Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Père Goriot” as Want to Read:
Père Goriot
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview read book* *Different edition

Père Goriot (La Comédie Humaine)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  23,135 ratings  ·  706 reviews
« J'ai trouvé une idée merveilleuse. Je serai un homme de génie », s'exclame Balzac au moment où il écrit Le Père Goriot. Il venait d'imaginer La Comédie humaine, ce cycle romanesque dans lequel les mêmes personnages réapparaissent d'un roman à l'autre. Il venait de créer un monde, le monde balzacien.
Les plus beaux romans, dit André Maurois, sont des romans d'apprentissage
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1834)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Riku Sayuj

The Importance of Being Cynical

Rastignac’s education is the theme of the novel — provided at the expense of Père Goriot, who built up a fortune from nothing, married his daughters into wealth and was duly ignored and left to die a lonely death. This clear tragedy tells Rastignac, and perhaps France itself, what it takes to succeed in a Capitalist World: ruthlessness and a complete apathy to moral sentiments.

As Vautrin explains to Rastignac, it is illusory to think that social success can be ach
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 18, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, classics
No doubts on my part. This novel deserves a 5-star rating. Challenge my rating if you want and I know I can defend it, tooth and nail.

At first, this seems to be just a story of an old man, Pere Goriot and how he ends up in the pupper's grave despite being a rich businessman when he's still strong. His fault is that he loves and cares for his 2 spoiled uncaring ungrateful daughters who get all his riches and in the end don't even care going to his deathbed. However, that plot seems to be just sec
many pre-20th century novels have the nasty habit of presenting their author's beliefs as hard, solid fact. y'know what i mean: sentences which flatly state that 'Women believe' such and such or, as per balzac (pg. 51), "Young men's eyes take everything in; their spirits react to..." (<-- to which i'd argue: no! young men's eyes don't take in shit. and if i was gonna write either/or i'd find some elegant means to qualify it). now, wishy-washy apologetic sentences deserve destruction by sharpi ...more
Years ago my mum was an English literature professor and my dad a linguist at an university. Ever since I could read beyond the alphabet books I was spoon fed 'serious classic literature'. Mum had a particular passion for all things French, and I read things like The Red and the Black and Madame Bovary before Harry Potter was even published. Like most normal children, I did not enjoy anything over 200 pages with dense text about poverty and woman's fashion and instead resorted to large amount ...more
Lynne King
A beautiful classic that everyone loves but not for me.

I loved the "Peau de chagrin" - by Balzac - my best essay at university. A true shame in this respect and I must confess it bothers me. All I can say is that tastes change with time...
"Lord, this world of yours is so badly made!"
- Goriot

Supremely melodramatic, fierce, sweeping, lurid, and a little gay, Goriot is a kickass novel. The most famous of Balzac's encyclopedic Comédie humaine, a series of linked stories and 91 novels that I'm not sure has ever been paralleled, this installment crams into 300 pages about six different stories and a view of Parisian life in the early 1800s that swoops from bird's eye to microscopic detail, excluding nothing. "Paris is an ocean," says B
I expected to like this book more, and I didn't absolutely love it perhaps because this is a precurser to the works of Hugo and Zola whose novels I really love, and somehow less refined -- in short, I was kind of disappointed, and I know this author and love him but haven't read him in a while so this may be something too. Here's what I did love: the translator, Ellen Marriage; portrayals (and utterances) of Vautrin and Eugene; despite a slow start, the author's eternal truths interspersed throu ...more
Mamdouh Abdullah
حين يكتب فيكتور هيجو عن باريس، يشبهها بفتاة مغناج، تنفجر ضاحكة في وجه الجنس البشري وتقول أأنا بلهاء؟! لها ابتهاج هو بمثابة الصاعقة، وضحكتها فوهة بركان يصيب رشاشه الأرض. ولها الحق في أن تكون كذلك حسب تصوره، إذ أن لها يوم 14 تموز، وهي تحمل جميع الأمم على أن تقسم يمين ملعب التنس. كتبها ومسرحها وفنها وعلمها وفلسفتها ينهل منها البشر: تفاخر بباسكال وديكارت وروسو وفولتير وموليير. يشاطرها الكون لغتها، وهي فوق ذلك كائن أخلاقي. أكثر من عظيمة، وغير متناهية. لماذا؟ لأنها تتجرأ حسب قوله. غير أن باريس هذه تصد ...more
It's good to study up on the history of the novel -- this one's apparently a founding father. Maybe if I'd read it with nothing to do for a week my experience would've been different, but I was too often distracted to commit to the concerns of early-19th century Paris. As such, my feelings about this one are mixed, like with Stendhal's The Red and the Black last year.

