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Le Pere Goriot (Le Livre de Poche) (French Edition) (French) Paperback – January 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Le Livre de Poche (Book 757)
  • Paperback: 443 pages
  • Publisher: Livre de Poche; 1 edition (January 9, 2004)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2253085790
  • ISBN-13: 978-2253085799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nobody writes about money like Balzac, and his classic chronicle of a young man from the provinces clawing his way to success in 19th century Paris, even as an older man is victimized by the same milieu, shrewdly captures the financial dimension of so much that goes on between people. The boarding house in which the two protagonists live is a microcosm of their world, and Goriot's treatment by his daughters would make Lear blanch. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Balzac's 1834 King Lear-esque novel here gets a little fresh air breathed into it by Burton Raffel, who won the 1991 French-American Translation Prize.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Highly recommended to the student of life.
Ian Vance
This is one of Balzac's best books, a deep portrait of the misery of the human condition as well as a depiction of the decadent society of Paris in the 19 century.
Guillermo Maynez
If you have never read Balzac, you should remedy that situation forthwith; he is certainly one of the greatest novelists who ever lived.
Bob Newman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ian Vance on August 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The French author Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) wrote nearly a hundred books over the course of his relatively short life. Most are considered part of his incomplete opus titled La Comedie Humaine (the Human Comedy), with reoccurring characters and overlapping themes. The goal of this oeuvre was to create a panoramic view of French society, staring from the Revolution and continuing to the current (mid nineteenth century) age, exploring the aspects of country, city and military life. Balzac believed that just as the differences of heredity and environment produce various species of animals, so did the varying pressures of society produce differentiations among human beings. In the Human Comedy, Balzac attempted to describe and classify these human "species."
_Pere Goriot_ is arguably the most famous and artistically successful entry of the opus, a masterful study of a father who sacrifices his wealth and health to assure his two daughters into the hotbed of Parisian high-society. Through the eyes of Rastignac, an impoverished youth eager to gain social success, we see Goriot's maniacal obsession to his "babies," constantly succumbing to their lavish demands and paying off their debts, all the while prevented from being seen in public with them or even visiting their houses. Goriot is deemed �unfit� company and a threat to the illusion of success, the latter of which being Balzac�s central theme for this particular novel:
In the whirl of Parisian high-life, it is not so much the individual talent or intelligence or virtue one has that gives him or her a respected standing; instead, the trappings of wealth and the way in which one displays it is the standard and the rule: conspicuous consumerism for the bygone era.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By mp on January 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Honoré de Balzac's 1834 novel, "Le Père Goriot," is a novel of strange and fascinating power. As the doorway into his interconnected cycle, La Comédie Humaine, it presents as much welcome to interested readers as Dante's fateful "abandon all hope..." entrance to Hell in the Divine Comedy. "Le Père Goriot" gives us a fallen world, driven by self-interest, where all ties of genuine human feeling seem to be relegated to a no longer existent past, or to the rarely-glimpsed pastoral countryside. Balzac presents the stories of Eugène de Rastignac - a young law student from the southern provinces, Jean-Joachim Goriot - a former pasta merchant who gave all he had as dowry for his two daughters, and Vautrin - a man who lives and works in shadows. Balzac's novel illustrates the lengths and depths that these three, and everyone around them, go to in order to secure even the most fleeting happiness in the moral wasteland of Paris about 4 years after the fall of Napoleon.
The novel begins with our introduction to Maison Vauquer, a boarding house with a crumbling plaster statue of Cupid in the yard, which is home and prison to the respectably indigent. Goriot has lived in the Maison Vauquer under the increasingly unsympathetic gaze of Madame Vauquer and her boarders for almost 10 years - wasting away, Goriot has become a figure of fun for the house, coming to be known teasingly as "Old Goriot." His tragic affection for his two well-married daughters, Delphine de Nucingen and Anastasie de Restaud, has driven him out of their homes, and into a state wherein his only joys come from seeing them from afar, and mortgaging what remains of his fortune to assist them in financial difficulties.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
In May 2000 I stood hat in hand at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris paying my respects to a giant named Honore de Balzac. His masterpiece, PERE GORIOT, has resonated across over 30 years since that happy moment in 1968 when I first sat down to dine at Mme de Vauquer's boarding house, since I first heard the whispered confidences of Mme de Nucingen and the sighs of the Duchesse de Langeais, and since I first ran into that master criminal Vautrin.
Balzac was at the same time an extraordinarily ambitious man and one who knew the limits of fame and fortune. For years he chased his Polish countess, and no sooner did he win and marry her than he fell ill and died. I would like to think that there was a smirk on his face as he saw the irony: He was himself a character in a Balzac novel, a composite of all his characters -- whether of the court or the hovel, from bankers to ragpickers, high and low.
On the surface, this is a modern day version of Lear: An old man gives everything to his ambitious daughters and dies. The focus of the story, however, is no more on Papa Goriot and his daughters than on all the other characters in the story: the ambitious Rastignac, the plotting Vautrin, the good Dr. Bianchon, the clueless Victorine, the struggling Delphine de Nucingen -- all are caught in a web. (As was Balzac.)
This book changed the way I see the world. It can do no less for you. It is as if, suddenly, the mist that hides the motives of men parts, and we see the world of men as it really is, with all the marionette strings tangled up as each puppet strives to claw its way toward the top.
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