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Honoré de Balzac
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message 1: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Since I've read zero Balzac this is more like something of a statement of ambition. I will attempt to compile a bibliography, a daunting task in itself, and post it soon. Jim Paris is the only fellow Goodreader I can imagine is even near close to a Balzac completist.

message 2: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Eagerly awaiting this list with genuine anticipation. I'm going to try a Zola list later. :/

message 3: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith | 26 comments Just after my smirk at the title, I thought, has Jim Paris read all of Balzac?

message 4: by Hadrian (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) Geez, you people really are nuts! (Ba-dum-tssh)

I'd like to see the list for this. Capsguy has read almost 20 of his, I think.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments You might be interested in this Balzac blog. The group completed Balzac - took them 5 years. I learned of it through another GR member. I doubt I'll be a Balzac completist, but will read him more than some other authors of interest to me I suspect.

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "You might be interested in this Balzac blog. The group completed Balzac - took them 5 years. I learned of it through another GR member. I doubt I'll be a Balzac completist, but will read him more t..."

Thanks for the link. Here's a copy and paste of their suggested reading order for La Comédie humaine. A daunting list for this piece of Balzac's oeuvre...

The Balzac Yahoo Group undertook the reading of the entire Human Comedy in November 2006. A major influence to the reading order suggested is the book Balzac as He Should Be Read by William Hobart Royce. Royce’s order is mostly historically chronological, and changes have been made in the early readings to at first introduce the reader to one of Balzac’s best works (Father Goriot) and then read a selection of historically early works before tackling some of the lesser, earliest stories which are not necessarily Balzac’s best work.

Listed below is their suggested reading order, listed by the English title.

Father Goriot
The Chouans
An Episode Under the Terror
The Vendetta
The Conscript/The Recruit
The Red Inn
The Maranas/Juana
A Passion in the Desert
The Exiles
Christ in Flanders
Maitre Cornelius
A Second Home/A Double Family/Double Life
The Gondreville Mystery/An Historical Mystery/A Shady Business/Murky Business/A Dark Affair
At the Sign of the Cat and Racket/The House of the Tennis-playing Cat/Fame and Sorrow
The Executioner
Domestic Peace/The Peace of the Home
Louis Lambert
The Quest of the Absolute/The Alkahest
A Woman of Thirty
The Thirteen: The Girl with the Golden Eyes
A Bachelor’s Establishment/The Two Brothers/The Black Sheep
The Elixir of Life
About Catherine de’ Medici: Preface/Introduction
About Catherine de’ Medici:The Calvinist Martyr
Eugenie Grandet
About Catherine de’ Medici: The Ruggieri’s Secret
About Catherine de’ Medici: The Two Dreams
The Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau
The Unknown Masterpiece/The Hidden Masterpiece
The Hated Son
The Thirteen: Ferragus
The Message
Colonel Chabert
Facino Cane
Lost Illusions: The Two Poets
Lost Illusions: A Distinguished Provincial at Paris/A Great Man of the Provinces in Paris
Lost Illusions: Eve and David/ The Trials of the Inventor
La Grenadiere
Massimilla Doni
The Lily of the Valley
Melmoth Reconciled
The Atheist’s Mass
The Jealousies of a Country Town: The Old Maid
The Jealousies of a Country Town: The Cabinet of Antiquities
A Seaside Tragedy/A Drama on the Seashore
The Thirteen: The Duhesse of Langeais
Madame Firmiani
The Peasantry/Sons of the Soil
Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life: Esther Happy/How Girls Love
Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life: What Love Costs an Old Man
Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life: The End of Evil Ways
Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life: Vautrin’s Last Avatar/The Last Incarnation of Vautrin
Modeste Mignon
The Purse
The Ball at Sceaux
A Marriage Settlement/A Marriage Contract
The Deserted Woman
A Study of Woman
The Commission in Lunacy/The Interdiction
A Start in Life
The Vicar of Tours
The Country Doctor
Another Study of Woman
La Grande Breteche
Letters of Two Brides/Memoirs of Two Young Married Women
Pierre Grassou
The Government Clerks/Bureaucracy
The Magic Skin/Wild Ass’s Skin
Parisians in the Country: Gaudissart the Great/The Illustrious Gaudissart
A Man of Business
A Daughter of Eve
The Secrets of a Princess/The Secrets of the Princess Cadignan
Albert Savarus
The Firm of Nucingen/The House of Nucingen/Nucingen & Co, Bankers
The Seamy Side of History/The Brotherhood of Consolation: Madame de la Chanterie
The Seamy Side of History/The Brotherhood of Consolation: The Initiate
The Imaginary Mistress/Paz/The False Mistress
A Prince of Bohemia
Z. Marcas
The Muse of the Department
The Country Parson/The Village Rector/Poor Relations
Poor Relations: Cousin Betty
Poor Relations: Cousin Pons
The Middle Classes/The Lesser Bourgeoise
Gaudissart II
The Member for Arcis/The Deputy for Arcis
The Unconscious Humorists/The Unconscious Comedians
The Physiology of Marriage
Petty Troubles of Married Life

