Read Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac Free Online
Book Title: Cousin Bette|
The author of the book: Honoré de Balzac
Edition: Knopf Publishing Group
Date of issue: 2009
ISBN 13: 9780307291691
Loaded: 1686 times
Reader ratings: 7.9
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 397 KB
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Set in the flourishing Paris of the early 1800s, Cousin Bette is considered one of Balzac's greatest novels and an essential work in his Comédie humaine. With his characteristically scrupulous attention to detail, Balzac paints a historical backdrop that captures the significant changes in industry and economy faced by post-Napoleonic France, a world in which Balzac saw rampant greed and selfishness. These vices become the catalysts for Balzac's title character to concoct a devilish plan to take revenge on her condescending family, turning their own shortcomings against them. Lisbeth Fisher - or Cousin Bette, as she is referred to - has been repeatedly passed over in favor of her more beautiful cousin, Adeline Hulot. But when another member of the Hulot family marries one of Bette's former lovers, a jealous Bette attempts to manipulate the people and circumstances around her to bring down the entire Hulot clan. One of Balzac's most memorable characters and novels, Cousin Bette is a masterful mix of psychology and literature.
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Read information about the authorHonoré de Balzac was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.
Due to his keen observation of fine detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James and Jack Kerouac, as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.
An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting himself to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life, and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was apprenticed as a legal clerk, but he turned his back on law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician. He failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.
Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, he married Ewelina Hańska, his longtime paramour; he passed away five months later.
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