Bureaucrats

Overview


The Bureaucrats (Les Employes) stands out in Balzac's immense Human Comedy by concentrating precisely and penetratingly on a distinctive "modern" institution: France's state bureaucracy. Rabourdin, aided by his unscrupulous wife, attempts to reorganize and streamline the entire system. Rabourdin's plan will halve the government's size while doubling its revenue. When the plan is leaked, Rabourdin's rival--an utter incompetent--gains the overwhelming support of the frightened ...
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Overview


The Bureaucrats (Les Employes) stands out in Balzac's immense Human Comedy by concentrating precisely and penetratingly on a distinctive "modern" institution: France's state bureaucracy. Rabourdin, aided by his unscrupulous wife, attempts to reorganize and streamline the entire system. Rabourdin's plan will halve the government's size while doubling its revenue. When the plan is leaked, Rabourdin's rival--an utter incompetent--gains the overwhelming support of the frightened and desperate body of low-ranking functionaries.

The novel contains the recognizable themes of Balzac's work: obsessive ambition, conspiracy and human pettiness, and a melodramatic struggle between the social good and the evils of folly and stupidity. It is also an unusual, dramatized analysis of a developing political institution and its role in shaping social class and mentality.

A cynical and panoramic view of 19th century Paris.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810109872
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Series: European Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 247
  • Sales rank: 1,439,458
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Honoré de Balzac (French pronunciation: [ɔ.nɔ.ʁe d(ə) bal.zak] ; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.

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