Honore de Balzac

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Fiction

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Short Stories (9)

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English (35)

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Father Goriot

by Honore de Balzac

The novel takes place during the Bourbon Restoration, which brought about profound changes in French society; the struggle of individuals to secure upper-class status is ubiquitous in the book. The city of Paris...


Cousin Bette

by Honore de Balzac

The crown jewel in a remarkable literary career, Cousin Bette is regarded by many critics to be Balzac's last great work before his death in 1850. A fine example of European realist fiction, the story recounts...


Catherine de' Medici

by Honore de Balzac

Balzac's La Comedie Humaine was a story cycle comprising more than 100 novels and stories. Although most of these works are set in nineteenth-century France, several hearken back to earlier periods. Catherine...


The Wrong Side of Paris

by Honore de Balzac, Jordan Stump & Adam Gopnik

The Wrong Side of Paris, the final novel in Balzac’s The Human Comedy, is the compelling story of Godefroid, an abject failure at thirty, who seeks refuge from materialism by moving into a monastery-like lodging...


Le Père Goriot

by Honore de Balzac

Le Père Goriot is widely considered Balzac's most important novel. This is the story of the relationship between a doting father and his two adult daughters. Blinded by his love for his children, Père Goriot...


Sons of the Soil

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

French writer Honore de Balzac had many unique strengths, and chief among them is his ability to limn and illuminate subtle differences between social classes. In this pastoral novel, Balzac explores the virtues...


A Start in Life

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

The novel A Start in Life is part of the Scenes of Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's masterpiece of nineteenth-century realism, The Human Comedy. In much of Balzac's work, the aristocracy is portrayed...


A Second Home

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

In this novella from Honore de Balzac, an impoverished mother and daughter slave away as embroiderers but are barely able to evade starvation. Finally, what seems to be a blessing enters into their lives --...


Ursula

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This novel is one of the pillars of the Scenes of Provincial Life section of Honore de Balzac's story cycle The Human Comedy. Through a series of tragedies and coincidences, a kind and pious teenager named Ursula...


The Red Inn

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Like many of the short stories in Honore de Balzac's vast story cycle The Human Comedy, "The Red Inn" is a tale within a tale. After a pleasant dinner at the Red Inn, guests begin to swap anecdotes. German businessman...


Study of a Woman

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Part of Balzac's masterpiece, the multi-volume story cycle The Human Comedy, the short story "Study of a Woman" focuses on Madame de Listomere, an uptight model of propriety, who finds herself being flirted...


Two Poets

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

The novel Two Poets is part of the Lost Illusions trilogy, which is in turn part of the Scenes From Provincial Life section of Honore de Balzac's massive masterpiece The Human Comedy. Critics have singled out...


The Recruit

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This gripping short story from master of French realism Honore de Balzac packs an emotional wallop and has a twist ending you won't be able to forget. The mother of a French soldier receives word that her son...


Unconscious Comedians

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

In this novella from Honore de Balzac, the skilled artisan Palafox Gazonal arrives in Paris to settle some important business and perhaps make a splash in the city's thriving art scene. However, Gazonal is used...


Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

by Honore de Balzac & James Waring

Hardened criminal Jacques Collin has been hiding under the guise of a false identity in order to escape the long arm of the law. In the novel Scenes from a Courtesan's Life, however, Collin's deceptions seem...


The Thirteen

by Honore de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley & Ellen Marriage

This series of three novellas is unified by an overarching motif: in all three tales, a mysterious secret society known as The Thirteen is at work behind the scenes. The men in the group have pledged eternal...


Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

One of the unifying themes that wends its way through Honore de Balzac's immense body of work is the corrupting danger of greed -- and the often-absurd lengths to which people will go to secure material wealth....


Maitre Cornelius

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Set in the fifteenth century, Maitre Cornelius is a gripping historical novel that illustrates the unbelievable lengths to which some will go in the name of love. Marie, the daughter of the king, is trapped...


The Resources of Quinola

by Honore de Balzac

Today, French writer Honore de Balzac is best remembered for The Human Comedy, a sprawling story cycle in which he attempted -- and some would argue, succeeded -- to capture the ebb and flow of everyday life...


Vendetta

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Fans of Romeo and Juliet will delight in the novella Vendetta, Honore de Balzac's unique take on the timeless theme of star-crossed lovers. Corsican immigrants Ginevra Piombo and Luigi Porta fall hopelessly...