The Works of Honoré de Balzac A Woman of Thirty; Madame Firmiani; Gobseck; La Grande Bretecache; A Study of Woman; Another Study of Woman - Vol. 2

By Honoré de Balzac | Go to book overview

this, however, might have been atoned for by truth, or grace, or power of handling. I cannot find much of any of these things here. Not to mention the unsavoriness of part of Julit's trials, they are not such as, in me at least, excite any sympathy; and Balzac has drenched her with the sickly sentiment above noticed to an almost nauseous extent. Although he would have us take the Marquis as a brutal husband, he does not in effect represent him as such, but merely as not a very refined and rather clumsy "good fellow," who for his sins is cursed with a mijaurée of a wife. The Julie-Arthur lovepassages are in the very worst style of "sensibility"; and though I fully acknowledge the heroism of my countryman Lord Arthur in allowing his fingers to be crushed and making no sign -- although I question very much whether I could have done the same -- I fear this romantic act does not suffice to give verisimilitude to a figure which is for the most part mere pasteboard, with sawdust inside and tinsel out. Many of the incidents, such as the pushing of the child into the water, and, still more, the scene on shipboard where the princely Corsair takes millions out of a piano and gives them away, have the crude and childish absurdity of the Œuvres de Jeunesse, which they very much resemble, and with which, from the earliest date given, they may very probably have been contemporary. Those who are fortunate enough to find Julie, in her early afternoon of femme incomprise, attractive, may put up with these defects. I own that I am not quite able to find the compensation sufficient.

It takes M. de Lovenjoul nearly three of his large pages of small type to give an exact bibliography of the extraordinary mosaic which bears the title of La Femme de Trente Ans. It must be sufficient here to say that most of its parts appeared separately in different periodicals (notably the Revue de Paris) during the very early thirties; that when in 1832 most of them appeared together in the Scènes de la Vie Privée they were independent stories; and that when the author did put them together, he at first adopted the title Même Histoire.

-iv-

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The Works of Honoré de Balzac A Woman of Thirty; Madame Firmiani; Gobseck; La Grande Bretecache; A Study of Woman; Another Study of Woman - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • A Woman of Thirty *
  • I - Early Mistakes 1
  • II - A Hidden Grief 69
  • III - At Thirty Years 89
  • IV - The Finger of God 112
  • V - Two Meetings 125
  • VI - The Old Age of A Guilty Mother 174
  • Madame Firmiani *
  • Gobseck *
  • La Grande Bretêche *
  • A Study of Woman *
  • Another Study of Woman *
  • Another Study of Woman 1
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