Pere Goriot

Front Cover
Signet Classic, 1981 - Fathers and daughters - 284 pages
4 Reviews
""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."

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Review: Père Goriot (La Comédie Humaine)

User Review  - Tim Mcclellan - Goodreads

Read in French for exams and was heavy going but once my French was better I read this through in a couple if days. The twists and turns in the plot show that little changes in two hundred years ... Read full review

Review: Père Goriot (La Comédie Humaine)

User Review  - Hrhh - Goodreads

Absolutely delicious reading. Don't be fooled by the fairly sedate beginning, in which the stage is slowly and carefully set for the scandal and intrigue that follow. Not for the sentimental; Balzac offers bitter insights about marriage, family and love in early 19th century France. Read full review

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About the author (1981)

Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) worked for three years in a lawyer’s office, preparing to practice law, but in 1819, he devoted himself to writing. His early stories were hackwork published under various pseudonyms. In 1829, he published La Dernier Chouan, the first story to bear his name and his first success. Over the next twenty years, Balzac’s literary output was prodigious: three or four novels a year, sometimes more. All became part of La Comédie Humaine, a panorama of the whole of French society, some of the most important works of this series being Eugénie Grandet (1833) and Père Goriot (1834). He also wrote plays and the popular Droll Stories (1833).
 
Henry Reed (1914-86) was a noted poet, translator, and writer of radio plays. In addition to Père Goriot, his translations include Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac. His poems were published in two volumes, A Map of Verona and Lessons of the War.
 
Peter Brooks is the author of a number of books, including Reading for the Plot, The Melodramatic Imagination, and Henry James Goes to Paris. He was a longtime professor of comparative literature and French at Yale University and University Professor at the University of Virginia.

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