Farewell and Other Stories. Balzac is often remembered as the author who, despite his romantic beginnings, embraced realism and critically portrayed the life and morals of French society in the first half of the 19th century. The collection includes eight of his finest novellas and short stories on a wide range of topics and fully demonstrates the mastery of suspense and revelation that were the hallmarks of Balzac’s genius.
This collection aims to present Balzac not as a critic of society and human vices, but as a writer of many different genres and topics. He explored military themes in his novella Farewell – in extremely impressive, almost apocalyptic scenes, he depicts the catastrophe of the demoralised French army on the banks of the Berezina River during their retreat from Russia in November 1812; in another part of the novel, he portrays a woman who has gone mad as a result of the hardships of war. In the novella The Secrets of the Princess de Cadignan, an experienced, even sophisticated woman from high society who has seen a lot and squandered more than her fortune, flirts and manipulates a young, shy writer who, blinded by love, sees her as a saint, a pure and noble soul, a suffering victim of her surroundings. Here Balzac unfolds, as only he can, the dynamics of their relationship. Fantasy, religious mysticism and crime are the themes of The Reconciled Melmoth. Whether the novella ultimately results in a moral lesson, esotericism, or mere farce is for the reader to judge. The Masked Lover is written in a seemingly naive and romantic style. However, the author addresses the modern topic of radical female emancipation and independence – from her husband and the father of her child. The Red Inn is a representative of the crime genre. Balzac unravels the circumstances of a brutal murder of a German merchant and deals with the problem of conscience and moral complicity. The three shorter stories – Passion in the Desert, The Atheist’s Mass and Episode from the Terror – are examples of Balzac’s brilliant use of detail when treating specific topics.
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|Author:||Honoré de Balzac|
|Original title:||Adieu; La messe de l’athée; Melmoth réconcilié; |
Une passion dans le désert; Les secrets de la princesse de Cadignan;
Un épisode sous la Terreur; L’Auberge rouge;
L’amour masqué ou Imprudence et bonheur
|Number of pages:||328|
|Year of publication:||2022|