I love the expository jags, the proclamations about the behavior of all young men, all women in Paris. The essayistic asides seem
This is my third Balzac novel, and I've enjoyed every one. Each reads easily with wonderful descriptions, vivid characters, great dialogue and interesting plots. Balzac is hard on every strata of society, but there's still plenty enough good qualities in at least a few characters and enough humor sprinkled here and there to alleviate the grim reality.
"It's a great shame that so many readers owe their first (and often last) contact with French literature to the opening pages of Le Père Goriot," writes Graham Robb in his resplendent biography of Balzac. Balzac begins his book with a pages-long description of the Pension Vaquer, an impoverished boarding house where key characters will come together. I'd have to disagree; Balzac's minute description of this seedy setting, which is also a description of its landlady, Madame Vaquer, is as over-the ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone; Dads; Guys
Recommended to Tyler by: BBC Big Read list
Shelves: 19th-century
A distinctive element of this novel stems from its compactness. Most of the action takes place at a boarding house or a couple of other locations in Paris. The setup highlights the interaction between people, and the author’s astute observations about human nature set the story off. Balzac’s prose is superb, and his command of detail gives readers a palpable feel for the lives of people so far removed in time (1819) from us.

Goriot is a father who, among the fellow boarders, finds that rarest of
کتاب به نقد زندگی اشرافی در فرانسه می پردازد و جنبه های منفی گرایش به پول، خوش گذرانی و زندگی مادی را تا آنجا برجسته می کند که نشان می دهد فرزندان پدری که از همه دارایی خود برای آن ها گذشته است حتی هنگام مرگ او نیز به فکر عیاشی های خود هستند. متأسفانه این موضوع تنها مسئله فرانسه ی زمان بالزاک نیست و امروزه در فرهنگ خودمان نیز شاهد آن هستیم. حداقل من به عینه یک بابا گوریویی می شناسم که همواره دلم به حال او می سوزد... .
Justin Evans
I am a style snob, but every now and then I find myself reading something that's, how can I put this?, not so finely crafted, and not really caring. This was one of those occasions. There's not much need for me to go into depth here: "Goriot" is a great novel of modernity, with great characters, great literary echoes, and a perfect understanding of what life is like--what it is still like. There are seventeenth century journalists who would regard the narrator as clumsy, yes. The characters are ...more
Lydia Presley
Original review posted here

This book floored me. I mean, jaw on the floor, gaping as I read, type of floored me. Who knew Balzac could be so approachable? I picked up this book fully expecting to struggle through it, much like my earlier trials with Middlemarch, and instead I found myself thoroughly intrigued by this drama. And Balzac himself, as narrator of the story of Father Goriot, calls it a drama, although he hastens to explain that it isn’t quite the same as those other dramas of the time
Some King Lear comparisons have to be inevitable: about a rather stupid, annoying but devoted father to two spoilt and rapacious daughters who bleed him dry.

Eugene de Rastignac, a young and handsome student's choices are followed, too. He is often found in a position of having to make choices between his ambitions and his sense of honour; his existence seems to be an uneasy combination of the two.

The want for money is a big theme, and the hotbed of social ambition that Paris was. Balzac's rich
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five for the Burton Raffel translation

The review has moved to my blog.
Matteo Di Maggio
È proprio grazie a papà Goriot che capisci il vero amore di un padre verso i propri figli! Un capolavoro ottocentesco e post rivoluzionario che marchia la vecchia società parigina come spietata e discriminante verso le persone più umili, come appunto il Goriot.
Il suo amore e la sua devozione rappresentano un grande esempio di umanità, di rispetto verso la famiglia.
Papà Goriot è veramente un capolavoro!
I colori della tavolozza stanno ad un pittore, così come le parole stanno a Balzac il quale, con un tocco di pennello, ha disegnato l'umanità del diciannovesimo secolo parigino, ma in realtà anche quella del ventunesimo secolo italiano, e del diciottesimo inglese. Come un sommozzatore scandaglia il fondo marino, così Balzac è stato in grande di scandagliare l'animo umano arrivando nel fondo più profondo e descrivendo maschere sociali che, nella vita di tutti i giorni, smettono di mimare se stess ...more
Another of Balzac’s studies of Parisian society and class divisions in early 19th century France. The story was initially published in serial form in 1834.

