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Honoré de Balzac
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Sarrasine (La Comédie Humaine)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  836 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
The Library of Alexandria is an independent small business publishing house. We specialize in bringing back to live rare, historical and ancient books. This includes manuscripts such as: classical fiction, philosophy, science, religion, folklore, mythology, history, literature, politics and sacred texts, in addition to secret and esoteric subjects, such as: occult, freemas ...more
Kindle Edition, 59 pages
Published (first published 1830)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,475)
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Ernest-Jean Sarrasine was the son of a rich lawyer that, after many problems at school, decided to become an artist. He started to work as a sculptor and after winning a competition, he went on to Rome. There he entered the Argentina Theatre and met Zambinella, an Opera singer. From that moment, he was no longer the owner of his thoughts.
But his frantic thoughts outran his pencil. He met La Zambinella, spoke to her, entreated her, exhausted a thousand years of life and happiness with her, placin
Petra X
Overblown and boring. It was the equivalent of standing in front of an Old Master in an art gallery and being instructed by the enraptured guide to study the beautiful painting of the velvet folds of the curtains, just look at those brush strokes, see how he has captured the light... Yes, beautiful, can we move on now?
Apr 30, 2010 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a real treat. Right away, the opening sentence caught me eye.

“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.”

This author has a descriptive way with words. It is poetry

“There the loveliest, the wealthiest women in Paris, bearers of the proudest titles, moved hither and thither, fluttered from room to room in swarms, stately and gorgeous, dazzling with diamonds; flowers on their heads an
Left me with that empty feeling that very truthful writing often does. I didn't love the story - but must pay my respects to Balzac's insight. So much of our love and what we think of as our "identity" is a complete fraud. We don't know others, we don't really know ourselves, and we are blown about by every wind - whims, desires, fears - it's not a pretty existence. Balzac gets under the skin precisely, as with a scalpel.
Sep 05, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Balzac Yahoo Reading Group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristen Chavis
Apr 12, 2011 Kristen Chavis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac

Sarrasine is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful opera singer. Enchanted by her lovely voice, he cannot help but to try to meet her. He shows up at every performance and his love becomes known to the members of the Opera. When he finally meets her and gets to spend time with her, he finds that he is the butt of a joke that he doesn’t understand. This is further complicated by the fact that the story takes place in an old mansion. The story of Sarrasine is
Jun 21, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fiction
A lot going in this packed little read that begins slowly and builds to an exciting and dramatic crescendo. In brief, a layered story of Sarrasine, a man grown bored with life until he happens across the opera singer Zambinella. Passion and infatuation follow but things (predictably) aren't always what they seem...

(view spoiler)
Ernest-Jean Sarrasine's father was a wealthy attorney, but he went against his father's will and became a sculptor. He was a success in Paris, winning a prize and much praise. Sarrasine then goes to Rome, burning with ambition. He has only been in Rome a fortnight when he happens to pass the Argentina theatre at a time when there is an enormous crowd gathered to see Zambinella and Jomelli. His first experience hearing Italian music plunges him into an ecstasy of delight. When he sees Zambinella ...more
Nov 15, 2008 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this in French and it may now be in my top 10.... I'll update more once I have finished it in English.....update:

