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42 Works of Honore de Balzac

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(Sequel to Another Study of Woman) Ah! madame, replied the doctor, I have some appalling stories in my collection. But each one has its proper hour in a conversation–you know the pretty jest recorded by Chamfort, and said to the Duc de Fronsac: ‘Between your sally and the present moment lie ten bottles of champagne.’ […]

The Atheist’s Mass

Story type: Literature

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Bianchon, a physician to whom science owes a fine system of theoretical physiology, and who, while still young, made himself a celebrity in the medical school of Paris, that central luminary to which European doctors do homage, practised surgery for a long time before he took up medicine. His earliest studies were guided by one […]

The Red Inn

Story type: Literature

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In I know not what year a Parisian banker, who had very extensive commercial relations with Germany, was entertaining at dinner one of those friends whom men of business often make in the markets of the world through correspondence; a man hitherto personally unknown to him. This friend, the head of a rather important house […]

The /Inn of the Three Barbels/ was formerly at Tours, the best place in the town for sumptuous fare; and the landlord, reputed the best of cooks, went to prepare wedding breakfasts as far as Chatelherault, Loches, Vendome, and Blois. This said man, an old fox, perfect in his business, never lighted lamps in the […]

Despair In Love

Story type: Literature

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At the time when King Charles the Eighth took it into his head to decorate the castle of Amboise, they came with him certain workmen, master sculptors, good painters, and masons, or architects, who ornamented the galleries with splendid works, which, through neglect, have since been much spoiled. At that time the court was staying […]

When, for the last time, came Master Francis Rabelais, to the court of King Henry the Second of the name, it was in that winter when the will of nature compelled him to quit for ever his fleshly garb, and live forever in his writings resplendent with that good philosophy to which we shall always […]

The Lord of Montcontour was a brave soldier of Tours, who in honour of the battle gained by the Duke of Anjou, afterwards our right glorious king, caused to be built at Vouvray the castle thus named, for he had borne himself most bravely in that affair, where he overcame the greatest of heretics, and […]

Jehan, son of Simon Fourniez, called Simonnin, a citizen of Tours– originally of the village of Moulinot, near to Beaune, whence, in imitation of certain persons, he took the name when he became steward to Louis the Eleventh–had to fly one day into Languedoc with his wife, having fallen into great disgrace, and left his […]

The Abbey of Poissy has been rendered famous by old authors as a place of pleasure, where the misconduct of the nuns first began, and whence proceeded so many good stories calculated to make laymen laugh at the expense of our holy religion. The said abbey by this means became fertile in proverbs, which none […]

Every one knows through what adventure King Francis, the first of that name, was taken like a silly bird and led into the town of Madrid, in Spain. There the Emperor Charles V. kept him carefully locked up, like an article of great value, in one of his castles, in the which our defunct sire, […]

Melmoth Reconciled

Story type: Literature

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To Monsieur le General Baron de Pommereul, a token of the friendship between our fathers, which survives in their sons. –DE BALZAC. There is a special variety of human nature obtained in the Social Kingdom by a process analogous to that of the gardener’s craft in the Vegetable Kingdom, to wit, by the forcing-house–a species […]

Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATION To Theophile Gautier CHAPTER I THE LAST WORD OF TWO GREAT COQUETTES After the disasters of the revolution of July, which destroyed so many aristocratic fortunes dependent on the court, Madame la Princesse de Cadignan was clever enough to attribute to political events the total ruin she had caused […]

Vendetta

Story type: Literature

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Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATION To Puttinati, Milanese Sculptor. CHAPTER I PROLOGUE In the year 1800, toward the close of October, a foreigner, accompanied by a woman and a little girl, was standing for a long time in front of the palace of the Tuileries, near the ruins of a house recently pulled down, […]

Sarrasine

Story type: Literature

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To Monsieur Charles Bernard du Grail. SARRASINE 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. The clock on the Elysee-Bourbon had just struck midnight. Seated in a window recess and concealed behind the undulating folds of a […]

Paz

Story type: Literature

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Translated By Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATION Dedicated to the Comtesse Clara Maffei. PAZ (LA FAUSSE MAITRESSE) I In September, 1835, one of the richest heiresses of the faubourg Saint-Germain, Mademoiselle du Rouvre, the only daughter of the Marquis du Rouvre, married Comte Adam Mitgislas Laginski, a young Polish exile. We ask permission to write these […]