The shady character Vautrin summarized Parisian society to the young student Eugene Rastignac in this way: “If you get splashed with mud riding in a carriage you’re an honest fellow, while you’re a rogue if you get dirty on foot. If you have the bad luck to nab something from somebody you become a peepshow for the crowd at the Place du Palais
David Lentz
Balzac was a most enthusiastic participant of high society in Paris in his heyday principally because it yielded so many characters for his human comedy. Despite the artifice of glamor, wealth and nobility, a young attorney named Rastignac learns that it is shallow, materialistic and vain beyond all sense. Aspiring to make a name for himself, Rastignac stays in a bording house where he meets old Goriot, a vermicelli merchant with two daughters prominent in Paris society. Like King Lear, Goriot l ...more
David Acevedo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin Bendana
Perhaps it is a good time as ever to read such a book as Old Goriot. Well, I am 20 years old, young, ambitious, a novice, and most of all innocent to the ways of how society works. Of course, I will feel much inclined to like the character of young Eugene Rastignac. Like Eugene, I wanted to be accepted into the upper echelon of society by entering into the legal profession as my parents and i have always dreamed of, but I wanted most of all to be accepted in so called 'modern society' through th ...more
The legend of Balzac- the 3-day writing marathons fueled by gallons of coffee, the monks robe, the ridiculously grandiose ambition, the secret passage leading to a back alley used to flee from his creditors- is a most delightful one, and so I was hoping to like this, his most famous book, rather better than I did. Oscar Wilde claimed that Balzac invented the 19th century, which is probably true, but Flaubert's comment rings truer: "What a man he would have been if only he'd known how to write". ...more
Cleyton Boson
Balzac is perfect in this book where the good sensibility is mere moral pretend. At first view, Father Goriot is just a good old man that wants the happiness to his daughters. But they don’t love him as he would must be loved. His daughters have shame of him and blame him of his poverty. The good old man suffers cause of this relationship through all novel and end his life in a horrible and pathetic condition.
This is a sad history to you? However, Balzac get become it much more cruel yet. Gorio
اگر بتونید از مقدمه بسیار طولانی سراسر توصیفات مفصل و موشکافانه پانسیون مادام ووکر و شخصیت های ساکن در اون جان سالم به در ببرید مطمئنن بقیه کتاب رو با علاقه خواهید خوند

زندگی اشرافی در پاریس قرن نوزدهم در ظاهری زیبا و مجلل ولی باطنی متعفن ، به قلم بالزاک در قالب ماجرای زندگی بابا گوریو و راستینیاک توصیف میشه
شیوه زندگی ای که در رقابت ساکنان شهر برای رسیدن به تجمل بیشتر، مقام و مرتبه بالاتر، ثروت و شهرت و محبوبیت حتی نزدیک ترین روابط خانوادگی ( خواهری یا پدر و فرزندی) به نابودی کشیده می شوند

Gary Inbinder
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," is the title of a popular 1920's song. It is also the main theme of Père Goriot. This is a novel about the disenchantment of old age (Goriot) and youth (Rastignac) and their respective responses to life at its beginning and its end: rebellion and submission. Old Goriot learns too late that he was only "loved" for what he could give in the form of material support. Rastignac gains enlightenment from the same source: Goriot's two selfish daughters and t ...more
I don't know how I missed ever reading Balzac but I am glad I found him. I really enjoyed this book. It was depressing and sad but also had a bit of twisted humor in it. Ah the lengths that parents will go to in the pursuit of their children's happiness. That pretty much sums up the whole story. Old Goriot had a comfortable life at one time. He married his daughters to wealthy men but felt he was an embarassment to them (his own daughters and sons in law helped foster these feelings). So he move ...more
Balzac, Honore de, PERE GORIOT (1834)
I had no expectations of this l9th century French effort by the prolific Balzac, but it's a fine novel, as timely now as when it was written. The question it raises is one of how a parent shows his love for his children. In Goriot's case, as with many parents today, it was to try to give the children every advantage in life he could. In his case, the resource most at his disposal was money and what it could provide.
Goriot is a plain man, lacking social con
"Jamais une oeuvre plus majesteuesement terrible n'a commandé le cerveau humaine," Balzac wrote in 1834. Almost certainly so! Two main stories cross in this great novel: the story of a young, ambitious provincial, Eugène de Rastignac, who loses innocence in the complex society and moral corruption of Paris; and the tragic story of Old Goriot, who has destroyed himself financially for two daughters who care not at all for him--this latter story somewhat reminiscent of "King Lear." For someone who ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7)
  • Three Tales
  • Jacques the Fatalist
  • The Charterhouse of Parma
  • Une vie
  • The Gods Will Have Blood (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
  • La confession d'un enfant du siècle
  • Romancero gitano
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 86 books)
  • La maison du Chat-qui-pelote
  • The Ball At Sceaux
  • Letters of Two Brides
  • The Purse
  • Modeste Mignon
  • A Start in Life (Dodo Press)
  • Albert Savarus
  • Vendetta
  • A Second Home
  • Domestic Peace
Eugénie Grandet Cousin Bette (Poor Relations) Lost Illusions (La Comédie Humaine) The Wild Ass's Skin Le Colonel Chabert

Share This Book

“Women are always true, even in the midst of their greatest falsities, because they are always influenced by some natural feeling.” 213 likes
“It is always assumed by the empty-headed, who chatter about themselves for want of something better, that people who do not discuss their affairs openly must have something to hide.” 188 likes
More quotes…