Alright, this is officially one of my favorite long short stories/novellas of all time. It's everything: the impossibility of desire, the slipperiness of gender, the seedy underbelly of the middle class, the way in which desire and art intertwine, and opera divas. I am going to re-visit S/Z, just so I can spend more time with this text. It's completely sumptuous and an
Stand By Me
Oscuro, inusuale e difficile da comprendere: Sarrasine è una piccola opera capace di trasportare il lettore in ambientazioni esistenti ma al limite della dimensione soprannaturale caratterizzate da personaggi ambigui e misteriosi.
Nonostante la grande brevità in questo libro sono presenti due racconti che, nonostante sembrino tra loro scollegati, sono uniti da un'enigmatica figura.
Una lettura che, nonostante sia davvero veloce, può impressionare il lettore con un'atmosfera veramente impagabile la
Dec 29, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francia, classici
Un breve racconto dal significato tutto da interpretare, misterioso ed ambiguo come Zambinella, l’attrice di teatro conosciuta a Roma nella metà del settecento dallo scultore Sarrasine, dei quali un ignoto io narrante racconta le vicende alla signora di Rochefide. Un racconto nel racconto, uniti da un denominatore comune, un vecchio dal ricco abbigliamento e dai tratti grotteschi, un fantasma, un mostro, che i signori di Lanty ospitano nel loro palazzo di Parigi, trattandolo con cure ed attenzio ...more
Pete daPixie
Two short novellas, 'Sarrasine' and 'A Passion in the Desert'. Just sixty five pages in total. Too short to become lost or bored with, yet not long enough to become engrossed.
Although originally published in 1830, Mr De Balzac's writing talent give both tales a timeless quality, and where the author includes references from the early nineteenth century, the book comes with explanatory notes.
Jul 08, 2014 Emy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-french
Après tout ,la Marquise n'est pas la seul qui "rèsta pensive" ! après avoir lire une histoire pareil,nous sommes tous rèstè pensifs et vachement stupèfiè, par un style tellement raffinè et èlaborè,un style qui fais rêver.La morale de l'histoire c'est que les apparences sont parfois trompeuses,car ils se révèlent toujours être qu'une illusion.
"Et c’est une illusion !"
"Vous m’avez dégoûtée de la vie et des passions pour
longtemps. Au monstre près, tous les sentiments humains ne se
dénouent-ils pas a
Oct 23, 2011 Yves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xixe-siècle, france
La famille Lanty a beaucoup d'argent. Tout le monde se demande d'où vient cette fortune. Est-ce l'argent du travail, d'un héritage ou même d'un crime? Plusieurs rumeurs courent mais personne ne sait. Lors d'une soirée chez les Lanty, on apprendra l'histoire de la provenance de l'argent, un histoire qui met en vedette une certain sculpteur nommé Sarrasine et d'une chanteuse nommée Zambinella qui cache des gros secrets.

J'ai trouvé cette histoire vraiment sordide. Le secret de Zambinella m'a jeté à
Dec 28, 2007 Xysea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is an interesting book, filled with description, that describes the loss of innocence of a man. He falls in love with a woman, an opera singer, who it turns out isn't a woman at all but a castrato who plays female roles in an opera.

Sarrasine sets her up, emotionally and psychologically, as his perfect feminine ideal. He is so taken with her, he plans to marry her. But the proposal is rejected, due to La Zambella's true gender.

He attempts to kill 'her' in a rage, probably due to a fear of ho
This is the second piece by Balzac that I’ve read within the past several months, and I think I can say that I particularly enjoy his style, overall, as well as the ideas he weaves into his stories. “Sarrasine” however fell shorter than “Pere Goriot” for me, although I did warm up to it gradually over the course of the novella as I began to piece more details together and understand the significances. The main issue I had with it was that it felt incomplete. It easily could’ve been expanded, at ...more
Jeffrey Gallen
Mar 24, 2014 Jeffrey Gallen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sculptor falls in love with an opera singer, who, he imagines to be the embodiment of female perfection. However, his love comes to a tragic end when his illusions are cruelly shattered.

One of the short pieces in Balzac's "La Comédie humaine," it is the basis for Roland Barthes' structuralist interpretation "S/Z."

