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View Full Version : The best works of Balzac.



Agatha
06-09-2008, 04:43 PM
As I noticed Balzac isn't popular author here... That's a pity, because for me he's one of the finest classical writers and besides he influenced many others like Proust, Zola, Flaubert or James. I've started reading his novels recently and till now I've read: Eugenia Glandet, Pere Goriot, Lost Illusions, The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans. My favourite now is Lost Illusion and Lucien Chardon is one of my favourite characters in literature. Do you like Balzac's style of writing? And which of his works do you like the best?

Pryderi Agni
03-01-2010, 08:33 AM
Hey, I was wondering if you could help me out here. I want to start reading Balzac, but I don't know where to start. Any suggestions?

Agatha
03-01-2010, 01:35 PM
Fristly if I were you, I would go for 'Le Père Goriot'- the most recognised and famous piece of work of Balzac. If you like it(I'm sure you'll), then you can try 'Illusions perdues', 'Eugénie Grandet' or 'La Cousine Bette'.

LitNetIsGreat
03-01-2010, 05:49 PM
You might also want to check out some of his short stories/novellas such as Sarrasine, Colonel Chabert and Vandetta as they make excellent reading.

Pryderi Agni
03-02-2010, 07:11 AM
Thanks for the suggestion, guys :)

I've started with Pere Goriot, by the way. I hope you don't mind, Neely. It's a little slow, but I'll keep at it and keep informing you of my progress.

LitNetIsGreat
03-02-2010, 09:07 AM
Course not, I'm reading that at the moment too. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, though I have misplaced it and have not seen it for the past couple of days - it might be under the bed? My books often hide from me. I was fortunate enough to pick up those little novellas from the library the other day while I was looking for something else and they are just perfect for reading in one go, while in the bath or lounging in a chair. They are quite snappy little reads which allows you to get into the style of Balzac's brilliant prose (even in translation) and faster paced plot which is more immediately engaging then the start of Old Goriot which I would agree, reads a little slow at the beginning, even if it is engaging in his depiction of its characters.

LitNetIsGreat
03-02-2010, 02:56 PM
Oh, I have found it! It was actually on the shelf on my bookcase, fancy that, never thought to look there - that's tonight's reading sorted out anyway. :)

Pryderi Agni
05-06-2010, 12:01 PM
Wow...that's great :)

Say...I've finished Pere Goriot a while ago. Which one should I go to next?

loe
05-11-2010, 09:31 AM
My favourite is Illusion perdues (Lost illusions?) and Le peau de Chagrin (The Chagrin leather?).

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the English titles.

And by the way, Balzac is absolutely great!!! :hurray:

Best regards

MANICHAEAN
05-11-2010, 09:54 AM
It looks Agatha that there are more fans of Balzac than you anticipated. When I read "Pere Goriot" I was hooked.
Now have under my belt:
"A Woman of Thirty"
"An Episode Under The Terror" and the trilogy "Ferragus / The Duchesse de Langeais / The Girl with the Goldern Eyes".

LitNetIsGreat
05-11-2010, 10:40 AM
Wow...that's great :)

Say...I've finished Pere Goriot a while ago. Which one should I go to next?


My favourite is Illusion perdues (Lost illusions?) and Le peau de Chagrin (The Chagrin leather?).

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the English titles.

And by the way, Balzac is absolutely great!!! :hurray:

Best regards

I'm not an expert in Balzac by any means but I recently read Le peau de Chagrin (English translation = The Wild Asses Skin) and found it quite good and is apparently quite recommended by those in the know. It was also interesting for me because it was supposedly one of a few novels which formed a few ideas for Wilde's Dorian Gray.

loe
05-11-2010, 12:41 PM
It was also interesting for me because it was supposedly one of a few novels which formed a few ideas for Wilde's Dorian Gray.
I'm not an expert either.
Although the similarities of Dorian Gray and The Wild Asses Skin (thank you for translation) are rather obvious I haven't thought of it before. The skin an the picture serve more or less the same purpose. Thanks for mentioning.

Maybe it's time for me to read Dorian Gray again. :)

After reading Pere Goriot it may be interesting to continue with "Illusions perdues" and then with "Splendeurs et misère des courtisanes" because they are a little bit more connected than the other books (the villain who appears in Pere Goriot will appear again in these two books). Especially the Illusions and Splendeurs really belong together.

If the interest goes more into mystic direction I would recommend the stories "Séraphita" and "Louis Lambert".

Best regards

LitNetIsGreat
05-11-2010, 08:02 PM
Yes Wilde is always worth a re-read, the charming chap, but I am of course bias in a way (but right none-the-less). I will look out for the other works you mention and will take it as a reminder to try and work on my French again as I have let that slip as of late. I am determined to be able to speak French and to read it by a fair level by the end of my life at least! Really it should be much sooner but I am pretty poor in regards to language I think.

