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The Alkahest: Or, The House of Claes

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Regarded by many critics as one of Honore de Balzac's foremost literary achievements, the novel The Alkahest offers an incisive look at the dangers of obsession. Scientist Balthazar Claes begins his research...


Albert Savarus

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

An extract from Honore de Balzac's vast story cycle The Human Comedy, the novel Albert Savarus details the dramatic twists and turns in a budding love affair between Albert, a young lawyer with literary ambitions,...


Beatrix

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Honore de Balzac excelled at creating unforgettable characters, but most of his creations were works of pure fiction. Many critics have asserted that the novel Beatrix is a roman a clef depicting the life of...


Bureaucracy

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This fascinating novel from French master Honore de Balzac was published just as the age of bureaucracy was kicking into high gear in the mid-nineteenth century. Balzac delves deeply into the labyrinthine workings...


The Brotherhood of Consolation

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

French playwright and novelist Honore de Balzac is at his best when he is describing the chaotic tumult of big city life in nineteenth-century Europe. In The Brotherhood of Consolation, he focuses on a secret...


The Country Doctor

by Honore de Balzac, Ellen Marriage & Clara Bell

Part of the massive series that some regard as one of the masterworks of nineteenth-century realism, Honore de Balzac's The Human Comedy, the novel The Country Doctor focuses on Dr. Benassis, a physician by...


A Daughter of Eve

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This short novel, part of the Scenes of Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's vast masterpiece The Human Comedy, includes the first appearances of key characters who return later in the series. A Daughter...


The Deputy of Arcis

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

A masterpiece of political intrigue and machinations, the novel The Deputy of Arcis was left incomplete at Honore de Balzac's death and was finished by Balzac's friend and collaborator Charles Rabou. What starts...


Juana

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Set against the backdrop of the Peninsular War, Balzac's novella "Juana" focuses on a storied family of French courtesans who have achieved legendary status. For many generations, the women have lived outside...


The Lesser Bourgeoisie

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Throughout his entire literary career, French writer Honore de Balzac was fascinated by the many ways in which social class can impact the trajectory of a life. In the early novel The Lesser Bourgeoisie, an...


The Marriage Contract

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

The short novel The Marriage Contract is part of the Scenes From Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's epic masterpiece of nineteenth-century realism, The Human Comedy. It delves directly into the question...


Parisians in the Country: The Illustrious Gaudissart, and The Muse of the Department

by Honore de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley & James Waring

Set among the sprawling vineyards of France's Loire Valley, Balzac's novel Parisians in the Country follows the life of one Dinah Piedefer, a beautiful and talented young woman who finds herself trapped in a...


Paz: The Imaginary Mistress

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This novella is part of the Scenes From Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's sprawling story cycle The Human Comedy. Trapped in a maddeningly frustrating love triangle and unable to express his true feelings...


An Old Maid

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Immerse yourself in the inner workings of a quaint French village in this charming novel from Honore de Balzac, an early master of literary realism. Brimming with finely observed details and Balzac's trademark...


Poor Relations: Cousin Betty and Cousin Pons

by Honore de Balzac, James Waring & Ellen Marriage

This diptych is part of Honore de Balzac's epic masterpiece, The Human Comedy. It comprises two stories, "Cousin Betty" and "Cousin Pons," each of which delve deeply into complicated family dynamics and the...


In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories

by Robert Barr

Born in Scotland and raised in Canada, travel was a part of author Robert Barr's life from a very young age. His wanderlust continued throughout his life, and Barr passed many months on round-the-world sea voyages....


Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

by Aphra Behn

The first prominent female writer working in English, author Aphra Behn lived a fascinating life, spending time as a spy for the U.K. before turning her attention to literary pursuits. This novel tells the tale...


Alice Sit-By-The-Fire

by J. M. Barrie

Written immediately after the play that would launch J. M. Barrie to international acclaim, Peter Pan, Alice Sit-By-The-Fire is just as charming, sweet and madcap as its predecessor. A group of older children...


Queen of the Black Coast

by Robert E. Howard

Conan the Barbarian, also known as Conan the Cimmerian in some stories, is the swashbuckling hero created by master of the sword-and-sorcery genre Robert E. Howard. In the story "Queen of the Black Coast," Conan...


Shadows in the Moonlight

by Robert E. Howard

This gripping story from Robert E. Howard, an important figure in the development of the sword-and-sorcery fantasy subgenre, features a daring rescue by fearless protagonist Conan the Cimmerian (also known as...