Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eve and David by Honore de Balzac - 1843 (Part Three of Lost Illusions - A Component of La Comedie Humaine

Eve and David is the final novel in the trilogy of works that makes up Honore de Balzac's Lost Illusions.  Eve and David are the sister and brother in law of the poet, Lucian.  The final novel focuses on all the efforts and problems of Eve and David as they try to help him and work their way out of problems caused by these matters.   Much of the novel focuses on the paper making business of David and his attempts to invent and put into a practice a process  that will revolutionize paper making and make him wealthy. Balzac goes into great detail about the paper making industry.   Of course there are ups and downs twists and turns a plenty.  

Lost Illusions is exciting and historically edifying.   There is a lot of depth in the characterizations.  
I would not follow C. K. Scott Moncreiff in calling it "the greatest novel ever written" (of course he read the real thing, not a translation). I also think Moncrieff was given to enthusiasms and I do not know the context in which he made that remark.  I think the greatness of Balzac is in  the vast world he created and mirrored, not for individual works but I am only a Balzac neophyte.  Lost Illusions is the longest component of La Comedie Humaine.  

I think the next large Balzac work I read will be the four part Loves of a Courtesan which follows Lucian back in Paris.

Balzac must have been a near writing machine.   I just found out today that in addition to his fiction he ghost wrote a huge memoir of one of the mistresses of Napolean, which became a big seller.

Mel u

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