Literary Classics

Le cousin Pons by Honoré de Balzac

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By Honoré de Balzac

«Quel est votre roman préféré ?» demande Didier Éribon à Claude Lévi-Strauss dans De près et de loin, le livre d'entretiens que ce dernier lui a accordés en 1988 (Odile Jacob, 1998). «Il y aurait cent raisons pour que ce soit Le Cousin Pons, répond le grand anthropologue, mais L'Envers de l'histoire contemporaine me captive...» Ce dernier roman, publié à titre posthume, montrera que Balzac osait croire encore à l. a. possibilité de voir un jour l'avènement du Bien - présenté alors comme l'exact «envers» du Mal. Mais c'est le Mal, assurément, qui triomphe dans Le Cousin Pons. vehicle, parmi les «cent raisons» d'être fasciné aujourd'hui encore par ce récit d'un funeste destin, il y a cette remarquable flair au mal que déploient bourgeois, usuriers et gens du peuple - «gens de mal» comme on dirait «gens de bien» - qu'unit pour un temps l'appât du achieve en vue de dépouiller et assassiner sans violence apparente le pauvre cousin, égaré par sa ardour du Beau et incapable de résister à los angeles barbarie silencieuse de ses contemporains.

Cette assortment se suggest de rendre accessibles aux jeunes lecteurs de grandes oeuvres littéraires. Il ne s'agit jamais de résumés, ni de morceaux choisis, mais du texte même, abrégé de manière à laisser intacts le fil du récit, le ton, le kind et le rythme de l'auteur.

Texte abrégé par Robert Briatte

Honoré de Balzac est né à excursions en 1799 et mort à Paris en 1850. En sortant du collège des oratoriens de Vendôme, Balzac vient à Paris. Ses débuts y sont tumultueux, pleins de tâtonnements et d'efforts en sens divers. Il écrit plusieurs volumes sous divers pseudonymes ou en collaboration, tous des échecs. Découragé par los angeles littérature, il se fait éditeur et imprimeur. Mais ces entreprises ne lui réussissent pas davantage. Il revient à los angeles littérature et signe à 30 ans "Le Dernier Chouan", son most desirable chef-d'oeuvre. Viennent ensuite l. a. "Physiologie du mariage", plusieurs nouvelles et "La Peau de chagrin" dont le succès est complet. A partir de ce second, grâce à un travail acharné, sa construction littéraire est d'une régularité étonnante. Il travaille dix-huit heures par jour, se dérobe aux visites, se terre dans l'un des de ses trois ou quatre domiciles parisiens, mais se mêle aux vies de ceux qu'il veut connaître. De 1830 à 1850, il écrit en déployant une énergie stupéfiante, plusieurs dizaines de romans et nouvelles. Toute son époque y est dépeinte et l'ensemble de son oeuvre, sa grandiose "Comédie humaine", est certainement l'un des monuments de son siècle.

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What these great expectations ultimately do, as the plot unfolds, is to send Pip right back to his story舗s beginning, to the stolen file and pork pie that bind his fate to that of a convict. All Pip舗s hopes for the future lead him straight to his past. Our sense of the futility of Pip舗s expectations is heightened by their very arbitrariness. Pip differs from many of his Victorian orphan counterparts in that his parents are comfortably accounted for from the outset. If there were any substantial inheritance headed Pip舗s way舒any missing rich uncle (Ȥ la Jane Eyre) or benevolent family friend (Ȥ la Oliver Twist)舒 those persons would certainly have stepped forward by now to claim him.

David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860- 1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific later period. In 1858 Dickens舗s twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public舗s favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health.

He muttered then, considering. 舡 舠My sister, sir舒Mrs. 舡 said he. And looked down at his leg. After darkly looking at his leg and at me several times, he came closer to my tombstone, took me by both arms, and tilted me back as far as he could hold me; so that his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine, and mine looked most helplessly up into his. 舠Now lookee here,舡 he said, 舠the question being whether you舗re to be let to live. 舡 After each question he tilted me over a little more, so as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger.

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