Le Contrat de mariage
Le Contrat de mariage is an 1835 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac and included in the Scènes de la vie privée section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Set in Bordeaux, it describes the marriage of a Parisian gentleman, Paul de Manerville, to the beautiful but spoiled Spanish heiress, Natalie Evangelista. Paul de Manerville is a gentleman born of wealth and nobility who decides, over the objections of his worldly friend de Marsay, to give up his elegant bachelor’s life and get married at the age of twenty-seven, he falls in love with a beautiful girl named Natalie Evangelista, the daughter of a proud Spanish matriarch whose financial assets have been diminishing since the death of her husband. Too naïve and full of illusions to see the hidden motives of Natalie Evangelista’s mother, who wants Paul’s wealth in order to procure for her daughter the lavish lifestyle she believes to be her birthright, or to recognize that his bride’s loyalty is with her mother and not with him, Paul gets himself stuck in a frigid and childless marriage.
So strong are his illusions, that at the end of the novel he remains unaware of his wife’s infidelities. A Marriage Contract is one of Balzac’s great studies of human illusions, in this case the illusions of married life. Paul is a subtly conveyed example of the husband, "the voluntary dupe" who prefers "to suffer rather than complain." The novel is notable for treating not only the courtship leading up to the marriage, but the negotiations which follow. A Marriage Contract has one of Balzac’s classic dissections of the techniques and wiles of professional negotiators; the Marriage Contract at Project Gutenberg
La Comédie humaine
La Comédie humaine is the title of Honoré de Balzac's multi-volume collection of interlinked novels and stories depicting French society in the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy. The Comédie humaine consists of 46 unfinished works, it does not include Balzac's five theatrical plays or his collection of humorous tales, the "Contes drolatiques". The title of the series is considered an allusion to Dante's Divine Comedy. While Balzac sought the comprehensive scope of Dante, his title indicates the worldly, human concerns of a realist novelist; the stories are placed with characters reappearing in multiple stories. The Comédie humaine was the result of a slow evolution; the first works of Balzac were written without any global plan, but by 1830 Balzac began to group his first novels into a series entitled "Scènes de la vie privée". In 1833, with the publication of Eugénie Grandet, Balzac envisioned a second series entitled "Scènes de la vie de province". Most in this same year Balzac came upon the idea of having characters reappear from novel to novel, the first novel to use this technique was Le Père Goriot.
In a letter written to Madame Hanska in 1834, Balzac decided to reorganize his works into three larger groups, allowing him to integrate his "La physiologie du mariage" into the ensemble and to separate his most fantastic or metaphysical stories — like La Peau de chagrin and Louis Lambert — into their own "philosophical" section. The three sections were: "Etudes de Moeurs au XIXe siècle" – including the various "Scènes de la vie..." "Etudes philosophiques" "Etudes analytiques" – including the "Physiologie du mariage"In this letter, Balzac went on to say that the "Etudes de Moeurs" would study the effects of society and touch on all genders, social classes and professions of people. Meanwhile, the "Etudes philosophiques" would study the causes of these effects; the third "analytical" section would study the principles behind these phenomena. Balzac explained that while the characters in the first section would be "individualités typisées", the characters of the "Etudes philosophiques" would be "types individualisés".
By 1836, the "Etudes de Moeurs" was divided into six parts: "Scènes de la vie privée" "Scènes de la vie de province" "Scènes de la vie parisienne" "Scènes de la vie politique "Scènes de la vie militaire" "Scènes de la vie de campagne"In 1839, in a letter to his publisher, Balzac mentioned for the first time the expression Comédie humaine, this title is in the contract he signed in 1841. The publication of the Comédie humaine in 1842 was preceded by an important preface or "avant-propos" describing his major principles and the work's overall structure. For this edition, novels which had appeared in serial form were stricken of their chapter titles. Balzac's intended collection was never finished. In 1845, Balzac wrote a complete catalogue of the ensemble which includes works he started or envisioned but never finished. In some cases, Balzac moved a work around between different sections. Balzac's works were slow to be translated into English because they were perceived as unsuitable for Victorian readers.
