French Literature (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

French Literature (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

by Barnes & Noble, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, Voltaire

The crème de la crème of one of the great literatures of the world:

• Lost Illusions: Set partly in Paris and partly in the provinces, this novel by Honorè de Balzac has captivated both readers and critics since its first publication in 1837. Its twin tales of a vain, naïve poet and his betrayed scientist brother-in-law

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The crème de la crème of one of the great literatures of the world:

• Lost Illusions: Set partly in Paris and partly in the provinces, this novel by Honorè de Balzac has captivated both readers and critics since its first publication in 1837. Its twin tales of a vain, naïve poet and his betrayed scientist brother-in-law artfully render the socio-economic upheavals of early nineteenth century France.

• Swann's Way: The first novel in Marcel Proust's seven-volume magnum opus À la rechercheé du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past, or more literally, In Search of Lost Time) is also the most accessible and widely read. Charles Swann's freely associative ruminations and the alternate third person narration intertwine to give this radically innovative fiction, like its eating of the Madeleine, an intimacy of experience seldom encountered in literature.

• Les Misérables: This vast work, here presented in a carefully edited abridged edition, follows the lives of several men and women in the seventeen tumultuous years that culminated in the 1832 June Rebellion. The gripping story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his eventual redemption have inspired dozens of films and other theatrical productions.

• Madame Bovary: Originally attacked by public prosecutors as obscene, Gustave Flaubert's 1857 novel about an adulterous doctor's wife is now justly regarded as one of the masterworks of world literature. The realism and subtlety of the fiction have made it a favorite among a wide diversity of readers.

• Nana: "Nana turns into myth, without ceasing to be real" is how fellow novelist Gustave Flaubert praised Émile Zola's novel about a Parisian streetwalker who became a "high-class cocotte." Hailed in its own time, this artfully embellished fiction unfolds for its audience the entire social fabric of France during that period.

• The Count of Monte Cristo: As Luc Sante notes in his brilliant introduction, Alexander Dumas' swashbuckling novel has become a fixture in Western literature "as inescapable and immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse, Noah's flood, and the story of Little Riding Hood." Edmond Dantès' daring adventures and risky disguises are as pulse-raising today as they were to readers in 1844.

• Candide: Whether read as a light picaresque novel or an erudite philosophical satire, Voltaire's classic will whet your senses. Originally written to "bring amusement to a few men of wit," this miniature classic about one man's search for happiness has attracted a wide readership and influenced modern writers including Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, and Thomas Pynchon.

The Barnes & Noble Classics series offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics series:
• New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
• Biographies of the authors
• Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
• Footnotes and endnotes
• Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
• Comments by other famous authors
• Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
• Bibliographies for further reading
• Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate

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Product Details

Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
Barnes & Noble Classics Series
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Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 14.30(h) x 6.30(d)

Meet the Author

Honorè de Balzac (1799-1850) was born in the south of France to a prominent family. Before the French Revolution, his father had been the Secretary to the King's Council. After Honorè completed his studies at the Sorbonne, his father persuaded him to follow him in legal studies. However, three stultifying years as a lawyer's apprentice convinced the young man to pursue another course. Before long, he was writing librettos, plays, short stories, and potboiler novels. In 1832, he was struck by a grand idea: He would create a vast series of books that would compose a panoramic portrait of society in all its aspects. This project would come to be known as La Comédie humaine, a magnum opus that would eventually encompass nearly one hundred finished works. Plagued by medical problems throughout his life, the hard-working Balzac died just five months after marrying Ewelina Hanska, the love of his life.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) spent most of his life in northern France, not far from his birthplace in the city of Rouen. He did spend several years in Paris studying law, finally abandoning both as distasteful in 1846. Three years later, he took an extended trip to the Middle East, visiting Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey. In 1859, he visited Tunisia to research his Salammbô, a novel set in third century B.C.E. Carthage. In addition to this work and Madame Bovary (1857), his first novel, his writings include November (1842), Sentimental Education (1869), The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1874)), and Bouvard et Pecuchet (1881).

Émile Zola (1840-1902) created Les Rougon-Macquart, an ambitious twenty-volume cycle of novels about a single family during the Second French Empire, but today he is perhaps remembered for his ringing L'Accuse attack on the government during the Dreyfus Affair. His major works of this exponent of naturalism include L'Assommoir (1877), Nana (1880), Germinal (1885), and his Les Trois Villes trilogy (1894-1898)

The incredibly prolific Alexander Dumas (1802-1870) was the James Patterson of his day, producing hundreds of works with the aid of assistants and collaborators. Among his most famous novels are The Three Musketeers (1844), Twenty Years After (1845), The Count of Monte Cristo (1845-1846), The Vicomte de Bragelonne (1847), and The Black Tulip (1850).

Born Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), but known by his pen name Voltaire wrote more than two thousand books and pamphlets during his lifetime. His work including novels, poetry, plays, histories, scientific and philosophical works.

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