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But Balzac has nowhere excelled in finesse and success of analysis, the double disillusion which introduces itself at once between Madame de Bargeton and Lucien, and which makes any redintegratio amoris of a valid kind impossible, because each cannot but be aware that the other has anticipated the rupture. It will not, perhaps, be a matter of such general agreement whether he has or has not exceeded the fair license of the novelist in attributing to Lucien those charms of body and gifts of mind which make him, till his moral weakness and worthlessness are exposed, irresistible, and enable him for a time to repair his faults by a sort of fairy good-luck.
How far is the picture true? For myself, I can only say that I do not believe things have ever been quite so bad in England, and that I am quite sure there never has been any need for them to be. There are, no doubt, spiteful, unprincipled, incompetent practitioners of journalism as of everything else; and it is of course obvious that while advertisements, the favor of the chiefs of parties, and so forth, are temptations to newspaper managers not to hold up a very high standard of honor, anonymity affords to newspaper writers a dangerously easy shield to cover malice or dishonesty.
But I can only say that during long practice in every kind of political and literary journalism, I never was seriously asked to write anything I did not think, and never had the slightest difficulty in confining myself to what I did think. In fact Balzac, like a good many other men of letters who abuse journalism, put himself very much out of court by continually practising it, not merely during his struggling period, but long after he had made his name, indeed almost to the very last.
And it is very hard to resist the conclusion that when he charged journalism generally not merely with envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, but with hopeless and pervading dishonesty, he had little more ground for it than an inability to conceive how any one, except from vile reasons of this kind, could fail to praise Honore de Balzac.
At any rate, either his art by itself, or his art assisted and strengthened by that personal feeling which, as we have seen counted for much with him, has here produced a wonderfully vivid piece of fiction — one, I think, inferior in success to hardly anything he has done. Whether, as at a late period a very well-informed, well-affected, and well-equipped critic hinted, his picture of the Luciens and the Lousteaus did not a little to propagate both is another matter.
The seriousness with which Balzac took the accusation perhaps shows a little sense of galling. But putting this aside, Un Grand Homme de Province a Paris must be ranked, both for comedy and tragedy, both for scheme and execution, in the first rank of his work. The first part, which bore the general title, was a book from the beginning, and appeared in in the Scenes de la Vie de Province.
It had five chapters, and the original verse it contained had appeared in the Annalaes Romantiques ten years earlier with slight variants. The second part, Un Grand Homme de Province , likewise appeared as a book, independently published by Souverain in in two volumes and forty chapters. The second act of the book in Paris is spellbinding throughout, but the business squabbles of the final act go on a little too long for the reader that can't keep track of the mounting thousands of francs in constant exchange.
If one is interested in reading Balzac, I can say in my enjoyment of this that it is as good a place to start as any. I'm in awe of Balzac's famous work ethic, and might hope merely in reading him to absorb some of that sensibility into myself. My future is set: more Balzac, more coffee, and hopefully more writing! Jun 26, Henry Martin rated it it was amazing Shelves: permanent-collection. Balzac's Lost Illusions is a massive literary undertaking, and an attempt to delve deep into the world of humanity with all its great deeds and basest desires.
Yet, taking the entire volume of Balzac's Human Comedy into perspective, Lost Illusions is nothing but a small piece of the enormous mosaic this author created in the short span of a decade. Like with all his works I read to date, Lost Illusions offers its readers spectacular writing, well developed characters, just enough but not too muc Balzac's Lost Illusions is a massive literary undertaking, and an attempt to delve deep into the world of humanity with all its great deeds and basest desires. Like with all his works I read to date, Lost Illusions offers its readers spectacular writing, well developed characters, just enough but not too much backstory, and a purely human conflict with multitude of players affecting the final outcome.
While most of the works in the Human Comedy take place in Paris, Lost illusions offers a glimpse of the life in the countryside; nevertheless, the ambitions there are not much different, the nobles are just as bad if not worse than their Parisian counterparts, and the long-reaching allure of the Parisian society finds a fertile ground amidst the country nobles.
The story opens quite simply with an old man, a printing press, and a child in the beautiful French countryside. The child goes to study the art of printing in Paris, the father sees him as his successor, and there is the making of a bright future, of growing business, of independence, and a happy life.
