Academic journal article et Cetera

Cousin Bette

Academic journal article et Cetera

Cousin Bette

Article excerpt

Honore de Balzac. Cousin Bette. New York: Modem Library, 2002.

In September 2000, the Modem Library - one of the most distinguished names in classics publishing - launched Modern Library Paperback Classics. All titles are selected by the members of the Modern Library Editorial Board specifically for American readers, and all have attractive new jackets, clear typeface, and wide margins for annotation.

In February 2002, Cousin Bette, Balzac's great opus about envy and greed in nineteenth century Paris, made its Modern Library debut. For those of us who love literature, I highly recommend this excellent novel.

In her introduction to this edition, Francine Prose states, "Few novels have more violent beginnings, though the violence is all psychological, and, seen from a distance, might even pass for polite conversation. The fierceness of Balzac's courage and his reckless determination to portray the Human Comedy precisely as he saw it becomes clear when we consider how few contemporary writers would risk beginning a work of fiction with a scene so repulsive, and so brave in its refusal to hint or promise that, by the novel's conclusion, sin will be punished, virtue rewarded, and redemption freely offered to the wicked and innocent alike. …

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