Read Unconscious Comedians by Honoré de Balzac Free Online
Book Title: Unconscious Comedians|
Date of issue: November 16th 2005
ISBN 13: 9781406502169
The author of the book: Honoré de Balzac
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 652 KB
Edition: Dodo Press
Read full description of the books Unconscious Comedians:One doesn't frequently associate Balzac with humor, but stories like The Unconscious Comedians can make one change one's mind. This novelette is the story of a manufacturer from Roussillon named Gazonal who seeks help from his cousin Leon de Lora, a successful painter, in a lawsuit that is going badly. Along with fellow wag Bixiou, Leon de Lora shows his cousin from the provinces what Paris is really like.
As Gazonal becomes increasingly confused by the seeming madness of how influenced is curried in Paris, the painter tells him:"You don't know anything about Paris. Ask it for a hundred thousand francs to realize an idea that will be useful to humanity,—the steam-engine for instance,—and you'll die, like Salomon de Caux, at Bicetre [the lunatic asylum where the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned]; but if the money is wanted for some paradoxical absurdity, Parisians will annihilate themselves and their fortune for it. It is the same with systems as it is with material things. Utterly impracticable newspapers have consumed millions within the last fifteen years. What makes your lawsuit so hard to win, is that you have right on your side, and on that of the prefect there are (so you suppose) secret motives."Or, to paraphrase Ecclesiastes, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
This is one of Balzac's most approachable stories. Although it involves a couple dozen regular characters from the Comédie Humaine, it is easily understood by newbies and does not require any previous knowledge. Just sit back and enjoy.
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 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 died five months later.
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