Readers familiar only with contemporary genre works will likely expect a happy-ever-after, and probably wonder why there are five hundred pages yet to be read in the book. Ha, they do not know Balzac. In a few pages, the printing press turns out to be an aging building with antiquated technology, the father shows his darker side and his avarice, and the son, while educated and humble, lacks any balls whatsoever.
As the pages turn, more and more characters make their appearance, some nice, some mean, and some downright ugly. The list of main players quickly grows to more than a few, and the plot thickens. Without disclosing any of the plot and there are several plots running at once , I must bow and show my respect to M. Lost Illusions is one heck of a novel, and one heck of a study of humanity, at its best and at its worst. Balzac, as expected, throws some unexpected punches, stirs some unforeseen troubles, and lets you get down to the muck and get dirty while you are at it.
He knows humanity, he knows what makes us tick, and he knows how to shine the light from just the right angle. Bravo, sir! That being said. I could not. Lucien is his own character, and yes, he plays a large part in this story. David, however, David is the story. I can relate to David better than I can relate to any character in this work. I'm still a bot torn between Pere Goriot and Lost Illusions. If I had to make a choice, I would not know which one I liked better.
The two works are very different, and yet very similar at the same time. Both books are on my 'favorites' list. One final note - some reviews mentioned how different Rastignac was in this novel from how he was portrayed in Pere Goriot. Balzac has some two thousand characters circulating throughout his work, and making appearances here and there, sometimes playing a major, yet other time a very minor, part.
Balzac's narrators are describing the characters, and each narrator sees a person differently.
Reading "Lost Illusions"
Also, we must keep in mind the transformation Rastignac underwent following Goriot's funeral, and the last lines of the novel. View all 5 comments. While there were issues with the structure of the novel, the disparate scenarios involving Lucien and David are removed from one another to a cumbersome degree.
Compounding this, the tragedy which envelops David and Eve is soaked and blurred in jargon and legal asides. I sense that Balzac was thinking long-term and indifferent to these quibbles. That said, Lost Illusions is a narrative triumph and one i will treasure. Oct 27, Gabrielle Dubois rated it it was amazing Shelves: 19th-century. Balzac said about his Lost Illusions that they were "the main work in the work". It's a novel about the functioning of the "literature machine". Balzac, work and money. To make a fortune was the eternal thought of Balzac. He ran after gold and money while creditors and ba Balzac said about his Lost Illusions that they were "the main work in the work".
He ran after gold and money while creditors and bailiffs ran after him and Balzac hid from them to work like a Vulcan on his forge. Excerpt from the Illusions: "My God! In launching his enraged words, he dined poorly at Hurbain's restaurant. Many glories had Flicoteaux for foster father.
Reading "Lost Illusions" | idekineqyxen.ga
But for a long time he appeared in Paris wearing a singular blue suit which his astonished and amused contemporaries remembered in their memoirs. Excerpt from the Illusions: "After the sad test of the elegant life which had absorbed all its capital, Lucien threw himself into work with that first ardor that dispels so quickly the difficulties and the amusements that Paris offers to all the existences, the richest, like the poorest, and who, to be tamed, demand the savagery of true talent or the bleak desire of ambition.
Excerpt from a letter written to a friend by Balzac when he was twenty-four: "For my novel Wann-Chlore, they offer me, guess what? I would rather go to plow the earth with my nails than to consent to such an infamy. Doguereau was an old school bookseller, a man of the time when the booksellers wanted to hold locked in an attic Voltaire and Montesquieu dying of hunger. After reading Lucien's manuscript, the librarian wants to publish it.
He was determined to pay one thousand francs Seeing the hotel, the old fox changed gradually his mind. A young man living there has only modest tastes, I can give him only eight hundred francs. In our common interest, I will offer him six hundred francs Balzac also paints us the Parisian fauna: noble and rich people, booksellers, journalists, mondains, poor poets, a youth hungry for earthly, intellectual and makeshift food. The author puts himself in the spirit of each of his characters and we sit with Balzac in a provincial salon, we walk with him on a Parisian sidewalk, we dine with him in a poor restaurant, we feel with him the humiliation of being poor in Paris when we were rich in the provinces.
