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Cousin Pons (La Comédie Humaine)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  807 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
One of the last works of Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), Cousin Pons is the second part of a two-part work know as The Poor Relations. Its complement is Cousin Bette.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Wildside Press (first published 1847)
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Eίναι το τρίτο βιβλίο του Μπαλζάκ που διαβάζω και δηλώνω φανατική της γραφής του και της δραματουργίας του. Σε αυτό το μυθιστόρημα ο Γάλλος συγγραφέας θα μας μιλήσει για την Τέχνη, την Φιλία, την μανία (που είναι η ευτυχία στο επίπεδο του ιδεατού), την απληστία, την φιλοδοξία και τον μέγα δυνάστη του Παρισιού της εποχής του, το Χρήμα. Το μυθιστόρημα αυτό το περιγράφει σαν την ‘’ιδιωτική ιστορία των εθνών’’( όπως και κάφε κεφάλαιο της Ανθρώπινης Κωμωδίας).
Το γράφω με κεφαλαίο γιατί ο Μπαλζάκ σε κ
Sep 22, 2016 Warwick marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
One of the words to make an appearance in the OED's latest update is the acronym ‘YOLO’, which, the editors note,

is traced back to its antecedent, the axiomatic you only live once (first used in a nineteenth-century English translation of Balzac) […].

Well who saw that coming. Thanks to the magic of Google Books you can see the relevant passage:

Or, comme les salaires de Cibot produisaient environ sept à huit cent francs en moyenne par an, les époux se faisaient, avec leurs étrennes, un revenu de
Mar 15, 2017 Paradoxe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Μπορεί ένα βιβλίο 170 ετών να κρύψει τα χρόνια του;

Νομίζω εξαρτάται απ’ το ποιος το ‘χει γράψει και ορισμένες φορές απ’ το τι έχει ζήσει. Όταν ο συγγραφέας είναι ο Μπαλζάκ, το ποιος υπερκαλύπτεται. Όσον αφορά το τι έχει ζήσει, έχουν γίνει διάφορα γνωστά για το Μπαλζάκ, λιγότερο ή περισσότερο κινηματογραφικά κι ενίοτε ωραιοποιημένα με κάποιο φινίρισμα. Πάντοτε ήταν άριστος ανατόμος της ψυχικής δομής και της κοινωνικά ηθικής ταυτότητας των χαρακτήρων του, ωστόσο εδώ υπάρχουν κάποια πράγματα που μα
Oct 13, 2015 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death, it is often said, is the end of a journey, but few people know how apt this simile is in Paris.

Much like Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich, Cousin Pons is a meditation on mortality. Balzac's portrait is more cynical than mournful. The warmth of affection between the two friends is effaced by the calculating menace of those surrounding them. The structures of jurisprudence and medicine appear predatory. Despite that, there is Pons and his faithful Schmucke. There is much to admire and empathize in the
Aug 28, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francia, ebook, classici
Più Balzac di così si muore

Si tratta di una delle ultime opere scritte da Balzac, che può ritenersi come un sunto dei temi delle sue opere letterarie e, di fondo, della sua visione del mondo. Al centro della storia c’è una collezione di squisite opere d’arte posseduta da un musicista di scarso successo appesantito da un fisico grottesco che non gli ha mai attirato sguardi femminili, ma estimatore dell'arte ed amante del bello, Pons: attorno ad essa si scatena l’avidità generale, come un raccapri
May 13, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I have jumped around quite a bit while reading Balzac’s The Human Comedy, starting with The Unknown Masterpiece and Gambara, and then going back to what is probably his best known work, Père Goriot. Last year was my year of Shakespeare. This is my year of Proust. I think that my next ambitious literary reading endeavor is to immerse myself in the entirety of Balzac’s Human Comedy, that immense and impressive collection of nearly 100 works.

