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Title:The Human Comedy: Selected Stories
Format Type:Ebook
Author:Honoré de Balzac, Peter Brooks, Linda Asher, Carol Cosman, Jordan Stump
Publisher:NYRB Classics
ISBN 13:
Number of Pages:428
Category:Short stories, Classics, Fiction, France, Literature

The Human Comedy: Selected Stories by Honoré de Balzac, Peter Brooks, Linda Asher, Carol Cosman, Jordan Stump

PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC The Human Comedy: Selected Stories An NYRB Classics Original .

We think of Honor de Balzac as the author of long and fully upholstered novels stitched together into the magnificent visionary document called i The Human Comedy i Yet along with the full length fiction within i The i i Human Comedy i stand many shorter works among the most brilliant and forceful of his fictions Drawn always to the tradition of oral storytelling to the human voice telling of experience and to the kinds of reactions produced in the listeners to stories Balzac repeatedly dramatizes both telling and listening and the interactions of men and women around the story told It s in the short fiction that we get some of his most daring explorations of crime sexuality and artistic creation As Marcel Proust noted it is in these tales that we detect under the surface the mysterious circulation of blood and desire .

Included here are tales of artists of the moneylender who controls the lives of others of passion in the desert sands and in the drawing rooms of Parisian duchesses episodes of madness and psychotherapy the uncovering of fortunes derived from crime and from castration And stories about the creation of story the need to transmit experience All are newly translated by three outstanding translators who restore the freshness of Balzac s vivid and highly colored prose .


Père Goriot

Pere Goriot is the tragic story of a father whose obsessive love for his two daughters leads to his financial and personal ruin Interwoven with this theme is that of the impoverished young aristocrat Rastignac come to Paris from the provinces to make his fortune who befriends Goriot and becomes involved with the daughters The story is set against the background of a whole society driven by social ambition and lust for money

Eugénie Grandet

i Who is going to marry Eugenie Grandet i br br This is the question that fills the minds of the inhabitants of Saumur the setting for Eugenie Grandet one of the earliest and most famous novels in Balzac s Comedie humaine The Grandet household oppressed by the exacting miserliness of Grandet himself is jerked violently out of routine by the sudden arrival of Eugenie s cousin Charles recently orphaned and penniless Eugenie s emotional awakening stimulated by her love for her cousin brings her into direct conflict with her father whose cunning and financial success are matched against her determination to rebel br br Eugenie s moving story is set against the backdrop of provincial oppression the vicissitudes of the wine trade and the workings of the financial system in the aftermath of the French Revolution It is both a poignant portrayal of private life and a vigorous fictional document of its age

Lost Illusions

Handsome would be poet Lucien Chardon is poor and naive but highly ambitious Failing to make his name in his dull provincial hometown he is taken up by a patroness the captivating married woman Madame de Bargeton and prepares to forge his way in the glamorous beau monde of Paris But Lucien has entered a world far more dangerous than he realized as Madame de Bargeton s reputation becomes compromised and the fickle venomous denizens of the courts and salons conspire to keep him out of their ranks Lucien eventually learns that wherever he goes talent counts for nothing in comparison to money intrigue and unscrupulousness Lost Illusions is one of the greatest novels in the rich procession of the Comedie humaine Balzac s panoramic social and moral history of his times

Cousin Bette

Poor plain spinster Bette is compelled to survive on the condescending patronage of her socially superior relatives in Paris her beautiful saintly cousin Adeline the philandering Baron Hulot and their daughter Hortense Already deeply resentful of their wealth when Bette learns that the man she is in love with plans to marry Hortense she becomes consumed by the desire to exact her revenge and dedicates herself to the destruction of the Hulot family plotting their ruin with patient silent malice br br i Cousin Bette i is a gripping tale of violent jealousy sexual passion and treachery and a brilliant portrayal of the grasping bourgeois society of s Paris The culmination of the Comedie humaine Balzac s epic chronicle of his times it is one of his greatest triumphs as a novelist

The Wild Ass's Skin

i The Wild Ass s Skin i is Honor de Balzac s novel that tells the story of a young man Rapha l de Valentin who discovers a piece of shagreen in this case a rough untanned piece of a wild ass s skin which has the magical property of granting wishes However the fulfillment of the wisher s desire comes at a cost after each wish the skin shrinks a little bit and consumes the physical energy of the wisher The Wild Ass s Skin is at once both a work of incredible realism in the descriptions of Parisian life and culture at the time and also a work of supernatural fantasy in the desires that are fulfilled by the wild ass s skin Balzac uses this fantastical device masterfully to depict the complexity of the human nature in civilized society

Le Colonel Chabert

Le Colonel Chabert est suppos avoir t tu sur le champ d honneur dans l une des batailles de Napol on Laiss pour mort sur le champ de bataille d Eylau et ayant perdu sa m moire il a pass un an dans un asile Le roman commence quand il revient Paris la vie qu il avait laisse derri re lui seulement pour d couvrir que en son absence sa vie sa famille sa soci t son identit a chang Napol on est d pos e l aristocratie est revenu au pouvoir comme si la r volution ne s tait jamais produit Sa femme croyant qu il tait mort s est remari e avec un aristocrate Horrifi car elle pr tend qu elle ne le reconna t pas et rendu malade par une soci t qui ne reconna t pas ses m rites ant rieurs Chabert fait la promesse de regagner son argent et sa r putation

A Woman Of Thirty

Our heroine Julie is attending with her ailing father one of Napoleon s reviews of his troops It is after the debacle in Russia but the Old Guard still knows how to put on a show The lovely young girl is dazzled by Colonel Victor d Aiglemont a dashing young adjutant who gallops by The father notices Julie s fascination and shakes his head anxiously knowing that the young man is unworthy of her

A Harlot High and Low

Finance fashionable society and the intrigues of the underworld and the police system form the heart of this powerful novel which introduces the satanic genius Vautrin one of the greatest villains in world literature

The Unknown Masterpiece

One of Honore de Balzac s most celebrated tales The Unknown Masterpiece is the story of a painter who depending on one s perspective is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius or both The story which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cezanne Henry James Picasso and New Wave director Jacques Rivette is in critic Dore Ashton s words a fable of modern art Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard The Unknown Masterpiece appears as Balzac intended with Gambara a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams br br Honor De Balzac is generally credited as the inventor of the modern realistic novel In more than ninety novels he set forth French society and life as he saw it He created a cast of over two thousand individual and identifiable characters some of whom reappear in different novels He organized his works into his masterpiece i La Comedie Humaine i which was the final result of his attempt to grasp the whole of society and experience into one varied but unified work br br Richard Howard was born in Cleveland in He is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry and has published more than one hundred fifty translations from the French including works by Gide Stendhal de Beauvoir Baudelaire and de Gaulle Howard received a National Book Award for his translation of i Fleurs du mal i and a Pulitzer Prize for i Untitled Subjects i a collection of poetry

The Black Sheep

Formerly an aide de camp to Napoleon but now without prospects Phillippe Bridau and his younger brother Joseph a shiftless artist become entangled in a struggle to recover the family inheritance in a world where to be without money is to be without power

Eugénie Grandet, Lost Illusions, Cousin Bette, The Wild Ass's Skin, A Harlot High and Low, Le Colonel Chabert, The Black Sheep, The Unknown Masterpiece, Père Goriot, A Woman Of Thirty