Honore de Balzac

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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...


Domestic Peace

by Honore de Balzac, Ellen Marriage & Clara Bell

From the "Scenes of Private Life" section of Honore de Balzac's great masterwork The Human Comedy, this novella is set at a grand ball at the height of the Napoleonic era. The usual suspects from the city's...


A Drama on the Seashore

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This short section of Honore de Balzac's vast story cycle The Human Comedy unfolds against the beautiful backdrop of the western coast of France. A couple on vacation have a chance encounter with a fisherman....


The Elixir of Life

by Honore de Balzac, Clara Bell & James Waring

Some of the short stories in the Philosophical Studies section of Honore de Balzac's The Human Comedy have hints of the mystical and supernatural. These elements are very pronounced in the spine-chilling tale...


A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

The novel A Distinguished Provincial at Paris is the second volume of Honore de Balzac's Lost Illusions trilogy. In it, Balzac masterfully revisits one of his most commonly called-upon themes: the harsh realization...


Eve and David

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

The novel Eve and David is the third entry in Honore de Balzac's Lost Illusions trilogy, which in turn is part of his larger novel cycle, The Human Comedy. The story focuses on a pair of earnest, good-hearted...


The Exiles

by Honore de Balzac, Clara Bell & James Waring

Though Honore de Balzac is now lauded as a master of the literary genre of social realism, a sizable number of his stories and novels also contain supernatural and mystical elements. The story "The Exiles" is...


Facino Cane

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

The short story "Facino Cane" has been categorized as both a "Philosophical Study" and a "Scene of Paris Life" in various editions of French writer Honore de Balzac's sprawling series The Human Comedy. The narrator...


An Episode Under the Terror

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

Set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, this short story from the Scenes of Political Life section of Honore de Balzac's The Human Comedy immerses readers in the terrifying tumult of the period. Brimming...


The Firm of Nucingen

by Honore de Balzac & James Waring

One of the key themes that is woven throughout Balzac's masterpiece, The Human Comedy, relates to the dangers of materialism and greed. In this novella, the narrator overhears some fellow diners discussing a...


Gambara

by Honore de Balzac

The novella Gambara is part of the Philosophical Studies section of Honore de Balzac's The Human Comedy. It follows a tumultuous relationship between Italian nobleman Andrea Marcosini and the beautiful, young...


Gobseck

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

An extract from Honore de Balzac's sweeping novel cycle The Human Comedy, Gobseck is a novella that recounts the social ascendancy of young Anastasie de Restaud. Born into a wealthy family, Anastasie marries...


Ferragus

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

A heartbroken cavalry officer, Auguste de Maulincour, is strolling through a rather seedy section of Paris when he happens to spot the object of his unrequited love, a married young woman named Clemence. Even...


La Grenadiere

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

Immerse yourself in a French pastoral idyll in this engrossing tale from Honore de Balzac, whose unparalleled powers of description will whisk you away to La Grenadiere, a quaint estate in the midst of a blossoming...


The Hated Son

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

The novella "The Hated Son" is a section from French writer Honore de Balzac's multi-volume masterwork, The Human Comedy. Set in the late 1500s and early 1600s, the tale follows a newly married woman who is...


The Jealousies of a Country Town: Les Rivalites

by Honore de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley & Ellen Marriage

This collection of loosely interwoven tales puts the unique talents of French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac on full display. In each, Balzac delves deeply into the eccentric characters and quaint...


La Grande Breteche

by Honore de Balzac, Ellen Marriage & Clara Bell

Predating Edgar Allen Poe's remarkably similar story "The Cask of Amontillado" by more than a decade, Honore de Balzac's chilling tale "La Grande Breteche" centers on a mysterious manor that sits abandoned in...