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Modeste Mignon

Honoré de Balzac

Book Overview: 

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 in his name and acts as her lover, disguised as Canalis. The scene changes dramatically when Ernest discoveres that Modest is, in fact, a rich heiress. Would he be able to win her heart despite his lie?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . her sympathy with this tender and dreamy spirit. Canalis does not possess the gift of life; he cannot breathe existence into his creations; but he knows how to calm vague sufferings like those which assailed Modeste. He speaks to young girls in their own language; he can allay the anguish of a bleeding wound and lull the moans, even the sobs of woe. His gift lies not in stirring words, nor in the remedy of strong emotions, he contents himself with saying in harmonious tones which compel belief, "I suffer with you; I understand you; come with me; let us weep together beside the brook, beneath the willows." And they follow him! They listen to his empty and sonorous poetry like infants to a nurse's lullaby. Canalis, like Nodier, enchants the reader by an artlessness which is genuine in the prose writer and artificial in the poet, by his tact, his smile, the shedding of his rose-leaves, in short by his infantile philosophy. He imitates so well the language of our early youth. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The young Modeste Mignon enjoys the writings of the famous poet Canalis. One day in a bookseller's she sees a lithographed portrait of Canalis and is struck by his head "made sublime by commercial requirements." She determines to find out all she can about him and to write to him. Canalis scoffs...more

Balzac damat adayları üzerinden sınıfları inceliyor. Cok keyif almadim.

Perhaps the funniest book by Balzac

Livro fantástico, que se desenvolve como uma espiral, começando de um centro tímido e interior até atingir a grande sociedade e envolver mesmo o Rei de França. Ou como uma árvore, que começa em semente.

Se Balzac tivesse escrito apenas este livro, seu nome já mereceria figurar no panteão dos grand...more

Slow beginning, abrupt ending, and all magic in the middle. Balzac is one of those writers like Hardy or Dickens with whom their whole body of work comes into play - not just the individual novel. I love Balzac's examination of character against the vicissitudes of society. This particular novel...more

Balzac egyik leghosszabb, de talán a legcsodásabb novellája. Hosszú karakteres leírásokkal, ami jó pár oldalt körülölel, de megéri, mert a könyv közepétől csoda történik.

Honoré de Balzac, Modeste Mignon [1844] 401 pages [in French, on Kindle]

One of the longest, latest, and possibly one of the best of Balzac's novels. Technically it is better than most, in that he begins with the intrigue before portraying the scene and the characters, rather than starting with fi...more

Die Schwester der Titelheldin ist schon mal vor Gram dahingestorben, da der Auserwählte wegen des finanziellen Ruins des Vaters das Weite gesucht hat. Vater macht sich auf in Übersee ein neues Vermögen zu finden. MM soll nun schön tugendhaft bleiben. Stattdessen aber wirft sie sich per Post einem...more

Who Shakespeare`s "Much ado about nothing`s" like, will like Balzac`s Modeste Mignon, too!

An economic crisis rips Modeste`s father out of business. He leaves Le Havre to get back to new wealth.
Modeste (after the death of her sister and after the absence of her father) the only child of her parent...more

Lendo a obra de Balzac tenho percebido que ele passeia bem, dentro de seu estilo, por vários gêneros literários. Essa obra difere um pouco do que tinha lido dele até então por ser bem romântica. Não aprecio muito o romantismo mas a forma com que algumas história são narradas me fazem repensar iss...more

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