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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Study of a Woman" by Honore de Balzac (1830, a short story component of The Human Comedy)

There are in the edition I have 91 works in Honore de Balzac's Comedie Humaine.  This is not as daughting a reading project as it sounds as many of the components are short stories or novellas.
It is not all huge 19th century novels.   My IPAD Kindle application estimated the reading time for the Delphi Edition of the works of Balzac (which includes some informational writings)  to be 234 hours, so if you start now and read five hours a day you can complete it easily by the end of the year.  Balzac is the foundation stone of modern French literature and much more and so far he has been a great pleasure to read.  Engels said he learned more from reading Balzac about the true nature of society than he did from decades of study of history, economics, and social philosophy.  

"Study of a Woman" is a gentle comic satire of lower level Parisian aristocrats.  The man is a Marquis hoping to be elevated to a peer of France.  He is most remarkable for his conformity to all social norms both at work, in society and at home.  His wife,lovely but not stunning, is the model of virtue.  When a young dandy at a dance squeezes her hand a bit too hard, she turns totally cold.  One day she receives a love letter from a young noble man who spoke briefly to her at a dance. The fun of the story is in what happens because of this and I will leave it untold. I read it in a translation by Katherine Wormeley.The estimated reading time is ten minutes.  

Mel u

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