Literary Classics

Ferragus - La Fille aux yeux d'or by Honoré de Balzac

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By Honoré de Balzac

Dans une rue de Paris, sombre et populaire, Auguste de Maulincour, officier de cavalerie, aperçoit de loin une ombre, dont il est passionnément mais platoniquement amoureux, Clémence Desmarets, femme mariée et vertueuse. C’est du moins ce qu’il croit. Où va-t-elle ? Dans une maison sordide, retrouver un homme, Ferragus, ancien forçat… C’est ce même Ferragus qui, avec Ronquerolles, aidera de Marsay, membre de los angeles société secrète des Treize, à rencontrer los angeles belle Paquita, au regard si troublant. Mais los angeles jeune femme est prisonnière de sa maîtresse, los angeles marquise de San-Real, qui l’aime d’un amour plus que tendre… Dans Ferragus (1834) et dans los angeles Fille aux yeux d’or (1835), Balzac dépeint un Paris obscur mais séducteur, le Paris de « l’or et [du] plaisir », aux mains d’une company secrète : les Treize. Romans d’aventures et fantastiques à los angeles fois, où los angeles violence le dispute à l. a. ardour, ces deux courts récits forment, avec l. a. Duchesse de Langeais, le cycle de l’Histoire des Treize.

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But their relationship was a close one for years, and Gracie contributed a great deal to Lewis舗s life and work, not least as the model for Carol Kennicott. Most important, perhaps, she shared his very real hatred for narrow-mindedness and intolerance, a hatred that was one of the driving forces of his life, and she supported him intellectually and emotionally to the best of her abilities. Lewis was making progress in his fiction. His short stories were selling well, and when he was taken on as a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post he felt justified in quitting his job in publishing to become a full-time writer.

Whatever she might become she would never be static. Her versatility ensnared her. By turns she hoped to discover that she had an unusual voice, a talent for the piano, the ability to act, to write, to manage organizations. Always she was disappointed, but always she effervesced anew舒over the Student-Volunteers,e who intended to become missionaries, over painting scenery for the dramatic club, over soliciting advertisements for the college magazine. She was on the peak that Sunday afternoon when she played in chapel.

All he really believed in was the wavering, imperfect liberal spirit: 舠Even if Com[munism] & Fax[cism] or both cover the world, Liberal[ism] must go on, seeming futile, preserving civilization,舡 he wrote in his notes for It Can舗t Happen Here (quoted in Lingeman, p. 404). An atheist with no political illusions, two failed marriages, an unconquerable addiction to alcohol, and a moribund talent might be thought to have had every reason to give up in despair. Lewis, to his undying credit, did not.

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