Perseverance In Love

Story type: Literature

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During the first years of the thirteenth century after the coming of our Divine Saviour there happened in the City of Paris an amorous adventure, through the deed of a man of Tours, of which the town and even the king’s court was never tired of speaking. As to the clergy, you will see by […]

In the good town of Bourges, at the time when that lord the king disported himself there, who afterwards abandoned his search after pleasure to conquer the kingdom, and did indeed conquer it, lived there a provost, entrusted by him with the maintenance of order, and called the provost-royal. From which came, under the glorious […]

One day that it was drizzling with rain–a time when the ladies remain gleefully at home, because they love the damp, and can have at their apron strings the men who are not disagreeable to them–the queen was in her chamber, at the castle of Amboise, against the window curtains. There, seated in her chair, […]

The Maid of Portillon, who became as everyone knows, La Tascherette, was, before she became a dyer, a laundress at the said place of Portillon, from which she took her name. If any there be who do not know Tours, it may be as well to state that Portillon is down the Loire, on the […]

During the time when knights courteously offered to each other both help and assistance in seeking their fortune, it happened that in Sicily–which, as you are probably aware, is an island situated in the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, and formerly celebrated–one knight met in a wood another knight, who had the appearance of a […]

The old chronicler who furnished the hemp to weave the present story, is said to have lived at the time when the affair occurred in the City of Rouen. In the environs of this fair town, where at the time dwelt Duke Richard, an old man used to beg, whose name was Tryballot, but to […]

When the pope left his good town of Avignon to take up his residence in Rome, certain pilgrims were thrown out who had set out for this country, and would have to pass the high Alps, in order to gain this said town of Rome, where they were going to seek the /remittimus/ of various […]

Innocence

Story type: Literature

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By the double crest of my fowl, and by the rose lining of my sweetheart’s slipper! By all the horns of well-beloved cuckolds, and by the virtue of their blessed wives! the finest work of man is neither poetry, nor painted pictures, nor music, nor castles, nor statues, be they carved never so well, nor […]

Study Of A Woman

Story type: Literature

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Study of a WomanTranslator: Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATIONTo the Marquis Jean-Charles di Negro. STUDY OF A WOMAN The Marquise de Listomere is one of those young women who have been brought up in the spirit of the Restoration. She has principles, she fasts, takes the sacrament, and goes to balls and operas very elegantly dressed; […]

A STREET OF PARISTranslated by Henri Pene du Bois PREFACE This little Parisian silhouette in prose was written by Balzac to be the first chapter of a new series of the “Comedie Humaine” that he was preparing while the first was finishing. Balzac was never tired. He said that the men who were tired were […]

A Prince Of Bohemia

Story type: Literature

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A Prince of BohemiaTranslated by Clara Bell and others DEDICATIONTo Henri Heine. I inscribe this to you, my dear Heine, to you that represent in Paris the ideas and poetry of Germany, in Germany the lively and witty criticism of France; for you better than any other will know whatsoever this Study may contain of […]

Pierre Grassou

Story type: Literature

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PIERRE GRASSOUTranslated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATIONTo the Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery, Periollas,As a Testimony of the Affectionate Esteem of the Author, De Balzac PIERRE GRASSOU Whenever you have gone to take a serious look at the exhibition of works of sculpture and painting, such as it has been since the revolution of 1830, have you […]

El Verdugo

Story type: Literature

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EL VERDUGO Translated byKatharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATION To Martinez de la Rosa. EL VERDUGO The clock of the little town of Menda had just struck midnight. At that moment a young French officer, leaning on the parapet of a long terrace which bordered the gardens of the chateau de Menda, seemed buried in thoughts that […]

Z. Marcas

Story type: Literature

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Z. MARCAS Translated by Clara Bell and others DEDICATION To His Highness Count William of Wurtemberg,as a token of the Author’s respectful gratitude. DE BALZAC. Z. MARCAS I never saw anybody, not even among the most remarkable men of the day, whose appearance was so striking as this man’s; the study of his countenance at […]

Gaudissart II

Story type: Literature

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GAUDISSART II. Translated by Clara Bell and others DEDICATION To Madame la Princesse Cristina de Belgiojoso, nee Trivulzio. GAUDISSART II. To know how to sell, to be able to sell, and to sell. People generally do not suspect how much of the stateliness of Paris is due to these three aspects of the same problem. […]