John Wilson Croker attacked it in the April 1836 issue of the Quarterly Review, excoriating Balzac for immorality, saying "a baser, filthier scoundrel never polluted society …" The consensus of the day was that only Eugénie Grandet, Le Curé de Tours, Le Médecin de campagne and a few of the early short stories were suitable for females. Individual works appeared, but not until the 1890s did "complete" versions appear, from Ellen Marriage in London and from G. B. Ives and others in Philadelphia. In 1842, Balzac wrote a preface to the whole ensemble in which he explained his method and the collection's structure. Motivated by the work of biologists Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Georges Cuvier and most Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Balzac explains that he seeks to understand "social species" in the way a biologist would analyse "zoological species", to accomplish this he intends to describe the interrelations of men and things; the importance of the woman is underlined by Balzac's contention that, while a biologist may gloss over the differences between a male and female lion, "in Society the woman is not the female of the man".
Balzac gives an extensive list of writers and works that influenced him, including Sir Walter Scott, François Rabelais and Miguel de Cervantes. He describes his writer's role as a "secretary", transcribing society's "history", he notes his desire to go behind the surface of events, to show the reasons and causes for social phenomena. Balzac professes his belief in two profound truths — religion and monarchy — and his concern for understanding the individual in the context o
La Bourse is a short story by the French novelist Honoré de Balzac. It was published in 1832 by Mame-Delaunay as one of the Scènes de la vie privée in La Comédie humaine. Editions of the work were brought out by Béchet in 1835 and by Charpentier in 1839, in both of which La Bourse was placed among the Scènes de la vie parisienne, it was, restored to the Scènes de la vie privée when Furne brought out the fourth and final edition in 1842. The young painter Hippolyte Schinner falls from a step-ladder while working in his atelier and is knocked unconscious; the noise of his fall alerts two of his neighbours, Adélaïde Leseigneur and her mother Madame de Rouville, who occupy the apartment below. The two women revive an acquaintance is struck up; the young painter falls in love with Adélaïde and over the following weeks he pays frequent visits to her apartment. There he is always warmly welcomed, but he cannot help noticing the unmistakable signs of poverty – a poverty that the two women are at obvious pains to hide.
Hippolyte's suspicions are aroused. The mother and her daughter have different surnames. Hippolyte discovers that Madame de Rouville's late husband was a naval captain who died at Batavia from wounds received in an engagement with an English vessel; the Comte de Kergarouet, is a former comrade of Baron de Rouville. Hippolyte offers to draw a portrait of Monsieur de Rouville, a fading sketch of whom is hanging in the apartment. Two months when the finished portrait is hung in Madame de Rouville's apartment, the Comte de Kergarouet offers Hippolyte 500 pistoles to have his own portrait painted in a similar style. Hippolyte, suspects that the old man is offering him the price of both portraits while paying for his own, he declines the offer. Despite his suspicions that the two women make are living in some mysterious and disreputable manner, Hippolyte continues his visits, for he is in love with Adélaïde. One day, as he is leaving the apartment, he realizes; the young man suspects he has been robbed by the women and he stops visiting them.
Over the following week he pines away. His colleagues seem to confirm his worst suspicions – that Adélaïde is a prostitute and Madame de Rouville her procuress, his mother notices that he is out of sorts. But a chance meeting on the stairs outside Adélaïde's apartment is enough to dispel all Hippolyte's suspicions, he decides. That evening he calls on the two women. Madame de Rouville suggests a game of cards. Hippolyte loses, when he reaches into his pocket for some money, he finds before him a purse which Adélaïde has slipped in front of him without his noticing it: "the poor child had the old one in her hand, and, to keep her countenance, was looking into it for the money to pay her mother; the blood rushed to Hippolyte's heart with such force. The new purse, substituted for his own, which contained his fifteen Louis d'or, was worked with gilt beads; the rings and tassels bore witness to Adélaïde's good taste, she had no doubt spent all her little hoard in ornamenting this pretty piece of work.
