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Download The Chouans, and a Passion in the Desert (Dodo Press) epub

by Honore De Balzac,Katharine Prescott Wormeley,Ernest Dowson

Scenes From Military Life from The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine). By the French author, who, along with Flaubert, is generally regarded as a founding-father of realism in European fiction. His large output of works, collectively entitled The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine), consists of 95 finished works (stories, novels and essays) and 48 unfinished works. His stories are an attempt to comprehend and depict the realities of life in contemporary bourgeois France. They are placed in a variety of settings, with characters reappearing in multiple stories.
Download The Chouans, and a Passion in the Desert (Dodo Press) epub
ISBN: 1406506214
ISBN13: 978-1406506211
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Short Stories & Anthologies
Author: Honore De Balzac,Katharine Prescott Wormeley,Ernest Dowson
Language: English
Publisher: Dodo Press (April 28, 2006)
Pages: 316 pages
ePUB size: 1790 kb
FB2 size: 1330 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 194
Other Formats: rtf doc lrf docx

The book, Balzac's first success, has some arguable flaws. But I quickly got caught up in the story, could not, so to speak, put it down, and was delighted to get it and to read it.
One of the images in the book was printed several times on one page not giving way for that part of the text. Several lines ruined on another page because of some black spot. Footnotes barely readable. I would recommend printing it straight off Google books. Very disappointed.
Les Chouans is one of Balzac's earlier works and is often referred to as the book that made him famous. Following the French Revolution of 1793, some of the citizens of Brittany, out of loyalty to the former monarchy and to their Catholic faith, refused to accept the secular Republican government and rose up in an attempt to overthrow it. These royalist rebels were known as the Chouans. This novel takes place in Brittany in 1799, mostly in the town of Fougères and its environs. The handsome young leader of the rebellion meets a beautiful, mysterious young woman. Over the course of having lunch together, the two fall in love to the point of being willing to risk their lives for one another, even though neither is ever certain where the other's loyalties lie. If you can suspend enough disbelief to get past that, then this book is a great ride. It's got guerrilla warfare, political intrigue, espionage, and a romance worthy of Shakespeare, all set within beautiful descriptions of the Breton countryside. Balzac's writing combines Emile Zola's attention to descriptive detail and keen insight into human nature with Alexandre Dumas' ability to construct an intricate plot peopled with an interesting collection of disparate characters. The book crawls a little bit in the middle, but the beginning and the end are fast-paced and suspenseful. The third act in particular is very skillfully written with a lot of twists and turns. Balzac keeps the reader guessing every step of the way as to what's going to happen next, right up to the very end.
This is Balzac's first Human Comedy novel, I believe, and it shows. I should probably give it 3.5 stars, but since it's Balzac, I'll say 4. I actually found the story captivating enough to pull me all the way through (the 2nd attempt...). There are dry, and lenghty parts (only three chapter breaks), but it's a unique novel. The Chouans takes place during the Napoleonic, post Revolutionary period when there are continuing civil battles between the new Rupublicans and the ancien regime, Royalists (which include the northen province Chouans). There is a lot of historical value to this novel in how Balzac displays the sentiments of the two sides, and various military personalities' views on the direction of government, and France in particular. As with most history, some modern parallels may even be drawn (i.e. conservative vs. liberal views on how a country should be run; conscription, and occupied peoples).
I really liked how Balzac took this piece of French history, actually visited and lived in the locals used as background, and created an interesting (albeit a dated 19th century romance)story out of it all. It's all a matter of taste I suppose, but if you really want to get into Balzac (a worthy endeavor for any serious student of the novel, literature, and the history of the 19th century) than the Chouans is as good a starting point as any. It would've been interesting to see what other Scenes de la militaire Balzac might have come up with had he lived long enough.
All in all, there are great (and mediocre) character portraits, and I think Mlle. Verneuil is well done, actually. It's fun (in a colorfully "romantic" kind of way), mysterious, historical, and . . . well, it's BALZAC.
In places this novel reads as it were only a vulgar Romantic potboiler: the plot's chief-intrigue - the love affair between Mlle. Verneuil & the Royalist leader- is contrieved and somewhat mechanical. But one has to keep in mind this is the first time Balzac was trying his hand with serious novel-writing after a long spree of potboiler-writing under an assumed pen-name. And we still have already much of the future, serious - and at the same time ironic - Balzac in order to make the book enjoyable.