A Drama on the Seashore

Story type: Literature

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Nearly all young men have a compass with which they delight in measuring the future. When their will is equal to the breadth of the angle at which they open it the world is theirs. But this phenomenon of the inner life takes place only at a certain age. That age, which for all men […]

Leon de Lora, our celebrated landscape painter, belongs to one of the noblest families of the Roussillon (Spanish originally) which, although distinguished for the antiquity of its race, has been doomed for a century to the proverbial poverty of hidalgos. Coming, light-footed, to Paris from the department of the Eastern Pyrenees, with the sum of […]

Another Study Of Woman

Story type: Literature

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At Paris there are almost always two separate parties going on at every ball and rout. First, an official party, composed of the persons invited, a fashionable and much-bored circle. Each one grimaces for his neighbor’s eye; most of the younger women are there for one person only; when each woman has assured herself that […]

A Man of Business

Story type: Literature

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The word /lorette/ is a euphemism invented to describe the status of a personage, or a personage of a status, of which it is awkward to speak; the French Academie, in its modesty, having omitted to supply a definition out of regard for the age of its forty members. Whenever a new word comes to […]

Madame Firmiani

Story type: Literature

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Madame FirmianiAuthor: Honore de BalzacTranslated By: Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATIONTo my dear Alexandre de Berny.His old friend, De Balzac. MADAME FIRMIANI Many tales, either rich in situations or made dramatic by some of the innumerable tricks of chance, carry with them their own particular setting, which can be rendered artistically or simply by those who […]

Maitre Cornelius

Story type: Literature

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Maitre CorneliusAuthor: Honore de BalzacTranslated By: Katharine Prescott Wormeley DEDICATIONTo Monsieur le Comte Georges Mniszech: Some envious being may think on seeing this page illustratedby one of the most illustrious of Sarmatian names, that I amstriving, as the goldsmiths do, to enhance a modern workwith an ancient jewel,–a fancy of the fashions of the day,–but […]

Napoleonder

Story type: Literature

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NAPOLEONDER[1] [Footnote 1: The Russian peasant’s name for Napoleon Bonaparte. The final syllable “der” has perhaps been added because to the ear of the peasant “Napoleon” sounds clipped and incomplete, as “Alexan” would sound to us without the “der.”] Long ago–but not so very long ago; our grandfathers remember it–the Lord God wanted to punish […]

Juana

Story type: Literature

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Juana by Honore de Balzac Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley JUANA (THE MARANAS) DEDICATION To Madame la Comtesse Merlin. CHAPTER I. EXPOSITION Notwithstanding the discipline which Marechal Suchet had introduced into his army corps, he was unable to prevent a short period of trouble and disorder at the taking of Tarragona. According to certain fair-minded […]

La Grenadiere

Story type: Literature

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La GrenadiereAuthor: Honore de BalzacTranslated By: Ellen Marriage To D. W. La Grenadiere is a little house on the right bank of the Loire as you go down stream, about a mile below the bridge of Tours. At this point the river, broad as a lake, and covered with scattered green islands, flows between two […]

Domestic Peace

Story type: Literature

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Domestic Peace Author: Honore de Balzac Translated By: Ellen Marriage and Clara Bell Dedicated to my dear niece Valentine Surville. The incident recorded in this sketch took place towards the end of the month of November, 1809, the moment when Napoleon’s fugitive empire attained the apogee of its splendor. The trumpet-blasts of Wagram were still […]

Christ In Flanders

Story type: Literature

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Christ in Flanders Author: Honore de Balzac Translated by: Ellen Marriage DEDICATION To Marcelline Desbordes-Valmore, a daughter of Flanders,of whom these modern days may well be proud, I dedicatethis quaint legend of old Flanders. DE BALZAC. CHRIST IN FLANDERS At a dimly remote period in the history of Brabant, communication between the Island of Cadzand […]

Facino Cane

Story type: Literature

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Facino Cane Author: Honore de Balzac Translated By: Clara Bell and others FACINO CANE I once used to live in a little street which probably is not known to you–the Rue de Lesdiguieres. It is a turning out of the Rue Saint-Antoine, beginning just opposite a fountain near the Place de la Bastille, and ending […]