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Honoré de Balzac

  • Modeste Mignon | Honoré de Balzac

    Modeste Mignon, a young provincial woman of romantic temperament, imagines herself to be in love with the famous Parisian poet Melchior de Canalis. However, he is not moved by her attentions. He invites his secretary Ernest de la Brière to "deal with the matter". Ernest answers Modeste's letters...

  • The Girl with the Golden Eyes | Honoré de Balzac

    "Give me a feast such as men give when they love," she said, "and whilst I sleep, slay me..."

    Listeners who like to plunge straight into a story would do well to skip the lengthy preamble. Here, Balzac the virtuoso satirist depicts the levels of Parisian society as a version of the...

  • Sarrasine | Honoré de Balzac

    This tale follows the undulating pathways of Sarrasine the sculptor’s shocking journey to his coming of age. As one of the “fathers of realism” Balzac painted with his words a vivid portrait of life in the swirling salons of Europe at the end of the Bourbon monarchy, and we follow Sarrasine from...

  • Farewell | Honoré de Balzac

    In his startling and tragic novella Farewell, Balzac adds to the 19th century’s literature of the hysterical woman: sequestered, confined in her madness; mute, or eerily chanting in her moated grange. The first Mrs Rochester lurks in the wings; the Lady of Shalott waits for the shadowy...

  • Catherine De Medici | Honoré de Balzac

    The Philosophical Studies from The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine) are a series of works that are intended as a reflection on history in part through the use of fiction. 'Catherine de Medici' is one such 'study', and features, alongside detailed history (and even architectural) sections,...

  • A Distinguished Provincial at Paris | Honoré de Balzac

    A Distinguished Provincial at Paris is the second book in Balzac’s Lost Illusions trilogy, which is part of his sweeping set of novels collectively titled La Comédie Humaine. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France, when the new bourgeoisie was jostling for position alongside the old...

  • The Elixir of Life | Honoré de Balzac

    Grand Duke Bartolommeo Belvidero is ninty years old and living in the princely palace at Ferrara, Italy, with the young and handsome Don Juan Belvidero, the son of his old age. Don Juan occupies the lively rooms of the palace and fills it with lovely women resplendent in gems and luxurious...

  • Cousin Pons | Honoré de Balzac

    Cousin Pons is one of the final works in Balzac's long novel series titled The Human Comedy. Along with Cousin Betty, as one of a complementary pair of novels, collectively titled Poor Relations. While Cousin Betty tells the story of a bitter woman who seeks revenge on her wealthier relations,...

  • The Vicar of Tours | Honoré de Balzac

    Over twenty years before Anthony Trollope wrote The Warden, in which the gentle but unfortunate Rev. Septimus Harding becomes the prey of an investigative journalist, in 1831 Balzac published his Vicar of Tours. There too, a mild-mannered priest becomes the prey of powerful enemies,...

  • Eve and David | Honoré de Balzac

    Ève and David is the final book in Balzac’s Lost Illusions trilogy, which is part of his sweeping set of novels collectively titled La Comédie Humaine. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France. In the first volume of the trilogy, we meet Lucien Chardon, an aspiring poet frustrated by the...

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