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Catherine De' Medici (La Comédie humaine)

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  303 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Novel in four parts:

- In the Introduction, published in 1842 under the title Catherine de Médicis expliquée, Balzac urges the reader to revise his judgment on a queen considered bloody.

- The second part, Le Martyr calviniste, published in 1841, tells the story of an imaginary character, son of the furrier of Catherine de Medici. He is a Calvinist, compromised in the plots
Kindle Edition
Published (first published October 1st 1842)
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(showing 1-30 of 814)
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Jan 05, 2016 Lisa added it
Ok, first of all, some info about Catherine de' Medici because Balzac begins by taking issue with her reputation, and I don't know much about her (even though I've visited the Château de Chenonceau from which she ruled, and admired her bedroom.)
So, to Wikipedia:
Catherine de' Medici (13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was born in Florence, Italy. Her parents, Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, died soon afterwards. She was placed in convents while The Powers
Bonnie Luckey
I have been fascinated with Catherine De Medici for years and have read many books that referenced her many "supposed" crimes and misdemeanors. I was hoping for a fresh look at her life and an unbiased view of her motives as a power-broker, politician, wife and mother. I suppose I got a hint of that with this book but it was a struggle! I could barely get through the introduction. It was like reading a very poor translation of a convoluted history lesson. There were lots of very long names (whic ...more
Andra Nicoara
I hate sounding like a uncultured swine, but my god this was boring. I've never really liked Balzac much (bored me out of my mind back in school, and he still does apparently) but I really wanted to read about Catherine de Medici to find out more about her. Unfortunately, this book didn't really satisfy my curiosity. I'm not saying it doesn't have its charm, all those pages filled with descriptions of nature and France in general were great, but it lacked any sort of spirit. I know it isn't a pr ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Inkling rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was ok but, for a book on Catherine, she only appears once or twice in the book. And that is a bit disappointing because the author describes her as this fascinating character, but doesn't bring her into the story almost at all. Most of the book is about what other secondary characters do and EXTENSIVE (i cannot stress this word enough) descriptions of valleys and castles.

Word of advice: please read on the Medicis family before you read the book. You might get lost in all the details about po
Andu Ogodai
Feb 28, 2016 Andu Ogodai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should have been called the wall or the alleyway or the desk. Because it has literally more words about those objects than about Catherine de medici. But then again. I kinda enjoyed it in a weird way. Left me asking for more. And ended up studying the whole medici family history... So guess I'm thankful for that. I hate u Balzac. With all my burning passion I hope someone will first describe u the hell they re gonna send u and after a whole eternity has passed u realised that that was ...more
Sally Tarbox
I read this just after completing Frieda's excellent biography on Catherine, and was glad to have a familiarity with her history. This, however, is not another biography or treatise on the lady.
The first (main) section is a narrative of an idealistic young Calvinist who eagerly participates in a dangerous scheme to gain access to Catherine with communications from the Prince de Conde's faction. The descriptions of 16th century Paris and of court life are entrancing although Balzac had a very dif
Nov 24, 2015 Haley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Full review some Music Man!

Apparently, this was released in several parts, and it is a collection of stories. Maybe when Balzac originally wrote it, the format made more sense. But as it is now–one moment there will be a section of semi-intriguing dialogue with a plotline. Then…BOOM…you run smack into a biography wall of boringness. And then you’re back into dialogue again in a different plotline with no introduction.
Feb 19, 2015 علی rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
در مورد بالزاک؛
Mar 18, 2010 Leslie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Last fall I visited Florence and Chenonceaux, the chateau King Henry II gave to his mistress, Diane. After Henry's death, Queen Catherine took back the castle. So I wanted to learn more about the story. I had almost forgotten what effort it is to read old classics., Balzac uses an excessive amount of words!
I have set this book aside in favor of easier and more relevant reading... for now.
Steve Gordon
Though all the historic figures in this one can make your head spin at times, I still found it a good jaunt through a few episodes of dear Catherine's life. The novel bounces, at times rather anarchically, between "history," "historical fiction," and in the final chapter, "fiction."
Aug 13, 2011 Cristina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read if you like historical fiction.
But at some times I just wanted to rush through all the historical facts,
and at some points I was really intrigued and could not wait to see what happens next.
And this is why I say "it was ok" .
Erin-kate Sousa
This was not an unenjoyable read but the personage it is suppose to be written about is not much present in the story the way one would expect of a bio. Plus I'm pretty sure the ending casts the book into questionable historical-fiction territory.
May 22, 2015 Maura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one night after not finding any unread books in the house and became captivated by the story. Good bad and ugly all of us can judge but to live in a time like you had to be resourceful or you lost your head... Literally.
Oct 27, 2012 Bogdan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit
This is an interesting novel, but you need a lot of patience to go through the detailed description of places and events that only set the context. I am usually a patient reader, but others might not like this.
Apr 13, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was neat. Not Balzac at his best, but an interesting take on what Catherine might have been like and the kind of intrigues she (and all rulers at that time) were up against.
Feb 06, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
I did enjoy this book and I like Balzac's style of writing. I would recommend it to those who like historical fiction.
Nick Park
Aug 18, 2012 Nick Park rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute tripe. A 'biography' of one nasty piece of work, written by another nasty piece of work, in the form of a bad novel.
Contains three individual studies, only one of which I enjoyed. Both historical and imaginary characters are presented.
Doreen Petersen
May 09, 2014 Doreen Petersen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Was a more enjoyable read than that of the Borgias but still a very disfunctional family.
M Alicia
Mar 03, 2016 M Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed being transported back in time. The writer was very descriptive.
For some reason I have an obsession with this woman!
Michelle Gross
Ok, not the most interesting of the Medici family.
not my kind of book....
kourtney guistino
kourtney guistino is currently reading it
Aug 27, 2016
Greg Gieber
Greg Gieber rated it it was ok
Aug 24, 2016
Iulia Streanga
Iulia Streanga rated it it was amazing
Aug 23, 2016
josh sherrill
josh sherrill rated it did not like it
Aug 19, 2016
Alina Tabrea
Alina Tabrea is currently reading it
Aug 15, 2016
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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
  • Letters of Two Brides
  • The Purse
  • Modeste Mignon
  • A Start in Life (Dodo Press)
  • Albert Savarus
  • Vendetta
  • A Second Home
  • Domestic Peace

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