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Cousin Bette

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Hardcover published by Everyman's Library (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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“Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is, as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying,” wrote V. S. Pritchett. A late masterpiece in Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine, Cousin Bette is the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.”
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“Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is, as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying,” wrote V. S. Pritchett. A late masterpiece in Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine, Cousin Bette is the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.”
Product Details
Hardcover (496 pages)
Published: October 15, 1991
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Everyman's Library
ISBN: 9780679406716
Other books byHonore de Balzac
  • The Magic Skin

    The Magic Skin
    Honore de Balzac, who is generally regarded as a founding father of realism in European fiction, first entered the mainstream with The Magic Skin, a fable-like tale delineating the excesses and vanities of contemporary life.

    The Girl with the Golden Eyes

    The Girl with the Golden Eyes
    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.

    Colonel Chabert

    Colonel Chabert
    Colonel Chabert, a Napoleonic War hero supposedly killed in the Battle of Eylau, returns to Paris after a long convalescence to find his wife remarried, and his pension gone. He employs a young, well-known lawyer to at least reclaim his pension. It is a game of wits: first to convince the lawyer that he is who he says he is; secondly to get his wife to admit to his identity and thereby give up some of her wealth. Once the lawyer believes Chabert's story, the wife must be made to part with his pension...

    Lost Illusions

    Lost Illusions
    "Balzac [was] the master unequalled in the art of painting humanity as it exists in modern society," wrote George Sand. "He searched and dared everything." Written between 1837 and 1843, Lost Illusions reveals, perhaps better than any other of Balzac's ninety-two novels, the nature and scope of his genius. The story of Lucien Chardon, a young poet from Angoulême who tries desperately to make a name for himself in Paris, is a brilliantly realistic and boldly satirical portrait of provincial manners and aristocratic life. Handsome and ambitious but naïve, Lucien is patronized by the beau monde as represented by Madame de Bargeton and her cousin, the formidable Marquise d'Espard, only to be duped by them. Denied the social rank he thought would be his, Lucien discards his poetic aspirations and turns to hack journalism; his descent into Parisian low life ultimately leads to his own death. "Balzac was both a greedy child and an indefatigable observer of a greedy age, at once a fantastic and a genius, yet possessing a simple core of common sense," noted V. S. Pritchett, one of his several biographers. Another, André Maurois, concluded: "Balzac was by turns a saint, a criminal, an honest judge, a corrupt judge, a minister, a fob, a harlot, a duchess, and always a genius." This Modern Library edition presents the translation by Kathleen Raine.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • Towards the middle of July in the year 1838, one of those vehicles called "milords," then appearing in the Paris squares for the first time, was driving along the rue de l'Universite,...

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  • Rond half julie 1838 reed door de Rue de l'Université een zogeheten milord, een van de nieuwste modellen rijtuigen die men waar kon nemen in de straten van Parijs.

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  • 'Wat is de oorzaak van dit diepgewortelde kwaad?' vroeg de barones. 'Het verlies van religie,'antwoordde de arts, 'en de machtsovername van het kapitaal wat niets anders is dan verstokte...

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  • "Parents can oppose their children's marriages, but children have no way of preventing the follies of parents in their second childhood," said Maitre Hulot to Maitre Popinot, second son...

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  • 'Ouders kunnen zich wel tegen het huwelijk van hun kinderen verzetten, maar kinderen kunnen niet de dwaasheid beletten van hun kinds geworden ouders,'zei meester Hulot tegen meester...

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