The Black Sheep

The Black Sheep


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His elegantly-crafted tale of sibling rivalry, Honoré de Balzac's The Black Sheep is translated from the French with an introduction by Donald Adamson in Penguin Classics. Philippe and Joseph Bridau are two extremely different brothers. The elder, Philippe, is a superficially heroic soldier and adored by their mother Agathe. He is nonetheless a bitter figure, secretly gambling away her savings after a brief but glorious career as Napoleon's aide-de-camp at the battle of Montereau. His younger brother Joseph, meanwhile, is fundamentally virtuous - but their mother is blinded to his kindness by her disapproval of his life as an artist. Foolish and prejudiced, Agathe lives on unaware that she is being cynically manipulated by her own favourite child - but will she ever discover which of her sons is truly the black sheep of the family? A dazzling depiction of the power of money and the cruelty of life in nineteenth-century France, The Black Sheep compellingly explores is a compelling exploration of the nature of deceit. Donald Adamson's translation captures the radical modernity of Balzac's style, while his introduction places The Black Sheep in its context as one of the great novels of Balzac's renowned Comédie humaine

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140442373
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/1976
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 638,213
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The son of a civil servant, Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799 in Tours, France. After attending boarding school in Vendôme, he gravitated to Paris where he worked as a legal clerk and a hack writer, using various pseudonyms, often in collaboration with other writers. Balzac turned exclusively to fiction at the age of thirty and went on to write a large number of novels and short stories set amid turbulent nineteenth-century France. He entitled his collective works The Human Comedy. Along with Victor Hugo and Dumas père and fils, Balzac was one of the pillars of French romantic literature. He died in 1850, shortly after his marriage to the Polish countess Evelina Hanska, his lover of eighteen years.

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The Black Sheep 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
stephenmurphy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rip-roaring and full of sex. Fab.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although full of action and entertaining, "The Black Sheep" is something more. This is a story of two brothers and a mother, very similar to my own family situation, and apparently like Balzac's home life as well - speaking from personal experience, the novel has a good deal of verisimilitude: the competition for the affection of the mother, the changing fortunes of the brothers - one plodding slowly along, the other a bright but erratic star - the physical prowess and weakness of each - these are not just fictional devices. Balzac speaks broadly to the reality of life, all the while set in the delightful atmosphere of early 19th century France, it really is a treat.
juliettehendrikx More than 1 year ago
Two brothers of an impoverished family fight for their inheritance in France. The mother of the boys has combined her estate with her aunt’s and it looks as though a young peasant who was taken in by the wealthy patriarch will inherit the wealth. The brothers attempt to win her affection thinking they will gain the inheritance. Balzac has a way with words that makes you feel as though you are in the room with these people as they plot. It is a fascinating look at human passions and corruption. I enjoyed the heavy descriptive style. The book was completely engrossing.
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