Père Goriot

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Roberts brothers, 1886 - 348 pages
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I really enjoyed this story. I felt so sorry for the old man who only wanted his daughters to love him. I wanted to shake them or smack them for being so unfeeling and greedy. They forced him to sell everything that he held precious with their wants and pretend needs. It was a touching story and I could really see the things that Balzac described. Very good read. 

Pڲere Goriot = Old Goriot

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Balzac's 1834 King Lear-esque novel here gets a little fresh air breathed into it by Burton Raffel, who won the 1991 French-American Translation Prize. Read full review

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Contents

I
v
II
1
III
22
IV
38
V
47
VI
61
VII
68
VIII
84
XII
168
XIII
191
XIV
212
XV
233
XVI
257
XVII
276
XVIII
298
XIX
320

IX
109
X
121
XI
145

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Page 170 - You are laughing at me, without knowing what I mean. Have you read Rousseau?" "Yes." "Do you remember the place where he asks the reader what he would do, if he could become rich by killing an old mandarin in China, by the sole act of his will, without stirring from Paris?
Page xi - Consequently, instruction, or, to speak more correctly, religious education, is the great principle of the life of Society, the only means of diminishing the total of evil and augmenting the total of good in human life. Thought, the fountain of all good and of all evil, cannot be trained, mastered, and directed except by religion; and the only possible religion is Christianity, which created the modern world and will preserve it.
Page ii - ... conscience and heart than do their essays and stories. There is in him more than Gallic blood. He is the greatest of novelists, unmatched in his guild or kind as a social philosopher, and unsurpassed in his literary style. As a romance- writer he has no peer as yet in the English tongue.
Page 320 - ... I don't stir from hence till all is right. My birds are safe locked in their cages; my wife has got the babe, to keep her company. What say you, Signore Capellano?" And Ludovico's garrulity having been silenced by the almoner, by a motion of the hand, the poor fellow stationed himself in silence at the foot of the bed, with his eyes fixed on the dying man; retaining his very breath in the anxiousness of his watchfulness for the event.
Page xiii - ... sensualists. They are mistaken. I put no faith in any indefinite advancement of Society ; but I believe in the development and progress of the individual human being. Those who find in me a disposition to look on man as a complete being are strangely deceived. Seraphita is my answer to this accusation. In copying the whole of society, and in trying to seize its likeness from the midst of the seething struggle, it necessarily happens that more of evil than of good is shown. Thus some portion of...
Page 166 - Pere Goriot was stirred out of himself. Never till now had Eugene seen him thus lighted up by the passion of paternity. We may here remark on the infiltrating, transforming power of an over-mastering emotion. However coarse the fibre of the individual, let him be held by a strong and genuine affection, and he exhales, as it were, an essence which illuminates his features, inspires his gestures, and gives cadence to his voice.
Page vii - If Buffon achieved a great work when he put together in one book the whole scheme of zoology, is there not a work of the same kind to be done for Society? . . . There are as many different men as there are species in zoology. The differences between a soldier, a workman, a merchant, a sailor, a poet, a beggar, a priest, though more difficult to decipher, are at least as marked as those which separate the wolf, the lion, the ass, the crow, the shark...
Page xvii - To paint the three or four thousand salient figures of an epoch — for that is about the number of types presented by the generation of which this human comedy is the contemporary and the exponent, this number of figures, of characters, this multitude of portraits, needed frames. Out of this necessarily grew the classification of my work into scenes. Under these heads I have classed all those studies of manners and morals which form the general history of society ... If the meaning of my work is...
Page 150 - I, the King," — which begins at the throne, but echoes from every well-born gentleman and gentlewoman. Eugene had trusted too implicitly to the generous impulses of women. He had signed in good faith the charming covenant whose first article proclaims the equality of all noble hearts. Kindness given and received aright, and knitting two hearts into one, is a thing of heaven, as rare in this world as a perfect love; both are the overflow of only very rare and beautiful souls. Rastignac was bent...
Page ii - ... of fiction, who most profoundly knows and most subtly appreciates their sex in its strength and in its weakness. Men whose critical judgment is widely and worthily respected have declared that he is the deepest and truest observer of human nature whom France has produced since the time of Moliere. Unquestionably he ranks as one of the few great geniuses who appear by ones and twos, in century after century of authorship, and who leave their mark ineff aceably on the literature of their age.

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