It is well-known that Balzac had an addiction
Aug 02, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2008 Meen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The fiction-weary
Recommended to Meen by: Madame me l'a donné.
For the past couple years I've had a lot of trouble reading fiction. It was like everything I read just fell flat. I wondered if it was just that I had become such a skeptic in the rest of my life that I could no longer suspend disbelief enough to really buy into something make-believe. Now, I was going through a lot of crap personally, so lots of stress, and I don't know why that would inhibit my ability to escape into a story, but I thought maybe it did. Whatever it was, I just ended up readin ...more
Meghan Fidler
Feb 19, 2012 Meghan Fidler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vittorio Ducoli
Jan 02, 2013 Vittorio Ducoli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ieri e oggi

Il cugino Pons è uno degli ultimi romanzi scritti dal nostro, pochi anni prima della morte. E la morte, quasi Balzac la sentisse vicina, è uno dei grandi protagonisti del romanzo.
L'altro, il principale, vero e proprio leit-motif di tutta la Comédie, è l'avidità, la sete di denaro e potere che muove praticamente tutti i personaggi del libro. Gli unici che non ne sono affetti sono proprio Pons e il suo grande amico Schmucke: sono artisti, estranei ad un mondo che misura tutto in base al
Jun 19, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Balzac, Honore de. COUSIN PONS. (1848). ****
This novel was Balzac’s counterpoint to “Cousin Bette.” In this story, we get to examine the life of Cousin Pons, an unassuming man in his early sixties whose hobby, for many years now, was the purchase and collection of paintings and decorative arts. He didn’t have much money, so he was always on the lookout for bargains – where the seller didn’t know the value of what he had to sell, or where the piece was so obscured by dirt and grime that only his
Dec 30, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, c19th, france
Oh dear, poor old Cousin Pons, victim of one treachery after another! This is one of Balzac's very best, intricately plotted with superb characterisation. The women, Mme Camusot de Marville and Mme Cibot are as malevolent as Balzac knows how, and the assortment of lawyers, doctors, and sly dealers in antiquities are as greedy and dishonest as the women. As for Schmucke - well named indeed.
My only reservation is the anti-Semitic characterisation of M Magus. I have encountered this before in Balza
I was loving this, until a constant barrage of anti-Semitic comments put me off. You can see some of them in my updates, and I don't intend to go into it in detail here. I am aware of the period he was writing in but that is no excuse.
Kathleen Wells
Feb 21, 2013 Kathleen Wells rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars - incredible book - please read after/before Cousin Bette(another 5 star read in my view)
Suzanne Macartney
great beginning. I laughed out loud. Will get back to some time.
Jul 18, 2013 Mehdi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully-executed classic from the best novelist of the 19th century
Jul 31, 2011 Eliza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Balzac! A great story with a sad but realistic ending. Very good suspense and drama packing into one little neighborhood in Paris.
Oct 26, 2016 Sunjay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been lucky to have Balzac show me the ropes throughout my life. Lost Illusions warned me off a career in journalism and get rich quick schemes. Old Goriot showed me how society preys upon the elderly for cash to finance its own grand ventures. Eugenie Grandet - beware those who want to marry you for your money. So it's only fitting that Cousin Pons, Balzac's last major work, gives me a heads up on how the unsuspecting get screwed making funeral arrangements and inheriting an estate. With a ...more
Jackson Cyril
Feb 01, 2017 Jackson Cyril rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-history
Esta obra, si se le recortaran unas cuántas páginas y fuera al grano, sería una novela perfecta. El primo Pons es un músico viejecillo, que viste de forma anticuada, que siempre ha sido feo y no ha tenido nunca a nadie, y que intenta aliviar su frustración acumulando antigüedades y dándose grandes banquetes. El problema es que es pobre como una rata, así que tiene que rastrear cielo y tierra para encontrar una ganga que se pueda permitir, y tiene que hacer mil equilibrios para poder colarse en c ...more
Agnes Fontana
Jan 28, 2016 Agnes Fontana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le cousin Pons forme avec la Cousine Bette le diptyque des "parents pauvres" au sein de la Comédie humaine. Cousin issu de germains de la première madame Camusot, musicien fin et sensible mais oublié, cachetonnant dans un théâtre, collectionneur maniaque trouvant une consolation dans la contemplation de l'art, Pons est perdu par son autre manie : la gourmandise, qui le fait quémander des soupers fins chez ses riches parents au lieu de se contenter de ses dîners en tête-à-tête avec son bon ami Sc ...more
Tra tutti i libri che ho letto di Balzac, questo è sicuramente il più tetro e pessimista. Il pensiero della morte vi aleggia continuamente, l'interesse e l'arrivismo di tutte le classi sociali, con il loro perbenismo ipocrita, calpestano perfino il valore più sacro di tutti: la vita. La parte più bella è sicuramente quella dell'amicizia tra i due musicisti, la descrizione del loro affetto, della collezione artistica di Pons e delle sue debolezze. La sua stessa vita è una piccola tragedia: troppo ...more
My first Balzac. Definitely a good writer.
[Though I am going on a Dutch translation since I can't read French... - Neef Pons]
It's harrowing for me to read in such great detail how normal ordinary people start manipulating and deceiving in order to cheat an honest but vulnerable man out of his possessions, hastening his death.

