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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

There were parts of this that I quite enjoyed but it’s sooooo longwinded! It would’ve been so much better if it was short and sweet.

Μια εξαιρετική "ηθογραφία εποχής" από τον Μπαλζάκ με εξαιρετική πρόζα και ένα πολυσήμαντο "κλείσιμο ματιού" στον αναγνώστη, ενώ επιδερμικά διαβάζεται ως μια ερωτική περιπέτεια της μεταναπολεόντειας εποχής δύο αντεπιστελλόντων νέων που ερωτεύονται στη Χάβρη εξ αποστάσεως, στην ουσία είναι μια μοναδικ

This extremely silly novel must be one of the weakest volumes in La comédie humaine, and its main interest is how it came to be written. It apparently began life as a short story by Balzac's long-time mistress and eventual wife, Ewelina Hańska, who was so dissatisfied with her creation that she burn

Η γιορτή των ερωτευμένων και οι αποκριάτικες εκδηλώσεις μας βρίσκουν φέτος σε κάθε άλλο παρά εορταστικό mood, αλλά ένα επίκαιρο ανάγνωσμα παραμένει μια σταθερά ανεξάρτητη από τις επικρατούσες συνθήκες. Πόσο μάλλον όταν πρόκειται για ένα ρομάντζο με βασικό μοτίβο την παραπλάνηση και τις μάσκες που υι


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 grandes

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