message 7: by David (new)

David Postle | 50 comments If I ever get to finish off Trollope, which I seriously doubt, Balzac is going to be my next big project. Fortunately, there is a lot of shorter material in Balzac, not so many long novels as Trollope, and although it's certainly a BIG project, I don't think it would any bigger than Trollope.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments A few weeks ago, I made a spreadsheet, because the novels/stories fall into groups. There may be a few typos/capitalization errors, but the reading order and categorizations are accurate.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments I have been gobbling up some of Balzac's shorter fiction and have completed a grand total of 25 of these. Still a long way to go. In the Introduction to a collection offered by NYRB, is this, which explains why I continue to delve into this author:
Oscar Wilde came close to the heart of the matter when he declared: "The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac's." Balzac "invents" the new century by being the first writer to represent its emerging agglomerations, its nascent capitalist dynamics, its rampant cult of the individual personality. By seeing and dramatizing changes that he mainly deplored, he initiated his readers into understanding the shape of the century. "Balzac's great glory is that he pretended hardest," declared his faithful disciple Henry James: In the art of make-believe, Balzac was the master.

message 10: by David (new)

David Postle | 50 comments I really haven't read all that much Balzac,
but he's on my list after I finish Trollope and re-reading Jane Austen, that is if I live that long.

But, I have been reading The World's Thousand Best Short Stories in between and 8 of his short stories were included, to wit.

A Passiosn in the Desert
The Conscript
La Grande Breteche
The Atheist's Mass
The Christ in Flanders
El Verdugo
A Seashore Drama
Facino Cane

Of course, these books were published around the 1920's, so there's a lot of stories that have been written since then, that would be worthy of inclusion.

I'm not too sure, if these would be the best translations either, but I think they were the standard translations of the day.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments A Passion in the Desert and Facino Cane were two that were included in the larger of the NYRB editions. They were also two I didn't especially care about. Sarrasine and Gobseck are two I will probably reread, and I'm not one for much rereading.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments I just finished an interesting biography. Balzac by Stefan Zweig

My review.

message 13: by David (new)

David Postle | 50 comments Stefan Zweig is a very good fiction writer in his own right. I just bought his complete short stories.
His most famous is arguably "Letter to an Unknown Woman" which was made into an excellent movie, in the '40s or '50s. Have you read any of Zweig's fiction?

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments David wrote: "Stefan Zweig is a very good fiction writer in his own right. I just bought his complete short stories.
His most famous is arguably "Letter to an Unknown Woman" which was made into an excellent mov..."

I have downloaded that one, but the only one I have read is Chess Story.

message 15: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook "Letter/Unknown," beautiful movie, late 40s, (Joan Fontaine-Louis Jourdan), x Max Ophuls. It flopped, Max was disdained by Hollywood junk dealers and returned to France. Ophuls : A great director.

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