Sebas. Melmoth
05-12-2010, 08:09 AM
Definitely Le Père Goriot.

Pryderi Agni
05-19-2010, 11:43 AM
Definitely Le Père Goriot.

Ahem, Sebas, I think I already said I'd read Goriot.

Anyway, for those of you who wanna read Balzac in any kind of order or just wanna check out how many you've read, here's something I dug up from the intertubes. It's a list (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/metabook/humancomedy.html).

victorianfan
05-19-2010, 11:57 AM
I'd say Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes. I think I read it three or four times.

Sebas. Melmoth
05-19-2010, 11:58 AM
Balzac penned a poisonious little lesbian story entitled, 'The Girl with Green Eyes'...

saturnine
06-29-2010, 12:06 AM
Would anyone be kind enough to inform me as to who are good translators of M. Balzac? Specifically if the 1950 Modern Library edition (http://www.amazon.com/Goriot-Eugenie-Grandet-Modern-Library/dp/B000K7INHU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277782485&sr=1-2) is a worthwhile version of his 2 well-known works?


La Père Goriot & Eugénie Grandet (Modern Library, 245.1) [Hardcover]
E. K. Brown (Translator, Introduction), Dorothea Walter (Translator), John Watkins (Translator)

I ran across this version in a used bookstore & almost purchased it but wasn't sure about the translator. I am always at odds since I prize vintage hardcovers yet prefer modern (in regards to research, not language usage) translations. Any help would be appreciated.

Pryderi Agni
07-12-2010, 02:34 AM
Would anyone be kind enough to inform me as to who are good translators of M. Balzac? Specifically if the 1950 Modern Library edition (http://www.amazon.com/Goriot-Eugenie-Grandet-Modern-Library/dp/B000K7INHU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277782485&sr=1-2) is a worthwhile version of his 2 well-known works?



I ran across this version in a used bookstore & almost purchased it but wasn't sure about the translator. I am always at odds since I prize vintage hardcovers yet prefer modern (in regards to research, not language usage) translations. Any help would be appreciated.

I'd hate to think Modern Library would let us down, but you could also check out Ellen Marriage's translation. It's old and in the public domain. I read her translation of Pere Goriot and found nothing to complain about. In fact, she sharpens Balzac's vituperative wit even further. Try it!:smile5:

saturnine
07-13-2010, 09:01 AM
I'd hate to think Modern Library would let us down, but you could also check out Ellen Marriage's translation. It's old and in the public domain. I read her translation of Pere Goriot and found nothing to complain about. In fact, she sharpens Balzac's vituperative wit even further. Try it!:smile5:
Thank you for the reply. I went ahead & picked up that copy as, like you said, I presumed a Modern Library version could be trusted, even if they aren't current.

But it's always good to have an electronic copy available, so I will look into Ms. Marriage's translation as well.

Cheers.

cartivechi
01-01-2011, 09:01 AM
Fristly if I were you, I would go for 'Le Père Goriot'- the most recognised and famous piece of work of Balzac. If you like it(I'm sure you'll), then you can try 'Illusions perdues', 'Eugénie Grandet' or 'La Cousine Bette'.
You can also read " Caterina de Medici" By Balzac (http://www.coltulcolectionarului.ro/honore-de-balzac-m-35380.html)
It is a wonderfull piece of literatura.

Adalbert
01-26-2011, 02:02 AM
I have read Lost Illusions and find Lucien Chardon fascinating, but he is far from being my favorite fiction hero ever. He is weak, a "femmelette" as D'Arthez calls him in his letter to Lucien's sister. His education is frustrating as he seems to fall in every trap life lays in front of him and doesn't have the guts to assume his responsibilities. Furthermore, he often is a complete idiot, easily played by others, journalists, femmes du monde, and even the Brothers Cointet and the clerk they've hired to trick David...
Rastignac in the Pere Goriot is somehow morally and intellectually superior to Lucien; he also is socially more sophisticated and successful.
What do you think? What aspect of Lucien have I missed to despise him like I do?

ashthehunk
04-09-2012, 10:00 AM
Hi, i am new to Balzac
Could you please suggest me any Balzac's work to start with.
thank you.

cafolini
04-09-2012, 01:23 PM
Hi, i am new to Balzac
Could you please suggest me any Balzac's work to start with.
thank you.

Anything you please. Balzac is a prerrequisite to the writers of the 19th and 20th century. He could make a world out of a small perimeter, precisely because that's more than anyone can handle when properly analysed. We ought to his writings a lot of the progress that was ever made in history and for history as a science.

ashthehunk
04-11-2012, 11:34 AM
Anything you please. Balzac is a prerrequisite to the writers of the 19th and 20th century. He could make a world out of a small perimeter, precisely because that's more than anyone can handle when properly analysed. We ought to his writings a lot of the progress that was ever made in history and for history as a science.
thanks friend
but could you name some for me
cause i have no idea of his writings
or
you want me to explore on my own self