The Physiology of Marriage and Pierre Grassou, Part 3

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Cosimo, Inc., Dec 1, 2005 - Fiction - 340 pages
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Who is the husband who can now sleep quietly beside his young and pretty consort, after learning that at least three bachelors are on the lookout to rob him; that, if they have not already encroached upon his property, they regard his bride as their legitimate prey, who, sooner or later, will fall victim to them, whether by force, by ruse, or by her own free will, and that it is impossible that, some day, they will not be victorious!-from "Meditation IV: On the Virtuous Woman""I am not deep," Honor de Balzac is reported have quipped, "but very wide." His satiric width is on full display in The Physiology of Marriage, a sociological essay on matrimony masquerading as a novel... or is it a novel masquerading as a sociological essay on matrimony? Bold and cynical-or so his contemporaries perceived-this 1829 work is startling modern in its spirit and approach, a dryly witty expose of the underlying tensions of the enduring battle of the sexes.Also in this volume: Balzac's short tale "Pierre Grassou," an 1840 story about a terrible painter who uses marriage to the daughter of a wealthy art collector as a stepping stone to success.French writer HONOR DE BALZAC (1799-1850) is generally credited with the invention of realism in fiction, and his novels are considered among the greatest ever written in any language. His grand La Com die Humaine consists of a vast array of novels and short stories depicting French society of his time, among them Louis Lambert (1832), Les Illusions perdues (1837), and La Cousine Bette (1847).
 

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Page 9 - Balzac. matrimony arises from mere trifles, it would be wise in every young married man to enter into an agreement with his wife that in all disputes the party who was most convinced they were right should always surrender the victory. By this means both would be more forward to give up the cause.

About the author (2005)

Born on May 20, 1799, Honore de Balzac is considered one of the greatest French writers of all time. Balzac studied in Paris and worked as a law clerk while pursuing an unsuccessful career as an author. He soon accumulated enormous debts that haunted him most of his life. A prolific writer, Balzac would often write for 14 to-16 hours at a time. His writing is marked by realistic portrayals of ordinary, but exaggerated characters and intricate detail. In 1834, Balzac began organizing his works into a collection called The Human Comedy, an attempt to group his novels to present a complete social history of France. Characters in this project reappeared throughout various volumes, which ultimately consisted of approximately 90 works. Some of his works include Cesar Birotteau, Le Cousin Pons, Seraphita, and Le Cousine Bette. Balzac wed his lifelong love, Eveline Hanska in March 1850 although he was gravely ill at the time. Balzac died in August of that year.

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