Cousin Bette

By Honoré de Balzac
Translated from the French by James Waring
Read by Johanna Ward

16.43 Hours 07/01/2000 unabridged
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Bette, a poor relation of the beautiful Adeline, nurses a terrible grudge against her cousin’s family, on whom she depends. That family is slowly being ruined by the uncontrollable sexual appetites of Adeline’s husband, Baron Hulot—and it is this weakness that will give the cunning Cousin Bette an opportunity to exact her vengeance. A profound examination of obsessive passion, this masterpiece exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.” One of Balzac's “scenes of Parisian life,” Cousin Bette offers a hypnotic vision of the infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, and scandalous era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints that pass before us blaze with an unsurpassed vividness and energy.

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Summary

Summary

Bette, a poor relation of the beautiful Adeline, nurses a terrible grudge against her cousin’s family, on whom she depends. That family is slowly being ruined by the uncontrollable sexual appetites of Adeline’s husband, Baron Hulot—and it is this weakness that will give the cunning Cousin Bette an opportunity to exact her vengeance.

A profound examination of obsessive passion, this masterpiece exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.” One of Balzac's “scenes of Parisian life,” Cousin Bette offers a hypnotic vision of the infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, and scandalous era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints that pass before us blaze with an unsurpassed vividness and energy.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Beyond all question one of the very greatest of [Balzac’s] works.” George Saintsbury
“The masterpiece of his premature old age.” Graham Robb, Balzac biographer

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) was born in Tours, France, educated at the Collège de Vendôme, and studied law at the Sorbonne. His father wished him to become a lawyer, but he left Tours in 1819 to seek his fortune as an author in Paris. He wrote eighty-five novels in twenty years, but his life was one of frequent privation. In 1850, he married Countess Hanska, a rich Polish lady with whom he had corresponded for more than fifteen years. Five months later, Balzac died in Paris.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 16.43
Audience: Adult
Language: English