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Thread: The best works of Balzac.

  1. #1
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    The best works of Balzac.

    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?

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    Literary Superstar Pryderi Agni's Avatar
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    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?

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    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'.

  4. #4
    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.

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    Literary Superstar Pryderi Agni's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    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.

  7. #7
    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.

  8. #8
    Literary Superstar Pryderi Agni's Avatar
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    Wow...that's great

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

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    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!!!

    Best regards

  10. #10
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    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".

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pryderi Agni View Post
    Wow...that's great

    Say...I've finished Pere Goriot a while ago. Which one should I go to next?
    Quote Originally Posted by loe View Post
    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!!!

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    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

  13. #13
    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.

  14. #14
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Definitely Le Père Goriot.

  15. #15
    Literary Superstar Pryderi Agni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebas. Melmoth View Post
    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.

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