Almost unbearable to read 300 pages of this inhumane behavior. But Balzac describes it all very plausibly and makes good points about the slippery slope -- how easy it is, o
Sylvain Pons, now in his sixties, is a dear sweet soul, a musician. Pons has never married, feeling he didn't have the funds to support a family. His passion is collecting curios. Almost his only entertainment is a weekly dinner with his cousin Camusot de Marville. His cousin's wife however is not fond of Pons and wishes to exclude him from her home. His best friend is Wilhelm Schmucke, a German musician, also kind and sincere. Cibot is the porter in the house in which they live. His wife, Madam ...more
Leonard Klossner
Perfect through and through. Balzac masterfully fashions a web of deceit, subterfuge and betrayal between a network of Parisians who are of the utmost virtue until they are presented with a scheme to con their way into inheriting Pons's fortune. Once one such scheme is devised between a group of co-conspirators, one among the alliance secretly employs the service of another, intending to con the original alliance out of the money. The plot is dense with numerous methods of betrayal, and Balzac o ...more
May 12, 2016 Cole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human-comedy
Certainly not my favorite of the Balzacs that I have read so far. I really struggled to get into this one for about the first half. Once it sort of devolved into a conspiracy to re-direct an inheritance it really got going into the type of story that intrigues me most with Balzac.
Definitely contains echoes of "Pere Goriot" in it's cynical view of Parisian funeral proceedings as a long haul of exploitative bureaucracy. Also, Schmucke is probably the most endearing character I've come across in a
Aug 01, 2007 Ali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-literature
Le Cousin Pons (1847)
پسرعمو پونس، حکایتی ست کم و بیش مشابه "دخترعمو بت"، اما در بعدی مردانه! این دو که از آخرین رمان های بالزاک هستند، کامل کننده ی یکدیگرند. سیلوین پونس نوازنده، با نوازنده ی آلمانی همان ارکستر، ویلهلم شموک، دوستانی صمیمی اند. پونس، برخلاف شموک، دو نقطه ضعف دارد؛ جمع آوری آثار هنری، و علاقه ی مفرط به غذای خوشمزه. شموک اما تنها یک نقطه ضعف دارد؛ علاقه ی مفرط به پونس. پونس، پیش از مرگی زودرس، همه ی دار و ندارش را به شموک می بخشد. شموک اما با قلبی شکسته می میرد، چرا که با مرگ پونس،
Giuseppe Paola
Oct 26, 2016 Giuseppe Paola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought, kobo
Mi è piaciuta molto la storia e ho seguito con trepidazione le vicende del protagonista e del suo amico. Le trame ordite intorno a loro sono terribili - fatte da persone orribili - ma ancora attuali.
Forse un po' prolisso, ma si legge volentieri e non vedevo l'ora di capire come sarebbe finito.
E' uno di quei libri che, dopo averlo letto, ti lascia ancora la mente vagare nelle sue pagine, un libro che non si scorda!
Feb 12, 2015 Tomek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Książka straszliwa przez bezlitosne odmalowanie najniższych ludzkich namiętności: chciwości i ambicji... Sugestywny język Balzaca (a może nawet bardziej Boya!) przynosi czytelnikowi niepokój, smutek i złość. Wspaniałe, poetyckie portrety postaci. Do tego opis stosunków społecznych XIX-wiecznej Francji uzmysławia nam, że żadna ze współczesnych patologii społecznych nie jest niczym nowym... Wszystko już było, choć rzadko tak wspaniale opisane!
Steve Gordon
Aug 14, 2014 Steve Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Frasier, calm and cold as a coiled snake, had his flattened head thrust forward, and his pose was like that which painters give to Mephistopheles. Each of these three varieties of miser, thirsting for gold just as the devils in hell thirst for the dew of paradise, directed his own special glance at the owner of so much wealth..." Sublime, as always M. Balzac.
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Honoré 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 o
More about Honoré de Balzac...

Other Books in the Series

La Comédie Humaine (1 - 10 of 88 books)
  • La Maison Du Chat-Qui-Pelote
  • The Ball At Sceaux
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  • The Purse
  • Modeste Mignon
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  • A Second Home
  • Domestic Peace

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