The Unknown Masterpiece (New York Review of Books Classics Series)

The Unknown Masterpiece (New York Review of Books Classics Series)

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by Honore de Balzac
     
 

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A New York Review Books Original

One of Honoré de Balzac's most celebrated tales, "The Unknown Masterpiece" is the story of a painter who, depending on one's perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius—or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cézanne, Henry James, Picasso,

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Overview

A New York Review Books Original

One of Honoré de Balzac's most celebrated tales, "The Unknown Masterpiece" is the story of a painter who, depending on one's perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius—or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cézanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton's words, a "fable of modern art."

Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, "The Unknown Masterpiece" appears, as Balzac intended, with "Gambara," a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The greatest novelist of the nineteenth century and perhaps of all time.” —The New York Times

“The hero of The Unknown Masterpiece, Frenhofer, is one of Balzac’s archetypal artists. . .” —TheWashington Post

Booknews
Balzac's two tragic short stories about a painter, a composer and the nature of creativity are both beautifully translated here by Howard, a poet and translator, and introduced by the art critic Arthur Danto. The experience of the artist portrayed in the so influenced Picasso he moved into the house at the address Balzac had given his fictional character in Paris; these stories may thus be usefully connected to the milieu of modern art in 19th-century France. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780940322745
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
08/28/2000
Series:
New York Review Books Classics Series
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,382,502
Product dimensions:
4.99(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.45(d)

Meet the Author

Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850) is generally credited as the inventor of the modern realistic novel. In more than ninety novels, he set forth French society and life as he saw it. He created a cast of over two thousand individual and identifiable characters, some of whom reappear in different novels. He organized his works into his masterpiece, La Comedie Humaine,which was the final result of his attempt to grasp the whole of society and experience into one varied but unified work.

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland in 1929. He is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry and has published more than one hundred fifty translations from the French, including works by Gide, Stendhal, de Beauvoir, Baudelaire, and de Gaulle. Howard received a National Book Award for his translation of Fleurs du mal and a Pulitzer Prize for Untitled Subjects, a collection of poetry.

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