he then divided into eight major topics. «Eugénie Grandet» was placed in the section titled, «Scenes from Provincial Life». The story takes place in the French town of Saumur, where a miserly, but respected, man called old Grandet lives with his wife, servant, and daughter, Eugénie. Greedy and power-hungry, Grandet is a dominant force in the novel, as he is in his community and home. Unable to entirely overcome the genetic and learned behaviors inherited from her father, Eugénie Grandet is a wonderfully human character, and her ability to draw sympathy without imposing judgments on the reader is testimony to Balzac's artistic skill as a novelist.