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Farewell

Honoré de Balzac

Book Overview: 

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 reflection of the world outside to shatter her illusion. Freud’s earliest patients will soon enter the waiting-room in their turn.

Whilst out hunting two friends come across a strange waif-like woman shut up in a decaying chateau which one of them dubs “the Palace of the Sleeping Beauty”. Soon we are dragged back to the terrible masculine reality of the 1812 retreat of Napoleon’s army from Moscow and the grotesque massacre that was to traumatize the heroine, parting her from her lover.

Their reunion is more desperate still, as the earlier event is recreated in a bizarre and vain attempt to root out madness and compel the return of happiness…

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .able a being could be called a woman, sprang up from the bushes, and pulled at the cord about the cow's neck. From beneath the crimson handkerchief about the woman's head, fair matted hair escaped, something as tow hangs about a spindle. She wore no kerchief at the throat. A coarse black-and-gray striped woolen petticoat, too short by several inches, left her legs bare. She might have belonged to some tribe of Redskins in Fenimore Cooper's novels; for her neck, arms, and ankles looked as if they had been painted brick-red. There was no spark of intelligence in her featureless face; her pale, bluish eyes looked out dull and expressionless from beneath the eyebrows with one or two straggling white hairs on them. Her teeth were prominent and uneven, but white as a dog's.

"Hallo, good woman," called M. de Sucy.

She came slowly up to the railing, and stared at the two sportsmen with a contorted smile painful to see.

"Where are we? What is the . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A veces uno no mide el verdadero impacto de lo que lee hasta que se involucra totalmente con el texto. El hecho de tener que analizarlo para un examen fue increíble, porque me ayudó a ver cosas a las que no les había prestado atención hasta que volví a leerlo. Dejando de lado mi experiencia perso...more

Seems to me that French fiction of a certain period has certain standard characteristics- detailed drawn-out descriptions, Emotional-ity (if there is such a word)/sentimentality, a focus on character's psychology and yet an ability to hold interest and captivate. I have found this most of all in...more

Publicado em 1830, faz parte dos Estudos Filosóficos dentro da Comédia Humana.
Trata-se de um conto cuja ação se passa em 1812 e narra a derrota dos franceses pelos russos devido ao gelado inverno; descreve a evacuação de Beresina onde milhares de soldados morreram de frio e fome.
Uma d...more

Balzac gets right into the action in "Farewell". Skipping his usual lengthy descriptions, this little book might seem out of place among the rest of his Human Comedy, but the writing quality is unchanged. Balzac skillfully if briefly tells a story of the after-effects of war. I love how the word...more

Tinha este pequeníssimo livro na prateleira do meu quarto há séculos. Decidi pegar nele há alguns dias e fui aproveitando os escassos minutos que tenho tido para o ler, porque é sempre bom ler um autor tão conceituado como Balzac.
O início da história é bastante bonito e as descrições balzacian...more

Short story. A seemingly crazy woman roams in the park of a ruined castle. She is the survivor of Napoleon's retreat of Russia. She was separated from her friend Major Philippe de Sucy during the fateful crossing of the Berezina River and de Sucy who now recognized her wants to bring her back to...more

Αυτό το έργο είναι κάτι περισσότερο από αυτό που αρχικά φαίνεται.

Δημοσιεύτηκε στο περιοδικό La Mode, σε συνέχειες, τον Μάιο - Ιούνιο του 1830, με τίτλο “Στρατιωτικά ενθυμήματα, Αντίο” (Souvenirs soldatesques, Adieu). Το υλικό για την ιστορία του, ο συγγραφέας, το άντλησε πρωτίστως από δύο φίλους του, στρατιωτικούς...“Στρατιωτικά

Totally amazing book. I can say, that upon the description of the masses of people dying in the cold floods of the Beresina I felt sick, truly sick so that I needed to catch some breaths of fresh air. This book shows how brutal love can be.
Simultaneously it gives a good example on how unfair and...more

In Chapter 1, two gentlemen, Colonel Philippe de Sucy and D'Albon, a Deputy are lost while out on a hunting trip. Sucy is hale and hearty while Albon is fat and unfit and so lags behind as they try to find their way. However, something Albon says upsets some secret sorrow within Sucy and that slo...more

Lost love can so damage the mind that the physical person becomes barely recognizable. This story is a great example of how some people change after lost love while other become stuck at the mental point of abandonment. When the abandonment is resolved, the shock is so great, the physical shell w...more

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