Lost Illusions (The Human Comedy)

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9780140442519: Lost Illusions (The Human Comedy)
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Handsome would-be poet Lucien Chardon is poor and naïve, but highly ambitious. Failing to make his name in his dull provincial hometown, he is taken up by a patroness, the captivating married woman Madame de Bargeton, and prepares to forge his way in the glamorous beau monde of Paris. But Lucien has entered a world far more dangerous than he realized, as Madame de Bargeton's reputation becomes compromised and the fickle, venomous denizens of the courts and salons conspire to keep him out of their ranks. Lucien eventually learns that, wherever he goes, talent counts for nothing in comparison to money, intrigue and unscrupulousness. Lost Illusions is one of the greatest novels in the rich procession of the Comédie humaine, Balzac's panoramic social and moral history of his times.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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"Balzac [was] the master unequalled in the art of painting humanity as it exists in modern society," wrote George Sand. "He searched and dared everything."
Written between 1837 and 1843, Lost Illusions reveals, perhaps better than any other of Balzac's ninety-two novels, the nature and scope of his genius. The story of Lucien Chardon, a young poet from Angouleme who tries desperately to make a name for himself in Paris, is a brilliantly realistic and boldly satirical portrait of provincial manners and aristocratic life. Handsome and ambitious but naive, Lucien is patronized by the beau monde as represented by Madame de Bargeton and her cousin, the formidable Marquise d'Espard, only to be duped by them. Denied the social rank he thought would be his, Lucien discards his poetic aspirations and turns to hack journalism; his descent into Parisian low life ultimately leads to his own death.
"Balzac was both a greedy child and an indefatigable observer of a greedy age, at once a fantastic and a genius, yet possessing a simple core of common sense," noted V. S. Pritchett, one of his several biographers. Another, Andre Maurois, concluded: "Balzac was by turns a saint, a criminal, an honest judge, a corrupt judge, a minister, a fob, a harlot, a duchess, and always a genius."

From the Back Cover:


The Modern Library of the World's
Best Books

"All Balzac's characters are endowed with the zest for life with which he himself was animated. All his fabrications are
as intensely colored as dreams. From the highest ranks of the aristocracy to the lowest dregs of society, all the actors in his
Comedie are more eager for life, more energetic and cunning in their struggles, more patient in misfortune, more greedy in pleasure, more angelic in devotion than they are in the comedy of the real world. In a word, everyone in Balzac has genius....Every living soul is a weapon loaded to the very muzzle with will."


--Charles Baudelaire

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9780375757907: Lost Illusions (Modern Library Classics)

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ISBN 10:  0375757902 ISBN 13:  9780375757907
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9781593083151: Lost Illusions (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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9781515436690: Lost Illusions

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9781348073093: Lost Illusions: Illusions Perdues

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