The big question asked by Balzac is: does literature have to have a price, and if yes, what price? You think I told you everything about The Lost Illusions? Far from it! But it's so exhausting to make these comments in English Jun 04, Tony rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction-mainstream. Balzac, Honore de. First off, you need a lot of quiet time to read this massive novel by Balzac. It is not an airplane or a beach book. The series itself comprises over a hundred novels, short stories and studies. It belongs to the section of this series titled Scenes of Provincial Life, even though over half of the novel takes place in Paris.
It is set — aside from the Paris scenes, with which it is contrasted — in the small town of Angouleme, a three-day coach ride from Paris. This is a slow moving novel that incorporates — in detail — much of the technology that existed at the time, from the printing process to paper making, and how changes in those technologies affected the lives of those devoted to those crafts. It is well worth the effort to read this novel because the author manages to take you into society of the time and attempts to explain the changes that were going on.
At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I read this while holidaying in Paris, and that was a great choice. It's only my second Balzac, and already I'm pretty sure what I'm going to get: straight plot, semi-mythical characters, and not a whole lot of style. This isn't really my kind of thing, but Balzac is just so all-in that it's hard not to get pulled along in his wake.
And anyway, he's so explicitly writing about great abstractions here: Art, Media, Capitalism, Class, Love that I'll alwa At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I read this while holidaying in Paris, and that was a great choice. And anyway, he's so explicitly writing about great abstractions here: Art, Media, Capitalism, Class, Love that I'll always enjoy his work.
And 'Lost Illusions' is perfect for me--the satire of the press still functions perfectly even if the technical details about typesetting are rather out of date and the characters' debates about selling out will appeal to anyone who has a little punk in them.
Mastery and Lost Illusions
It's didactic, it's moralizing, it's sentimental. And yet you really have to read it. Mar 20, Katya rated it really liked it. Another example of a fantastically engaging yet encyclopedic in nature Balzac's novels. For me the most amazing feature of Balzac' novels is his ability to create such complex and psychologically accurate portraits and his deliberate refusal to judge his characters.
It is completely up to the reader! I really admire this quality in a writer. Even though I prefer Balzac's shorter works, this is great book and I absolutely enjoyed reading it. Lost Illusions was published serially from , towards the end of the half century of Balzac's output known collectively as the The Human Comedy. It's one of the half dozen of the 91 total works usually cited as those you ought to have read assuming you care to ready any.
The timeless theme of the inadvisable personal and professional decisions made by an aspiring artist from the provinces upon reaching the big city combines with a great deal of very specific period detail. Presumably Ba Lost Illusions was published serially from , towards the end of the half century of Balzac's output known collectively as the The Human Comedy. Presumably Balzac's own biography informs his depiction of the state of the theater and publishing businesses and newspaper criticism at the time as well as the technical details of printing and paper-making that are central to the story.
The last volume moves us back to our poet's provincial hometown and his family, centering around a lawsuit of almost Dickensian proportions. Feb 07, Andrew added it Shelves: french-language-fiction , 19th-century-french-fiction. It's a long haul, for sure, and it's very much a 19th Century novel, but if you're up for a page book about a provincial youth corrupted by the evils of city life, it's worth it -- especially in the middle sections, as Lucien is taken in by the world of Paris, and the weird dialogue with the Spanish priest towards the end.
Anyone who has ever written for a living has a little Lucien in them -- we all make our pacts with the devil, whether that devil is a corrupt official or a copywriting gig It's a long haul, for sure, and it's very much a 19th Century novel, but if you're up for a page book about a provincial youth corrupted by the evils of city life, it's worth it -- especially in the middle sections, as Lucien is taken in by the world of Paris, and the weird dialogue with the Spanish priest towards the end. Anyone who has ever written for a living has a little Lucien in them -- we all make our pacts with the devil, whether that devil is a corrupt official or a copywriting gig you secretly loathe.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's a world described in exhaustive and sometimes exhausting detail, from the methods of printing books to the interiors of country houses to the cost of everything. It's the world of Restoration France, from the fall of Napoleon to the February revolution of that ended the era of French royalty, as recreated by the father of naturalism, the school of fiction writing whose goal was to realistically portray the scientific truths behind the destinies of human beings and human societies.
