A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

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Père Goriot (Old Goriot) 2

A Bad Place To Start

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La Cousine Bette (Cousin Bette) 1

Genres

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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Honoré de Balzac

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

Marian November 7th, 2006 10:32 AM PST

Poking around on line, I found several readers who pick LOST ILLUSIONS as their favorite. One says it's a tie between LOST ILLUSIONS and A COURTESAN'S LIFE.

Another says, "LOST ILLUSIONS is one of my favorite Balzac books, but you couldn't pay me to read GERMINAL again!"

Biography

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Excerpted from a bio at Books and Writers (website)

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) - Original name Honoré Balssa
French journalist and writer, one of the creators of realism in literature. Balzac's huge production of novels and short stories are collected under the name LA COMÉDIE HUMAINE, [modeled on] Dante's Divine Comedy. … born in Tours. … spent the first four years of life in foster care, not so uncommon a practice in France even in the 20th century, and returned to his parents at the age of four. At school Balzac was an ordinary pupil. He studied at the Collège de Vendôme and the Sorbonne, and then worked in law offices. In 1819, when his family moved to the small town of Villeparisis, Balzac returned to Paris to write. By 1822 Balzac had produced several novels under pseudonyms, but he was ignored as a writer. All his commercial activities failed …debt plagued him to the end of his career.

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