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Honore De Balzac's Eugenie Grandet (Classics in French Literature)

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30 review for Honore De Balzac's Eugenie Grandet (Classics in French Literature)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan Zinner

    The last book I read (Anita Brookner's "The Debut") mentioned the impact of this book on the main character (and that book closely mirrored the life of Brookner's protagonist), so I read this one after many years. It is probably my favorite Balzac (although I have read only about half of La Comedie Humaine). Eugenie is a sweet girl whose miserly father has not swayed her from her innocent ways. She even gives all of her money to her cousin who swears he will marry her when he returns from making The last book I read (Anita Brookner's "The Debut") mentioned the impact of this book on the main character (and that book closely mirrored the life of Brookner's protagonist), so I read this one after many years. It is probably my favorite Balzac (although I have read only about half of La Comedie Humaine). Eugenie is a sweet girl whose miserly father has not swayed her from her innocent ways. She even gives all of her money to her cousin who swears he will marry her when he returns from making his fortune. This being Balzac, all does not all well. While there are extremes in personalities, there are also essential human truths captured as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Youssef Al Sharifi

    Comme toujours, difficile de commencer la lecture lorsque Balzac est l’auteur. Une fois les descriptions terminées, l’histoire devient très passionnante et les pages s’enchaînent sans grandes difficultés. Les œuvres dans « La comédie humaine » nous inspire tous des personnes que nous avons connues, Eugénie, Charles, Nanon et surtout, Félix en font partie.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Appropriately, I read most of this 1833 French novel (in English - Jean Peyrazat is the translator, apparently) on a flight to France. It was the first novel I read on my new Kindle. I had read EUGENIE GRANDET four years ago in French (laboriously), but this time, even though I was reading in English, I thought it was a poor translation. I'm not sure I'd recognize a good translation if it clubbed me on the noggin, but a poor one calls attention to itself with awkward and archaic word choices, a Appropriately, I read most of this 1833 French novel (in English - Jean Peyrazat is the translator, apparently) on a flight to France. It was the first novel I read on my new Kindle. I had read EUGENIE GRANDET four years ago in French (laboriously), but this time, even though I was reading in English, I thought it was a poor translation. I'm not sure I'd recognize a good translation if it clubbed me on the noggin, but a poor one calls attention to itself with awkward and archaic word choices, as if the translator's grasp of English was shaky. I thought a good summing up of this novel is supplied by Balzac who cynically reinterprets the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" religious idea. He writes, "Oh! Who has ever understood the lamb lying peacefully at the feet of God - a touching emblem of all terrestrial victims, myth of their future, suffering and weakness glorified! This is the lamb that the miser fattens, puts in his fold, slaughters, cooks, eats, and then despises. the pasture of misers is compounded of money and disdain." In this novel money corrupts everyone; there is no resisting its power, even the seemingly pure Eugenie is ruined by it in the end. To the extent that wealth and its pursuit still rules the world, all of us have become "lambs" led to the slaughter. There are two pursuits in this novel, the pursuit of money and the pursuit of love. Money wins out, no contest. The story is quite simple and set in a land rich Loire valley province of France. Felix Grandet is as grasping and cunning a miser as you will find, living in a rundown house that he is too cheap to repair He spends day and night thinking of how to make ever more money, and in the process he neglects his long suffering wife and his only child, Eugenie. Both have been beaten down and agree meekly with whatever he wants to do. There are two rival families, the Bonfons and the Grassins in the area who are angling to have Eugenie marry into them, knowing that eventually it will result in some of Grandet's money coming their way. Grandet know they're up to, trying to work through his daughter and plays one off against the other. As he puts it, "Neither will have my daughter, but they're useful as harpoons to fish with." Grandet is described as being somewhere between a tiger and a boa constrictor when it comes to seeking out and grasping money. Everything begins to change when Charles Grandet, a nephew from Paris, arrives. He's a conceited ass who thinks of himself as a French Lord Byron and looks down his nose at the rubes in this place. But he soon learns that he is penniless as his father has suddenly died, deeply indebted. Felix hatches a scheme to buy up his brother's assets at discount and then refuse to pay his creditors. Not very ethical, but it's guaranteed to produce more money for himself. Charles, now destitute, becomes moved by Eugenie's innate pity and kindness and they fall in love. But old Felix manages to get him sent off to the West Indies to make something of himself. He promises to return and reunite with Eugenie. Eight years go by without a singe word from him, but Eugenie remains true Charles becomes rich in the slave trade and returns to France, having forgotten all about Eugenie. Instead, he marries someone else. And poor Eugenie - what happens to her? By now, both of her parents have died, and she is a wealthy, if disillusioned, woman.. She wants to join a convent, but the local priest convinces her to marry and spread her wealth in the community. She grudgingly marries one of the Bonfons, with the provision that she be allowed to keep her virginity. He dies young and she is left a wealthy widow. She is very unhappy and the novel closes with her living as miserly as her father. The fruit never falls far from the tree, does it? Old Felix Grandel rules the life of his daughter from beyond the grave.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I have never ready any Blazac and for some reason had it in my head that he was philosophical. Instead, this felt like a mix between Dicken's Christmas Carol (although written beforehand, Monsiuer Grandet is very scrooge-like) and a Jane Austin novel. I'm not sure why it was titled after Eugenie, she is not really the main character; her father is the driving force throughout 75% of the novel and even after his death, he still manages to ruin her life. As always in books from this time period, t I have never ready any Blazac and for some reason had it in my head that he was philosophical. Instead, this felt like a mix between Dicken's Christmas Carol (although written beforehand, Monsiuer Grandet is very scrooge-like) and a Jane Austin novel. I'm not sure why it was titled after Eugenie, she is not really the main character; her father is the driving force throughout 75% of the novel and even after his death, he still manages to ruin her life. As always in books from this time period, the heroine is foiled in romance because the object of her love fails to understand her true economic position. Probably the only thing I really liked about the novel is that it didn't clear up in the end and everyone did not live happily ever after. Although, I would have preferred if the "moral" of the story didn't end up feeling like it was in support of a miserly existence.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    I also have the suspicion that some of the essence is probably lost in English translation. I wish I could read French well enough to take on a novel :(

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megi

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vega

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nataša Dubajić

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Marquez

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Vinueza Pérez

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mona EL Wakeel

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ann Heitkemper

  14. 5 out of 5

    Belka

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eugenia Turculet

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roxana

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aisha

  18. 4 out of 5

    Monika

  19. 5 out of 5

    André Sollitto

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eugenia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aniela

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fatbardha Lushi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victor

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ana Peuraca

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liviu Cirneciu

  27. 5 out of 5

    Edita

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandhya Kiran

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carlo Hublet

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tijana Midžić

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