Eugenie Grandet

( 17 )

Overview

Saumur, the setting for Eugenie Grandet (1833), one of the earliest and most famous novels in Balzac's great Comedie humaine. The Grandet household, oppressed by the exacting miserliness of Grandet himself, is jerked violently out of routine by the sudden arrival of Eugenie's cousin Charles, recently orphaned and penniless. Eugenie's emotional awakening, stimulated by her love for her cousin, brings her into direct conflict with her father, whose cunning and financial success are matched against her determination...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (2) from $5.66   
  • New (2) from $5.66   
Eugenie Grandet

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$0.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Saumur, the setting for Eugenie Grandet (1833), one of the earliest and most famous novels in Balzac's great Comedie humaine. The Grandet household, oppressed by the exacting miserliness of Grandet himself, is jerked violently out of routine by the sudden arrival of Eugenie's cousin Charles, recently orphaned and penniless. Eugenie's emotional awakening, stimulated by her love for her cousin, brings her into direct conflict with her father, whose cunning and financial success are matched against her determination to rebel. Eugenie's moving story is set against the backdrop of provincial oppression, the vicissitudes of the wine trade, and the workings of the financial system in the aftermath of the French Revolution. It is both a poignant portrayal of private life and a vigorous fictional document of its age.

A cynical and panoramic view of 19th century Paris.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Balzac's 1834 King Lear-esque novel here gets a little fresh air breathed into it by Burton Raffel, who won the 1991 French-American Translation Prize.
From the Publisher

"This brilliant but devastatingly sad novel moved me so much, I began it again the moment I got to the end."  —Rose Tremain
The Barnes & Noble Review

Does anyone read Balzac for pleasure anymore? Surely, Le Père Goriot, which has spawned many an academic paper delineating parallels with King Lear, is still taught in French literature courses. I recently picked up Eugénie Grandet, which I hadn't read in decades, and devoured it — a provocative, entertaining moral tale about avarice that, although written in 1833, remains astonishingly relevant. Like Dickens, Balzac zeroes in on the dark side of rampant capitalism, but instead of focusing pityingly on the have-nots, he skewers his era's crass Masters of the Universe, though with more humor than moral outrage.

For readers who associate classics with bad memories of impenetrably fusty homework assignments, let me say this: If you love the way Jonathan Franzen's or Meg Wolitzer's domestic dramas provide a window onto the shortcomings and foibles of our culture, check out Balzac, the granddaddy of realist literature.

Eugénie Grandet, Balzac's first bestseller, is about a miserly old coot, a cooper turned wine grower turned wily investor who has amassed a fortune through a financially advantageous marriage, followed by complex financial wheelings and dealings that make hedge funds and short calls seem straightforward and Ponzi schemes seem legit. It's about the tyranny and corruptive power of what Balzac calls "the only god that anyone believes in nowadays — Money."

The tragic figure at the novel's center is the titular Eugénie, the miser's once sweet, innocent daughter. Her sad story is a cautionary tale about what happens when an obsession with lucre and social position supplants human affection. She inherits her father's financial savvy and avaricious ways along with his fortune but is miserably shortchanged in the love department.

Honoré de Balzac was no stranger to the tyranny of money. He was born in Tours in 1799, without the noble "de," which his father, a civil servant, added in an attempt to further improve his social standing after marrying Balzac's mother, a relatively wealthy haberdasher's daughter. Balzac studied law and philosophy but to his family's dismay (some things never change) settled on a literary career, in which he was not initially successful. He also failed repeatedly in various publishing and business ventures, which landed him in debt—but later provided grist for his fictional mill. Perhaps to compensate, he wrote at a feverish pitch, fueled by gallons of coffee. He was the Joyce Carol Oates of his day, producing some ninety novels in twenty years.

His personal life, like his fiction, was a larger-than-life, swirling mix of realism and romanticism. Rodin's famous bronze sculpture captures the writer's monumentality. Balzac probably fathered a daughter and son in the 1830s by two of his many married lovers. His most enduring relationship, with Mme. Eweline Hanska, began in 1833 as an epistolary exchange concerning his portrayal of women and religion in his work. Mme. Hanska had been married off to an older, rich Polish landowner to cement her family's fortunes. She and Balzac finally married in March 1850, nine years after she was widowed and just months before Balzac's death that August, at fifty-one.