His hero, born Lucien Chardon, is a poor young man as beautiful as any successful courtesan who has some literary wit, a taste for luxury, and a burning social ambition. In other words, better looking and less talented than Balzac, but with the same emotions. Lucien falls for an older woman, Madame de Bargeton, a member of the provincial aristocracy. She falls for Lucien's good looks and flattery, leaves her boring husband, and carries Lucien off to Paris. If there's anything Balzac knew perfectly, it was the relationship between a poor ambitious young man and an older, richer, better born woman, because he depended for most of his life on a series of similar relationships to pay his debts and build up his monumental ego.
Soon after the lovers arrive in Paris, their love starts to fray at the edges. In the case both of Madame de Bargeton and Lucien, mutual disenchantment was setting in, and Paris was the cause of it. Lucien sees Madame de Bargeton "as she was seen by the people of Paris: a tall, desiccated woman with freckled skin, faded complexion and strikingly red hair: angular, affected, pretentious, provincial of speech, and above all badly dressed!
The "little papers" that for awhile provide Lucien with money and an introduction to high society thrive on satire, sarcasm, personal attack, and scandal-mongering. Their owners and journalists are addicted to graft, intrigue, and blackmail. They bear an astonishing resemblance to today's journalistic world of bloggers and cable news channels, just as the young "actresses" who live off rich old men and dominate Paris gossip for a year or two before disappearing into obscure poverty resemble today's celebutantes.
And beautiful dissolute bisexual Lucien could be any of the actors who astonish us briefly with their talent then die before they're thirty. Except that Lucien doesn't die. View all 3 comments. In Les Illusions Perdues , Balzac brings to our attention the story of a very ambitious young man, his more modest friend, and his sister, whom his friend marries in the beggining of the narrative.
Lucien Chardon whose surname means "thistle" is an example of the typical representation of a poet in the romanticist movement: idealistic, very much in love with the beauty of nature namely that of women , excitable, naive and full of expectations for the future. He sets out to publish his "Daisies", his collection of poems. In his mind, he will conquer the ballrooms of Paris and achieve the greatest of nobilities in the companion of Louise de Bargeton, who elopes with him from their provincial life and into his wild dreams of glamor and triumph.
In the midst of Parisian Nobility, seeing him dethroned from his expectations of immediate glory, Louise de Bargeton, the only link Monsieur Chardon has to the nobility he aspires to and to the individuals he needs in order to fulfill his visions of glory, leaves our beloved hero to his own, apparently miserable fate.
There he meets Daniel D'Arthez and his intellectual group, who aspire to a life of honest work in various areas, living ethically and within their means, but he also becomes linked with the journalists of Paris, who use the press to attack and to uphold whatever fits their agenda. Our hero becomes a man divided, and idealist trapped in the unscrupulous net of his own ambition. So he becomes a journalist. Soon he is valued as one of the most dangerous writers in Paris. His pen flows in satire of his former mistress, of anyone who stands in his way or in that of his associates.
He has ascended to the chimerical throne--only to find it has a broken leg! As he makes the mistake of overestimating his ability and neglects a few of his partnerships in favor of ones that were created with the purpose of ruining him--a most malicious plot, in which Monsieur Chardon is baited into believing he will be conceded nobility--he tumbles down towards the carpet of misery once more; he returns at the end to the Province a heartbroken man a girl dies, I forget the details , his son-in-law ruined after having to pay off his debts; he tries to kill himself; he is convinced by a manic priest to return to Paris, where he will have his private vengeance and achieve greatness in the name of the life he himself was not meant to live the priest.
There is rarely a time--it is to be cherished--when this fundamental indifference towards the mannequins that surround us is broken. When it is, it is mostly because they are mirrors to ourselves. The idealist or the artist who is in love with humanity is only in love with it as long as it is an idea, as long as it doesn't materialize itself in someone concrete who in some way opposes him, and who is just as blind to the possibility of otherness as himself or anyone else, most of the time.
Then there are the ones like Balzac, who play with it being that way, hence revealing to us the possibility of struggle for something hopelessly lost. And whatever it is, it is not our Illusions. Dec 12, Elizabeth Alaska rated it really liked it Shelves: books , kindle , france , author-balzac , nineteenth-century. This is a trilogy, consisting of: Two Poets A Distinguished Provincial at Paris and Eve and David Originally published separately in , , and , they are now usually combined in one volume under the title of Lost Illusions.
