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Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau Paperback – October 31, 2012
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Birotteau is lured into overextending himself and falls hard. True to his fascination with money and its epedemiology, Balzac delves into the guts of this bankruptcy and shows you all the forces at work to destroy an innocent man.
This time, the innocent man prevails. Thanks to the help of Anselme Popinot, a brilliant young marketer in love with his daughter, Birotteau is able to pay back every cent, winning honor for himself after his life appeared to be all but over.
This is one of Balzac's greatest novels. Birotteau is an honorable gentleman of the old school, a bit obtuse perhaps, but out of his depth among the wild speculations of the reign of Charles X. Watching these processes ensnare him is repellingly fascinating -- and Balzac spares us nothing.
Truly the best of Balzac. Fans of the original bon vivant will recoil in entertainment to the slow financial trainwreck of the (previously) shrewd businessman and military hero Cesar Birotteau. This novel showcases Balzac's familiarity with law and bankruptcy law and shines a light into the dark corners of finance, banking, and speculation during the dawn of the nineteenth century in France. This is another great act in the human comedy.