It was impossible to say with greater delicacy that the painter's gift could only be repaid by some proof of affection." There and Hipployte asks for Adélaïde's hand in marriage. Meanwhile Hippolyte's mother, having made inquiries about her son's condition and having learned of the whole affair, informs the Comte de Kergarouet of the malicious rumours surrounding the two women. Outraged, he explains to Madame Schinner that he loses intentionally at cards to Madame de Rouville because the Baronne's pride has left him none but these ingenious means of assisting her and her daughter in their poverty; the Comte de Kergarouet and Madame Schinner go round to Madame de Rouville's, arrive just in time to pronounce a benediction on the young lovers' engagement. In La Bourse, Balzac deals with a range of themes which he was to explore in great detail throughout La Comédie humaine: the arts. A great admirer of Eugène Delacroix, whom he was to use as a model for the character of Joseph Bridau, he depicts the act of artistic creation from every angle: the innovative and misunderstood painter.
Balzac misses an opportunity to illustrate his novels with references to famous paintings, La Bourse is no different: " Adelaide came behind the old gentleman's armchair and leaned her elbows on the back, unconsciously imitating the attitude given to Dido's sister by Guérin in his famous picture."Balzac deals brilliantly with those disciplines of the arts which are dear to him and which distinguish La Comédie humaine, treating them with a meticulousness and a precision which still astonish experts today: Sculpture: Sarrasine whose eponymous hero is a rebel genius. Music: Gambara, in, describ
La Maison du chat-qui-pelote
La Maison du chat-qui-pelote is a novel by Honoré de Balzac. It is the opening work in the Scènes de la vie privée, which comprises the first volume of Balzac's La Comédie humaine. First entitled Gloire et Malheur, this short novel was completed at Maffliers in October 1829 and published by Mame-Delaunay in 1830; the first edition was followed by four revised editions. The final edition, published by Furne in 1842, appeared under the title of La Maison du chat-qui-pelote and was itself corrected indefinitely; the idea for the story came from the haberdashery business run by the Sallambiers on the maternal side of Balzac's family. The work is dedicated to Mademoiselle Marie de Montheau; the artist Théodore de Sommervieux falls in love with Augustine Guillaume, the daughter of a conservative cloth merchant, whose house of business on the Rue Saint-Denis in Paris is known by sign of the Cat and Racket. Théodore, a winner of the Prix de Rome and a knight of the Legion of Honor, is famous for his interiors and chiaroscuro effects in imitation of the Dutch School.
He makes an excellent reproduction of the interior of the Cat and Racket, exhibited at the Salon alongside a strikingly modern portrait of Augustine. The affair blossoms with the help of Madame Guillaume's younger cousin Madame Roguin, acquainted with Théodore; the lovers become engaged, somewhat against the best wishes of Augustine's parents, who had intended her to marry Monsieur Guillaume's clerk Joseph Lebas. In 1808 Augustine marries Théodore at the local church of Saint-Leu; the marriage is not a happy one. Augustine is incapable of understanding him as an artist. Although she is more refined than her parents, her education and social standing leave her too far below the level of her husband to allow a meeting of minds to take place. Théodore's passion for her cools and she is treated with disdain by his fellow artists. Théodore instead finds a kindred soul in the Duchesse de Carigliano, to whom he gives the famous portrait of Augustine and to whom he becomes hopelessly attached, neglecting his rooms on the Rue des Trois-Frères.