However, if you find them separately, be sure to read them in that order. This starts very slowly. Had I not read other Balzac, I might not have continued past the first pages.
Soon, however, the story begins to reveal itself, and I could not help myself. There are This is a trilogy, consisting of: Two Poets A Distinguished Provincial at Paris and Eve and David Originally published separately in , , and , they are now usually combined in one volume under the title of Lost Illusions. There are further slow places. The longer middle section of Balzac's story is of Paris some 20 years earlier than its publication and provides valuable background of a Paris in the Restoration. While not riveting, perhaps, it is a history of journalism and the publishing industry.
I suspect this is the primary reason the trilogy makes it to the list. Unlike Dickens, whose characters are either good or bad, you will not find an unflawed character in Balzac. In Lost Illusions, you will be hard-pressed to find an unselfish one. Not only is everyone out for their own self-interests, but, with few exceptions, each is compelled to succeed by trampling another - sometimes as many of the others as possible.
Sometimes I felt my head spinning over so much double-dealing!
I do like Balzac. My 4 stars might not be your 4 stars, and I admit this just barely makes into that grouping for me. In this book, Vautrin may or may not seduce Lucien with a cigar; back in there was a mildly comical exchange on this point between Susan Sontag and Richard Ellmann. There are many reasons to read Balzac. One is if you have too much time on your hands. These multi-volume 19th century novels must have been a welcome treat when they first appeared, but I confess I've grow a bit impatient with Balzac's "documentation" of French society e.
Somehow I doubt I'll be visiting that harlot anytime soon. I took this book in my pocket on a recent trip to a party in north London Hampstead , which although it only took me an hour to get there is a world away from the unfashionable hidden corner of rural England which I generally inhabit. I was struck by the same dichotomy in Balzac's novel - the city, metropolitan, glittering, exciting but corrupt - contrasted with the countryside - authentic, good, peaceful, but dull.
The narrative is utterly gripping from start to finish Surely there must have been SOME journalists who genuinely believed the political positions they took - they can't all have been bought and sold as easily as Balzac suggests - as things stand in the novel the author's total cynicism seems almost as bad as the corruption he excoriates; - All this mockery about the hero's social climbing is all very well, but isn't there a whiff of hypocrisy about M. Does the novel gain strength from Balzac's complicity in the faults of his hero, or..?
But these quibbles didn't really detract from my wholehearted enjoyment of this fascinating novel. Mar 03, Laura rated it really liked it Shelves: books-you-must-read-before-you , french-literature. Apr 08, Yasmin Rodrigues rated it it was amazing.
I was chocked with Balzac's descriptions about Lucien's thoughts, so true for an ambicious mind, that lead him to a complete personal disaster, with his mind full of illusions. For me the illusion is one of the most beautiful feelings, because can change anything, can trick you in the way you want, it's something inherent to the human being. That's how I feel and how I felt about Lucien while reading this I was chocked with Balzac's descriptions about Lucien's thoughts, so true for an ambicious mind, that lead him to a complete personal disaster, with his mind full of illusions.
That's how I feel and how I felt about Lucien while reading this book. I got through most of it before I drowned under the the weight of other readings and essays, I swear! His delineation of the broader social background is far more precise. However, even the change of tempo from Part II to Part III is but a superficial point of contrast between life as it is lived in the capital and life in the provinces. Everywhere the same laws of human behaviour apply.
In Illusions perdues there is an unusual example of this, Part II of the novel serving as the prelude to the extended flashback which follows in Part III. Characters and viewpoints are polarized. And this polarization reaches the point of melodrama as Balzac appears to draw moral distinctions between "vice" and "virtue". Thus, through what structurally is melodrama, he underlines what he considers to be the fundamental resemblance of opposites.
Jane Austen satirizes it in Northanger Abbey. Within the nexus of love, in her relationship with Lucien, Coralie is life-giving: her love has a sacramental quality. She is, in other words, both a Fallen and a Risen Woman, depending upon the nexus within which she is viewed. Mme de Bargeton finds no fault with his amorous competence, nor does Coralie. Yet, partly because of his existential circumstances and also because of the narrative context in which Balzac places him, it appears that Lucien is fundamentally homosexual.