(LARGE PRINT EDITION) 1887. Balzac is considered to be the greatest name in the post-Revolutionary literature of France. His writings display a profound knowledge of the human heart, with an extraordinary range of knowledge. A classic example of the French realist novel, which contrasts the social progress of an impoverished but ambitious aristocrat with the tale of a father, whose obsessive love for his daughters leads to his personal and financial ruin. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
Monsieur Goriot is one of a disparate group of lodgers at Mademe Vauquer's dingy Parisian boarding house. At first his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are mysteriously reduced he becomes shunned by those around him, and soon his only remaining visitors are his two beautifully dressed daughters. Goriot's fate is intertwined with two other fellow boarders: the young social climber Eugene Rastignac, who sees a way to gain the acceptance and wealth he craves, and the enigmatic figure of Vautrin, who is hiding darker secrets than anyone. Weaving a compelling and panoramic story of love, money, self-sacrifice, corruption, greed and ambition, Old Man Goriot is Balzac's acknowledged masterpiece. A key novel in his Comédie Humaine series, it is a vividly realized portrait of bourgeois Parisian society in the years following the French Revolution.
Mild, harmless and ugly to behold, the impoverished Pons is an ageing musician whose brief fame has fallen to nothing. Living a placid Parisian life as a bachelor in a shared apartment with his friend Schmucke, he maintains only two passions: a devotion to fine dining in the company of wealthy but disdainful relatives, and a dedication to the collection of antiques. When these relatives become aware of the true value of his art collection, however, their sneering contempt for the parasitic Pons rapidly falls away as they struggle to obtain a piece of the weakening man's inheritance. Taking its place in the Human Comedy as a companion to Cousin Bette, the darkly humorous Cousin Pons is among of the last and greatest of Balzac's novels concerning French urban society: a cynical, pessimistic but never despairing consideration of human nature.
When the night came, he went to the meeting-place, and quietly let himself be blindfolded.
Raw as Honoré de Balzac is famed to be, this daring novella—never before published as a stand-alone book—is perhaps the most outlandish thing he ever wrote. While still concerned with the depiction of the underside of Parisian life, as is most of Balzac’s oeuvre, The Girl with the Golden Eyes considers not the working lives of the poor, but the sex lives of the upper crust.
In a nearly boroque rendering with erotically charged details as well as lush and extravagant language, The Girl with the Golden Eyes tells the story of a rich and ruthless young man in nineteenth century Paris caught up in an amorous entanglement with a mysterious beauty. His control slipping, incest, homosexuality, sexual slavery, and violence combine in what was then, and still remains, a shocking and taboo-breaking work.
The Art of The Novella Series
**Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850) 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, La Comedie Humaine,which was the final result of his attempt to grasp the whole of society and experience into one varied but unified work.
Richard Howard was born in Cleveland in 1929. 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 Fleurs du mal and a Pulitzer Prize for Untitled Subjects, a collection of poetry.
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.
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.
Cousin Bette is a gripping tale of violent jealousy, sexual passion and treachery, and a brilliant portrayal of the grasping, bourgeois society of 1840s 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 is Honoré de Balzac's 1831 novel that tells the story of a young man, Raphaël 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.
Table of Contents
List of Works by Genre and Title
List of Works in Alphabetical Order
Honore de Balzac Biography
La Com?die Humaine:
Scenes From Private Life:
The Ball at Sceaux
A Second Home
Paz or The Imaginary Mistress
Study of a Woman
Another Study of Woman
La Grand Breteche (Sequel to "Another Study of Woman")
Letters of Two Brides
A Daughter of Eve
A Woman of Thirty
The Deserted Woman
The Marriage Contract
A Start in Life
The Atheist's Mass
The Commission in Lunacy
Scenes From Provincial Life:
Ursule Mirouet or Ursula
- The Vicar of Tours
- The Two Brothers or A Bachelor's Establishment
Parisians in the Country:
- The Illustrious Gaudissart
- The Muse of the Department
The Jealousies of a Country Town
- An Old Maid
- The Collection of Antiquities
The Lily of the Valley
Lost Illusions (Les Illusions perdues)
*- The Two Poets
- A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
- Eve and David *
Scenes From Parisian Life
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
- Esther Happy
- What Love Costs an Old Man
- The End of Evil Ways
- Vautrin's Last Avatar
A Prince of Bohemia
A Man of Business
- The Duchesse de Langeais
- The Girl with the Golden Eyes
The Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau
The Firm of Nucingen
The Secrets of a Princess
Bureaucracy or The Government Clerks
- Cousin Betty
- Cousin Pons
The Lesser Bourgeoisie or The Middle Classes
Scenes From Political Life
An Historical Mystery or The Gondreville Mystery
An Episode Under the Terror
The Brotherhood of Consolation or The Seamy Side of History
- Madame de la Chanterie
- Initiated or The Initiate
The Deputy of Arcis or The Member for Arcis
Scenes From Military Life
A Passion in the Desert
Scenes From Country Life
The Country Doctor
The Village Rector or The Country Parson
Sons of the Soil or The Peasantry
The Magic Skin (La Peau de chagrin)
The Alkahest or The Quest of the Absolute
Christ in Flanders
The Hidden Masterpiece
The Hated Son
Juana or The Maranas
The Recruit or The Conscript
A Drama on the Seashore or A Seaside Tragedy
The Red Inn
The Elixir of Life
Catherine De Medici
- The Calvinist Martyr
- The Ruggieri's Secret
- The Two Dreams
The Physiology of Marriage
The Country Doctor
Petty Troubles of Married Life
Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau
Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan
At the Sign of the Cat & Racket
Droll Stories Volume 1
Droll Stories Volume 2
Droll Stories Volume 3
Folk-Tales of Napoleon, The Napoleon of the People; Napoleonder
A Street of Paris and Its Inhabitant
Mercadet: A Comedy In Three Acts
Pamela Giraud: A Play In Five Acts
The Resources of Quinola
The Stepmother, A Drama in Five Acts
Vautrin: A Drama in Five Acts
By the French author, who, along with Flaubert, is generally regarded as a founding-father of realism in European fiction. His large output of works, collectively entitled The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine), consists of 95 finished works (stories, novels and essays) and 48 unfinished works. His stories are an attempt to comprehend and depict the realities of life in contemporary bourgeois France. They are placed in a variety of settings, with characters reappearing in multiple stories.
An NYRB Classics Original
Characters from every corner of society and all walks of life—lords and ladies, businessmen and military men, poor clerks, unforgiving moneylenders, aspiring politicians, artists, actresses, swindlers, misers, parasites, sexual adventurers, crackpots, and more—move through the pages of The Human Comedy, Balzac’s multivolume magnum opus, an interlinked chronicle of modernity in all its splendor and squalor. The Human Comedy includes the great roomy novels that have exercised such a sway over Balzac’s many literary inheritors, from Dostoyevsky and Henry James to Marcel Proust; it also contains an array of short fictions in which Balzac is at his most concentrated and forceful. Nine of these, all newly translated, appear in this volume, and together they provide an unequaled overview of a great writer’s obsessions and art. Here are “The Duchesse de Langeais,” “A Passion in the Desert,” and “Sarrasine”; tales of madness, illicit passion, ill-gotten gains, and crime. What unifies them, Peter Brooks points out in his introduction, is an incomparable storyteller’s fascination with the power of storytelling, while throughout we also detect what Proust so admired: the “mysterious circulation of blood and desire.”