Realizing after three years of unhappiness that her marriage is falling apart and having been informed by a malicious gossip of Théodore's attachment to the duchess, Augustine visits Madame de Carigliano not to ask her to give her back her husband's heart but to learn the arts by which it has been captured. The duchess warns her against trying to conquer a man's heart through love, which will only allow the husband to tyrannize over the wife. Augustine is shocked to learn; the duchess returns to Augustine her own portrait, telling her that if she cannot conquer her husband with this weapon, she is not a woman. Augustine, does not understand how to turn such a weapon against her husband, she hangs the portrait in her bedroom and dresses herself as she appears in it, believing that Théodore will see her once again as the young woman he fell in love with at the sign of the Cat and Racket. But when the artist sees the portrait hanging in her bedroom and asks how it came to be there, she foolishly reveals that it was returned to her by the Duchesse de Carigliano.
"You demanded it from her?" he asks. "I did not know that she had it", replies Augustine. Théodore realizes that his wife is incapable of seeing the painting as he sees it - a consummate work of art. Instead of falling in love with its subject, he regards its return as a slap in the face from his mistress, his vanity wounded, he destroys the portrait, vowing vengeance upon the duchess. By morning Augustine has become resigned to her fate, her loveless marriage comes to an end shortly thereafter when she dies of a broken heart at the age of twenty-seven. La Maison du chat-qui-pelote has been translated into English at least four times: as The Cat and Battledore by Philip Kent for Sampson Low in 1879, as At the Sign of the Cat and Racket by Clara Bell for the Saintsbury Edition of The Human Comedy in 1895, as Fame and Sorrow by Katharine Prescott Wormeley for Roberts Brothers in 1896, as The House of the Cat and Racket by May Tomlinson for George Barrie & Son/Caxton Press in 1896. Bell's translation is based on the corrected Furne edition of Balzac's works, considered definitive.
Repertory of the Comedie Humaine At the Sign of the Cat and Racket at Project Gutenberg Original French text of La Maison du chat-qui-pelote La Maison du chat-qui-pelote, audio version La Maison du Chat qui Pelote with 1300+ English annotations at Tailored Texts
Gobseck is an 1830 novella by French author Honoré de Balzac and included in the Scènes de la vie privée section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Gobseck first appeared in outline form in La Mode in March 1830 under the title l’Usurier, in August 1830 in the periodical Le Voleur; the actual novel appeared in a volume published by Mame-Delaunay under the title les Dangers de l’inconduite. This novel would appear in 1835 under the title of Papa Gobseck in a volume published by Madame Charles-Béchet; the definitive title of Gobseck would appear in 1842 in the Furne edition of La Comédie humaine. The plot of Gobseck, set during the French Restoration, concerns née Goriot. Anastasie de Restaud is the daughter of a rich bourgeois who has married into the aristocracy, but is bored by her marriage, loveless and passionless. Anastasie de Restaud has an affair with Maxime de Trailles, spends her fortune on de Trailles, she turns to the usurer Jean-Esther van Gobseck for financial assistance. Maître Derville acts as Gobseck’s lawyer.
Subsequently, both Anastasie's marriage is destroyed and her family fortune is lost. "'Daddy Gobseck,' I began,'is intimately convinced of the truth of the principle which he takes for a rule of life. In his opinion, money is a commodity which you may sell cheap or dear, according to circumstances, with a clear conscience. A capitalist, by charging a high rate of interest, becomes in his eyes a secured partner by anticipation. Apart from the peculiar philosophical views of human nature and financial principles, which enable him to behave like a usurer, I am persuaded that, out of his business, he is the most loyal and upright soul in Paris. There are two men in him. Gobseck, Czechoslovak TV play, 1985 Gobseck public domain audiobook at LibriVox
1847 in literature
This article presents lists of literary events and publications in 1847. January – Vanity Fair: Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society begins serial publication by Punch magazine in yellow covers with illustrations by the author, William Makepeace Thackeray, for the first time writing under his own name. March–April – Ivan Goncharov's debut novel A Common Story is published in Sovremennik. April – Robert Browning settles with his wife and fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence. June Elizabeth Gaskell's first published work of fiction, the story "Life in Manchester: Libbie Marsh's Three Eras", appears in Howitt's Journal of Literature and Popular Progress under the pen name Cotton Mather Mills. Hans Christian Andersen begins his first visit to Britain. June 10 – Fictional date at the end of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, presumed to be that of the novel's completion. July – London publisher Thomas Cautley Newby accepts for publication Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey.
