Honoré de Balzac
1) Père Goriot
4) Cousin Pons
There's no debate over the fact that philosophers and thinkers have profoundly shaped and influenced human civilization. But how does this transformation take place at the level of the individual? That's the fascinating issue that Honore de Balzac takes on in the novel Louis Lambert, which follows the title character—a precocious schoolboy—as he develops an intense interest in the thought of the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg....
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.
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.
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.
11) 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...
The novel A Distinguished Provincial at Paris is the second volume of Honore de Balzac's Lost Illusions trilogy. In it, Balzac masterfully revisits one of his most commonly called-upon themes: the harsh realization that someone who is distinguished and revered in their small hometown may be an invisible nonentity amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city.
13) Cousin Bette
14) 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?
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.
Honore de Balzac excelled at creating unforgettable characters, but most of his creations were works of pure fiction. Many critics have asserted that the novel Beatrix is a roman a clef depicting the life of the French memoirist George Sand, as well as the larger cultural shift from an era of genteel aristocracy and class stratification to a more democratic way of living.
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...
18) Eugenie Grandet
A daughter inherits her father's miserliness, which stifles her relationship with her cousin, making love an unsatisfying experience. As with Balzac's other work, his characters in Eugenie Grandet are fully and realistically portrayed. Balzac began to conceive his great work The Human Comedy whilst writing this novel, and the characters herein are reworked in his comedy.
19) Maitre Cornelius
Set in the fifteenth century, Maitre Cornelius is a gripping historical novel that illustrates the unbelievable lengths to which some will go in the name of love. Marie, the daughter of the king, is trapped in a loveless marriage with a cruel, violent man. To escape her horrible home life, she begins spending time with a young man named Georges d'Estoutville, who decides to free her from her dangerous marriage via a daring rescue attempt....
Balzac's La Comedie Humaine was a story cycle comprising more than 100 novels and stories. Although most of these works are set in nineteenth-century France, several hearken back to earlier periods. Catherine de' Medici centers on the life of the woman born into an aristocratic family in medieval Italy who went on to become Queen consort and, later, regent of France.