Seemingly everything he observed and thought went into his Human Comedy, the sweeping collection of linked, realist novels in which he determinedly set out to depict a broad swath of post- Revolutionary French society. Eugénie Grandet, with its tight construction and relative brevity, is a perfect introduction to Balzac. His characters are grossly, amusingly exaggerated, yet their humanity is captured with a combination of flamboyantly vivid physical descriptions and bemused, often piercing psychological insight. Yet his often-criticized tendency toward hyper-detailed descriptions is held in check in this uncharacteristically short novel.

The plot of Eugénie Grandet is simple: In 1819, on Eugénie's twenty-third birthday, her handsome cousin, Charles Grandet, a spoiled dandy from Paris, shows up at the uninviting, woefully rundown house in the Loire Valley town of Saumur, where Eugénie lives with her pathologically tightfisted father, downtrodden mother, and their overworked servant, Nanon. While Eugénie and her mother have no idea how rich Félix Grandet actually is, his banker, des Grassins, and his notary, Cruchot, aren't quite so clueless. The two men and their families jockey shamelessly for the old man's favor and Eugénie's hand.

Balzac has a field day contrasting the sumptuousness of Charles's finery with the penury of Maison Grandet: "He had a specimen of every variety of tie and cravat in favour at the moment, two coats designed by Buisson, and his finest linen?" After pages of lavish description worthy of a Saks Fifth Avenue catalogue, Balzac comments wryly: "Only a Parisian, and a Parisian from the highest spheres, could fit himself up in this style, and not only avoid looking ridiculous, but even give to all his affectations an air of being modishly right, carrying them off with a gallant swagger?."

Contrast this with the importuning Cruchots, all three of whom "took snuff, and had long ceased to trouble about drops on the end of their noses and little black specks scattered over their shirt frills?. Every grace was lacking in them, and the lack was aggravated by an apathy more proper to senility. Their faces, as faded as their threadbare coats, as creased as their trousers, were worn, the skin toughened and shriveled, a grimace their only expression." Merciless, no?

As for Eugénie, although not conventionally pretty, she is compared to the Venus de Milo, "vigorous and built on such a generous scale," albeit "refined by that sweetness of Christian feeling which gives a woman a dignity and distinction—she was beautiful with that unmistakable beauty that only artists delight in." But Eugénie regards herself, her gloomy home, and even her father in a newly critical light after Charles's arrival. Emboldened by her surge of feelings for her cousin, she dares to indulge him with real wax candles (instead of cheaper, smelly tallow), eggs, and extra sugar. Her profligate defiance enrages Père Grandet as much as what he deems to be her misplaced affection.

Charles's father, it turns out, faced with the ignominy of bankruptcy, has killed himself and thrown his son on the mercy of his uncle. Charles quickly realizes that he must seek his fortune in the East Indies and unwisely trusts his uncle to settle his father's debts. When he leaves, he takes Eugénie's heart — and her small hoard of gold — with him, vowing to return with both. Eugénie Grandet is about unscrupulous people, and while Balzac has prepared us for Charles's dastardly behavior toward smitten Eugénie, it still comes as a shock to learn that this sweet-faced dandy, who wept over his father's death, makes his fortune in the slave trade. Even in 1833, decades before the American Civil War, Balzac's damning portrait of Charles's descent into unscrupulous selfishness is unequivocal: Charles, he writes, "no longer held fixed views on what was right or wrong...his heart grew cold, insensible, indifferent."

But here's the thing about Balzac: Amid bald declarations — "Money without honor is an affliction!" — you always find more subtle shadings. Yes, his portrait of old Grandet — an obsessive skinflint willing to cheat everyone for a franc, including his own family — is unrelievedly heinous, like an Ebenezer Scrooge without transformative redemption (Dickens's Christmas Carol was published ten years after Eugénie Grandet), or like Moli`re's miser, Harpagon, minus the riotous satire. Yet Balzac still manages to surprise us repeatedly. The hard, calculated bargain that Eugénie drives with her equally calculating future husband—I won't say who—should provide gold coin for book group discussions. So, too, will the joylessness of this heiress's existence. Disappointed in love and all too aware of the financial motives that drive most men, she is unable to let down her guard with anyone. As a result, her life is even bleaker than her father's—who at least took pleasure in his pursuit of wealth. In the Grandets' saga, Balzac makes one thing very clear: Money certainly can't buy happiness if you're unwilling to spend it.

