Frankie's Reviews > The Droll Stories of Honore de Balzac

The Droll Stories of Honore de Balzac by Honoré de Balzac
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's review
Oct 20, 2008

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bookshelves: french
Read in October, 2008

For those unfamiliar with Balzac, he's one of the first realist writers of his time. Most of his work is vulgar and broad, but set in a time when vulgarity was a part of life. It's refreshing to see that Shakespeare wasn't the first/only one to transcend the pattern of dark Europe.

While most of the stories contain subtle filth on bodily functions and bedroom escapades, it's not difficult to understand, even in translation. It's all quite entertaining, and broad though it may be, still lends to an appropriate feeling of familiarity with the era (the writer's 19th century or the fictional 13th century, or anywhere in between).

It wasn't all farts and tresses and entrails, however. a four-part story in the middle of the collection concerns a witch trial of-sorts. "The Succubus" reminds me of Milton's Paradise Lost, which probably took clues from most witchcraft stories of the medieval era.

Overall, I found it light reading and worthy of my time. I recommend it to anyone weary of unrealistic, morally-bound pre-victorian literature.

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Reading Progress

10/03/2008 page 114
10/10/2008 page 383
65.58% "i'm really pleasantly surprised with the "succubus tales." i have to wonder if milton had this in mind while writing Paradise Lost..."
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