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Lost Illusions (Paperback)

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Lost Illusions de Balzac, Honore                        1 of 1
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Learn more about Lost Illusions:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 1605976121
ISBN-13: 9781605976129
Sku: 208126405
Publish Date: 5/27/2008
Pages:  600
Age Range:  NA
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At the time when this story opens, the Stanhope press and the ink-distributing roller had not yet come into use in small provincial printing-houses; and, notwithstanding its paper industry, that linked Angoulême so closely with Paris printing, wooden presses--of the kind to which the figure of speech "to make the press groan" was literally applicable--were still in use in the town. (from the first line)
...The longest, without exception, of Balzac''s books, and one which contains hardly any passage that is not very nearly of his best, Illusions Perdues suffers, I think, a little in point of composition from the mixture of the Angouleme scenes of its first and third parts with the purely Parisian interest of Un Grand Homme de Province . It is hardly possible to exaggerate the gain in distinctness and lucidity of arrangement derived from putting Les Deux Poetes and Eve et David (a much better title than that which has been preferred in the Edition Definitive ) together in one volume, and reserving the greatness and decadence of Lucien de Rubempre for another. It is distinctly awkward that this should be divided, as it is itself an enormous episode, a sort of Herodotean parenthesis, rather than an integral part of the story...
The fruits of ambition are delicate and costly in Honore de Balzac's LOST ILLUSIONS. Poor Lucien Chardon uses an affair with a married older woman as a stepladder into the social ranks of the French elite, but finds his foothold even more treacherous once there. Enmeshed in a tricky game of manners, Lucien balances his dream of conquering the salon scene against the intrigues and betrayals set against him by rivals accustomed to the exclusivity of their company. In a century when social leveling made upward mobility seem within reach for clever or hardworking souls, Balzac dashes these hopes against the rock of resolute privilege.
Author Bio
Honore De Balzac
Honor? de Balzac, son of a civil servant and a middle-class Parisienne, attended Paris schools, then earned a law degree before settling down to writing. His first work was a tragedy in verse called CROMWELL--a dismal failure. He survived on hack journalism throughout his 20s; at 30 he began to publish fiction. When he conceived of the idea (in 1833) for LA COMEDIE HUMAINE, to which he was to devote the rest of his life, he wrote: "I am in the throes of becoming a genius." His habit was to don a comfortable dressing gown and write from midnight to noon, consuming legendary numbers of cups of coffee and publishing five or six novels a year: 92 in over two decades, some of them among the greatest works of French literature. LA COMEDIE HUMAINE attempted to represent every class and profession and provide a panoramic and detailed view of French society of the period. Balzac's intense writing schedule did not prevent him from leading a flamboyant life, pursuing married women, getting involved in harebrained business deals, going into and out of debt. He traveled all over Europe with his longtime mistress, a wealthy Ukrainian named Eveline Hanska, whom he finally married in 1850. He died five months later. His friend George Sand said of him, "He searched and dared everything....Very generous, very kind, very crazy, with an inner reserve of reason which controlled all aspects of his work..., filled with inconsistencies and mysteries--that was Balzac."
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