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La Grande Breteche

Honoré de Balzac

Book Overview: 

La Grande Bretèche is an addendum to Balzac's Another Study of Woman, and is the final of a set of stories told around a dinner table. This one, given to the guests at about two in the morning, is tale of marital infidelity and revenge,and perhaps might have given some of the audience a sleepless night.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He took a chair, placed himself in front of my fire, put his hat on my table, and answered while he rubbed his hands: 'Dear me, it is very cold.—Monsieur, I am Monsieur Regnault.'

"I was encouraging myself by saying to myself, 'Il bondo cani! Seek!'

"'I am,' he went on, 'notary at Vendome.'

"'I am delighted to hear it, monsieur,' I exclaimed. 'But I am not in a position to make a will for reasons best known to myself.'

"'One moment!' said he, holding up his hand as though to gain silence. 'Allow me, monsieur, allow me! I am informed that you sometimes go to walk in the garden of la Grande Breteche.'

"'Yes, monsieur.'

"'One moment!' said he, repeating his gesture. 'That constitutes a misdemeanor. Monsieur, as executor under the will of the late Comtesse de Merret, I come in her name to beg you to discontinue the practice. One moment! I am not a Turk, and do not wish to make a crime of it. And besides. . . Read More

Community Reviews

As the story is about 10 pages long it feels wrong to add this to my challenge but with the pipe-dream of reading the entire La Comédie humaine, I was surprised to find this story (installment 16 in the series) in one of my grandmother's giant old short story volumes. Honestly, this story is quite s

19th century trolling of a monstrous kind..... a knowing husband playing a macabre game with his panicking infidelious (?) wife, placing her in an insurmountable position, a cruel karma. Gives the reader a shiver and a wry smile. When swearing on the bible was more than just a flippant phrase in tho

A classic haunted house story in the vein of Poe’s House of Usher regarding a dark family mystery.

Uma pequena história com um ambiente sobrenatural. A escrita de Balzac é sublime. Mas esta história não me prendeu tanto como o último livro que li dele.

I am reading La Comedie Humaine in its entirety, so I decided on re-reading "La Grande Breteche". I loved it more the second time, I added a link to the radio version in my 2018 review, which is superb.

I did not read this edition but a Delphi collection of his works which had the brief synopsis bel

Reading this story was my first foray with Honoré de Balzac. I loved the descriptive writing, the details that made this story come to life. Albeit as short story it had the elements I enjoy in a mystery.

From Wikipedia:

The doctor Horace Bianchon discovers near Vendôme an abandoned house whose ruins and the strange beauty of the intrigue. Every night he tried to enter the property without success. Back at the inn, he asks a thousand questions without receiving an answer. Until a lawyer explained to h

This is one of the first and finest Gothic stories I have read. Balzac's description of the house is supreme and left such an impression on my younger senses, I immediately set about trying to mimic him by writing my own miserable failure of a rip-off named The House Beyond My Window.

Leave it to th

Gorgeously lush beginning with the description of the decaying mansion. Screamingly horrifying ending. Brrrrr.

What's funny is that not an hour before reading this, I had read a story with a very similar plot: "Black Dog," in Neil Gaiman's new collection Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbanc

Very familiar-feeling... perhaps I've read this before, possibly a different translation? Similar to Edgar Allan Poe in feel - (view spoiler)[ and not just because it's got someone being bricked up and left to die (hide spoiler)].
I'm not at all sure the multiple 'layers' of the story are necessary: At a social gathering, a man t

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