Money is a vast topic in literature — second only to love, perhaps. In Eugénie Grandet, Balzac manages to combine both in a remarkably incisive little tragedy. For further reading, here are a few other books in which money and greed play a dominant, corrupting role: Balzac's Père Goriot, Molière's Miser, Edith Wharton's House of Mirth, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, Martin Amis's Money: A Suicide Note, Martha McPhee's Dear Money, Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic, Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and John Lanchester's Capital, set at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. Literary riches, for sure.

Heller McAlpin is a New York–based critic who reviews books for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

Reviewer: Heller McAlpin

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781484990759
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 5/16/2013
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Honoré de Balzac's (1799–1850) masterpiece Comédie humaine comprises 91 separate works, including Eugénie Grandet, Père Goirot, The Wild Ass's Skin, and The Black Sheep. Many of his novels were critically acclaimed on publication, and went on to profoundly influence authors from Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert to Charles Dickens and Henry James. Rose Tremain is the author of Music & Silence, which won a Whitbread Award; Restoration, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Road Home, which won the Orange Prize; and Trespass. She has judged the Booker Prize twice.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Note on the Text xxx
Select Bibliography xxxi
A Chronology of Honore de Balzac xxxii
Portraits of Bourgeois 3
The Cousin from Paris 35
Provincial Love 54
A Miser's Promises and Lovers' Vows 90
Family Sorrows 134
The Way of the World 169
Explanatory Notes 193
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    LEGEND OF ZELDA RP!

    At tetra all results! Im Zelda from Skyward Sword! Please join!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Tried many times over several weeks. Won't download.

    Do not waste your time. Find another version.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Dragonstar ($tar¿lan)

    She ressurects the kits. "Go to htee 1 result. Breeze€lan will help you."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Dishjs

    *A small silver kit with a diamond pattern on her forehead stumbles in, she is very weak* I am s-spiritkit. I need a clan. I a-am six moons old. My brother and i can speak to starclan at w-will. My brother is smokekit and hes about to die. *Collapses and starts wheezing* Please…help us…rejected...by…other…clans…cuz of…powers... *Stops talking and is barely breathing as smokekit, a gray tom with the same diamond pattern on his forehead staggers in* No! Im not losing you, to! *He collapses beside her and whispers* Theyll reject us too, so lets go. Ill take care of you, i promise. He suddenly stops breathing and dies beside spiritkit, just like thier mother*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Alonekit

    Eats five poppy seeds

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Spiritkit

    Alonekit i told you that you were healed you should tell the other kits

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Songfire

    Uh- so i can?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Silvermoonstar

    "Whats that prophecy about?"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Gingerkit

    "Hi Luckyclaw! Im Gingerkit."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Silverkit

    Says jovially, "FrozenClan is trying to ally with all the non-evil NookClans! Owlwhisker's going everywhere to ask for alliegences!" --Silverkit||

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    The kit

    Caughs

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Autumnstar to Tawnyfur

    "Come to Shadowclan at 'shadow' second result. We will take care of you." ~Autumnstar :3

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    H

    Hello! Sorry to intrude. I just opened a school called Chesterfield Academy, grades 7-12. If anyone would like to enroll, go to the 12 result! (Not counting apps, just books.) We are also hiring sports coaches, a music teacher, a gym coach, and a couple teachers for the grades. If you want the job, got to the 13 result. If you want to enrool into Chesterfield, it is a boy and girl school, and you dont live there. I hope to see you there!

    -Miss Allister, principal. (Cant read headlines)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Treekit

    *Looks at the spirit in confusion* are you lost?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Darkrain

    A black she-cat with sky-blue eyes pads into the clearing. "I would like to join this Clan..."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Shadowrain to clan leader

    Hello. Ive come to join your clan, and to become your mate.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)