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Showing: 1-10 results of 108

INTRODUCTION I have sometimes wondered whether it was accident or intention which made Balzac so frequently combine early and late work in the same volume. The question is certainly insoluble, and perhaps not worth solving, but it presents itself once more in the present instance. L'Illustre Gaudissart is a story of 1832, the very heyday of Balzac's creative period, when even his pen could hardly keep up with the abundance of his fancy and the... more...

Had the author of the following play written it merely for the purpose of winning for it the universal praise which the journals have lavished upon his romances, and which perhaps transcended their merits, The Resources of Quinola would still have been an excellent literary speculation; but, when he sees himself the object of so much praise and so much condemnation, he has come to the conclusion that it is much more difficult to make successfully... more...

ACT I SCENE FIRST (A richly decorated drawing-room; on the walls are portraits of Napoleon I. and his son. The entry is by a large double glass door, which opens on a roofed veranda and leads by a short stairway to a park. The door of Pauline's apartments are on the right; those of the General and his wife are on the left. On the left side of the central doorway is a table, and on the right is a cabinet. A vase full of flowers stands by the... more...

CHAPTER I. PROLOGUE In the year 1800, toward the close of October, a foreigner, accompanied by a woman and a little girl, was standing for a long time in front of the palace of the Tuileries, near the ruins of a house recently pulled down, at the point where in our day the wing begins which was intended to unite the chateau of Catherine de Medici with the Louvre of the Valois. The man stood there with folded arms and a bowed head, which he... more...

Les Celibataires, the longest number of the original Comedie Humaine under a single title, next to Illusions perdues, is not, like that book, connected by any unity of story. Indeed, the general bond of union is pretty weak; and though it is quite true that bachelors and old maids are the heroes and heroines of all three, it would be rather hard to establish any other bond of connection, and it is rather unlikely that any one unprompted would fix... more...


SARRASINE I was buried in one of those profound reveries to which everybody, even a frivolous man, is subject in the midst of the most uproarious festivities. The clock on the Elysee-Bourbon had just struck midnight. Seated in a window recess and concealed behind the undulating folds of a curtain of watered silk, I was able to contemplate at my leisure the garden of the mansion at which I was passing the evening. The trees, being partly... more...

INTRODUCTION La Cousine Bette was perhaps the last really great thing that Balzac did—for Le Cousin Pons, which now follows it, was actually written before—and it is beyond all question one of the very greatest of his works. It was written at the highest possible pressure, and (contrary to the author's more usual system) in parts, without even seeing a proof, for the Constitutionnel in the autumn, winter, and early spring of... more...

FAREWELL "Come, Deputy of the Centre, come along! We shall have to mend our pace if we mean to sit down to dinner when every one else does, and that's a fact! Hurry up! Jump, Marquis! That's it! Well done! You are bounding over the furrows just like a stag!" These words were uttered by a sportsman seated much at his ease on the outskirts of the Foret de l'Isle-Adam; he had just finished a Havana cigar, which he had smoked while he waited for... more...

PROLOGUE Certain persons have reproached the Author for knowing no more about the language of the olden times than hares do of telling stories. Formerly these people would have been vilified, called cannibals, churls, and sycophants, and Gomorrah would have been hinted at as their natal place. But the Author consents to spare them the flowery epithets of ancient criticism; he contents himself with wishing not to be in their skin, for he would be... more...

THE FAIR IMPERIA The Archbishop of Bordeaux had added to his suite when going to the Council at Constance quite a good-looking little priest of Touraine whose ways and manner of speech was so charming that he passed for a son of La Soldee and the Governor. The Archbishop of Tours had willingly given him to his confrere for his journey to that town, because it was usual for archbishops to make each other presents, they well knowing how sharp are... more...