""Pere Goriot" can rightly be regarded as one of the greatest of Balzac's novels, " writes Henry Reed of this masterful study of a father whose sacrifices for his daughters have become a maniacal compulsion. This novel marks Balzac's "real entree" into La Comedie Humaine, his series of almost one hundred novels and short stories, which was to depict "human feelings, social crises, the whole pell-mell of civilization." In Pere Goriot the great novelist probes the "bourgeois tragedy" of money, power, and despair from two different directions. Through parental love Goriot is willingly reduced to poverty so that he may satisfy the demands of his well-married but debt-ridden daughters. On the other hand, Rastignac, the impoverished young man of integrity who is attracted to one of Goriot's daughters, becomes infected with ambition and succumbs to the fever for money and social success. Victor Hugo called Balzac" a man of genius, " and Stefan Zweig wrote that "Pere Goriot" shows the "supreme architectonic skill with which Balzac...worked out in his mind to the last detail his vast structural design of the multifarious forms of human society."