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Review This Product No reviews yet - be the first to create one! Need help? Its shops, set around "an untended garden watered only with fetid fluids," reminded him of "bee hive cells," "a gypsy camp or the booths of a fairground. Lucien concludes that to publishers "books were like cotton bonnets to haberdashers, a commodity to be bought cheap and sold dear," but he still jumps into this world with both feet, becoming in a few months a celebrity journalist who sells his opinions to the highest bidder.

The wheel of fortune soon turns: the hacks who puffed him up become jealous rivals who bring him down, and Lucien limps back to Angouleme without a sou. David, meanwhile, stays in Angouleme, slaving to make paper from plant pulp, a patent worth millions, he knows, because the growth of literacy was creating a demand for paper that outstripped France's supply of cotton rag, then paper's raw material.

Machiavellian manufacturers, the Cointet brothers, get wind of David's work and lie in wait to steal the invention as soon as he completes it.

Illusions perdues (French, Book)

A twist of irony reconnects the storylines: in his last desperate days in Paris, Lucien forges a loan note using David's name; the Cointets buy the note, and when David can't pay it, they have him thrown in jail. Contrast keeps Balzac's two-character structure distinct. David is "tanned brown," Lucien has "the whiteness of a woman's skin"; David has "black hair," Lucien's is "fair.

The contrasts of Lost Illusions only begin with David and Lucien. Little Angouleme is split in two: the ancient upper city of churches and noble mansions built above the river Charante, and L'Houmeau, the modern lower town of warehouses and factories on the river's edge: "two social zones, everywhere and constantly hostile to each other. Lucien and Louise had believed each other's pretensions in dowdy Angouleme, but after a few days in Paris, contrast causes the scales fall from their eyes:.

The contrast between Lucien and Chatelet was too blatant for Louise not to be struck by it His frock coat, too short in the sleeves, his cheap provincial gloves and his skimpy waistcoat gave him a prodigiously ridiculous appearance in comparison with the young men of the dress circle. Proximity with a woman of fashion How remarkable that in a book about writing, contrast is the great revealer! Lost Illusions contains geniuses and hacks, trashy rags and thoughtful reviews, Paris and the provinces.

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The conflicts between David, Lucien, D'Arthez, Lousteau and the Cointets all push to one creation: the birth of writing in the age of industry. In the 18th century, Balzac declares, books were vellum volumes found in aristocratic libraries. The 19th-century middle-class had changed all that; now, Balzac predicted:. Neither the shirts nor books will last, that's all.

Reading a tattered paperback of Lost Illusions in a tiny apartment today, I realize that the book I hold Balzac knew I would hold. Balzac's empire may be no more than a paper panorama, but each book is a black and white ticket, good forever, to the colorful comedy that plays within its pages. Already a subscriber?

Click here to login. Wielding his pen as his sword, he took each page by storm: Memories come up at the double bearing the standards which are to lead the troops into battle Estimated between Wed. Please note the delivery estimate is greater than 11 business days. Special financing available.

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Herculine Barbin by Michel Foucault. Crossing the Mangrove by Conde, Maryse. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac. Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus. Report item - opens in a new window or tab. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Item specifics Condition: Good : A book that has been read but is in good condition. Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears. The dust jacket for hard covers may not be included.

Binding has minimal wear. The majority of pages are undamaged with minimal creasing or tearing, minimal pencil underlining of text, no highlighting of text, no writing in margins. No missing pages.

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Les deux poètes, La Comédie Humaine - Honoré de Balzac ( AudioBook FR )

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