Thoroughly enjoyed Sarrasine. Just started "S/Z." Not sure how Balzac's 30 page story could provide the basis for Barthes' 200 page book. I'll let you know.
Sep 28, 2013 Morgho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. In few pages Balzac can take you from the high of a jouvenile love to the most desperation. Lovely written, full of quotes from his age it coulded be a sorrowful page of a today (2013) story.
Oh life it's wonferful how can you be so changeful and at the same time still!
Mar 03, 2012 Alessandro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le storie vivide sono quelle più reali, le mie preferite. Balzac ti trasporta ovunque, nel tempo e nello spazio, come se nulla fosse. Tu sei un suo personaggio, fai parte della storia. Dentro ci sono le emozioni, dell'umanità, e tue. Balzac scrive per ogni lettore.
An amazingly descriptive story about what boils down to a bunch of pretentious hipsters and a wasted old man. Also, the only pre-1990s transgender bender story I have ever read. It's like the crying game of Parian hipsters.
Feb 19, 2015 علی rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Sarrasine (1830)
نیمه شبی در یک مجلس رقص، راوی قصه کنار پنجره ای نشسته و منظره ی باغ را تحسین می کند. پیرمرد ناشناسی که در اطراف خانه ظاهر می شود، سبب هراس مهمان هاست. راوی مدعی ست که او را می شناسد، و قصه ی زندگی اش را برای بئاتریس روشفید، حکایت می کند؛ ارنست ژان سارازین، پسر هنرمند و احساساتی که مجسمه ساز با استعداد و مشهوری شده، روزگاری در رم زامبینلای زیباروی را بر صحنه ی تیاتر می بیند و شیفته ی او می شود. مجسمه ی گلی زن را می سازد، در یک میهمانی به زن نزدیک می شود، و در نظر دارد زامبینلا را
Jul 23, 2011 Yann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xixème, france, fiction
Pas mal, toujours aussi excité ce Honoré.
Balzac s'est surpassé !
I really liked Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu from the same author, but Sarrasine, hell no. It is a boring story of a guy who tells a story about an other guy who fell in love and was then deeply dissapointed. You have probably already heard it a thousand times. The author tries to connect some moral to it in the very end, about who how money does not stink, how love always ends up dissapointing and fake, and how moral is screwed and we are all screwed anyway. But those last lines felt like a really c ...more
Birdbath Birdbath
"Have you ever met one of those women whose startling beauty defies the assaults of time, and who seem at thirty-six more desirable than they could have been fifteen years earlier? Their faces are impassioned souls; they fairly sparkle; each feature gleams with intelligence; each possesses a brilliancy of its own, especially in the light. Their captivating eyes attract or repel, speak or are silent; their gait is artlessly seductive; their voices unfold the melodious treasures of the most coquet ...more
Oscar Fuentevilla
Cortito, oldie, un estilo narrativo interesante, controversial, contexto bueno pero historia floja.

La neta solo lo leí por que estoy leyendo otro libro (S/Z de Roland Barthes) en donde lo analiza y es parte fundamental, entonces tengo que saber que onda con este. Es famoso pero por el analizas que le hizo Barthes, según entiendo antes de este no era muy importante.

La historia? Pues equis, no tiene mucho chiste, no hay mucha acción ni un problema a resolver bien definido. Es mas bien leerlo por e
Mar 31, 2012 Audeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A prioris, je ne m'attendais pas à ce que j'ai lu ce qui est une bonne chose. Je m'attendais, vu la couverture du livre et le titre, à lire l'histoire d'une jeune femme et c'est celle d'un jeune homme qui est racontée dans le livre. Passé cet élément de surprise assez plaisant, j'ai trouvé qu'il était assez compliqué d'entrer dans l'histoire, à cause de toutes les références que je n'avais pas forcément en tête et ce malgré les notes en bas de page. Finalement, l'histoire qui est assez courte et ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Albyvintage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: raccontisole24
Si divora sentimentale e elegante
Pag 11 Poesia segreta, che lega tutte le arti, e che sfugge sempre a chi la cerca
Pag 13 L'assioma di Vespasiano "Pecunia non olet"
Pag 15-21 Creatura Bizzarra
Pag 31 Seduto sui gigli si dice dei membri di una corte superiore
Pag 35 Italia la patria delle arti
Pag 31-35 Storia di Sarrasine artista
Pag 36 Armonia di Jommelli
Pag 37 La cantante Zambinella era una donna capolavoro di bellezza.
Pag 41 La passione si fece più profonda diventando più tranquilla
Pag 44 Parlare
Apr 07, 2014 Hanyu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, fiction
Une petite histoire bien écrite et bien tournée, enfin ! Quel dommage qu'elle soit si courte, la fin méritait peut-être d'être plus élaborée mais vraiment, c'est une belle histoire sur la passion.
Ibtihal Mahmood
I am forever indebted to Roland Barthes, who mentioned this mesmerizing gem of literature in his essay "Death of the Author." I couldn't put it down.
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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)
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