August 7–24 – Charlotte Brontë completes the manuscript of Jane Eyre at Haworth and sends it to her publisher after he has rejected The Professor. September 16 – William Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon in England is bought by the United Shakespeare Company for preservation. October 19 – Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is published in London by Smith, Elder & Co. in 3 volumes. November – Dmitry Grigorovich's anti-serfdom novel Anton Goremyka is published in Sovremennik with its politically sensitive last scene rewritten by a censor. November 1 – John Maddison Morton's one-act farce Box and Cox opens at the Lyceum Theatre, London with John Pritt Harley and John Baldwin Buckstone in the title roles. December 14 – Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey are published in a 3-volume set under the pen names of Ellis and Acton Bell in London by T. C. Newby. Wuthering Heights will be Emily's only published novel. London publisher E. Churton brings out the first six of George Sand's books to be issued in English, the translations being by Matilda Hays, Eliza Ashurst and Rev. Edmund Larken.
Honoré de Balzac – Le Cousin Pons Anne Brontë – Agnes Grey Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre Emily Brontë – Wuthering Heights Benjamin Disraeli – Tancred Alexandre Dumas – The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later Ivan Goncharov – A Common Story Catherine Gore – Castles in The Air Dmitry Grigorovich – Anton Goremyka Eliza Lynn Linton – Azeth, The Egyptian Herman Melville – Omoo G. W. M. Reynolds – Faust: A Romance of the Secret Tribunals George Sand – Le Péché de M. Antoine Harriet Anne Scott – The Hen-Pecked Husband The Sobieski Stuarts – Tales of the Century: or Sketches of the romance of history between the years 1746 and 1846 Eugène Sue Martin l'enfant trouvé ou Mémoires d'un valet de chambre Les Sept pêchés capitaux William Makepeace Thackeray – Vanity Fair Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna – The System Anthony Trollope – The Macdermots of Ballycloran Frederick Marryat – The Children of the New Forest John Baldwin Buckstone The Flowers of the Forest The Green Bushes Gustav Freytag – Graf Waldemar Heinrich Heine – Atta Troll Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Evangeline Edgar Allan Poe – Ulalume Raja Ali Haji or his sister Saleha – Syair Abdul Muluk Christina Rossetti – Verses by Christina G. Rossetti Alfred Tennyson – The Princess Hans Christian Andersen – The Fairy Tale of My Life William Wells Brown – Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself Andrew Jackson Davis – The Principles of Nature Søren Kierkegaard – Works of Love Karl Marx – The Poverty of Philosophy William H. Prescott – A History of the Conquest of Peru January 6 – Milovan Glišić, Serbian dramatist and translator January 9 – Oyyarathu Chandu Menon, Indian Malayalam-language novelist April 2 – Flora Annie Steel, English writer April 7 – Jens Peter Jacobsen, Danish novelist April 10 – Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian American newspaperman August 20 – Bolesław Prus, Polish novelist September 2 – George R. Sims, English writer September 22 – Alice Meynell, English poet November 8 – Bram Stoker, Irish novelist and theater manager December 26 – Hugh Conway, English novelist Unknown date – Maria Fetherstonhaugh, English novelist February 8 – George Walker, English Gothic novelist May 4 – Alexandre Vinet, Swiss critic and theologian August 28 – Eugène Bourgeois, French dramatist September 16 – Grace Aguilar, English novelist October 13 – Johann Heinrich van Ess, German theologian
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