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About the Author: Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.

Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James and Jack Kerouac, as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.

An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting himself to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life, and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was apprenticed as a legal clerk, but he turned his back on law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician. He failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.

Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, he married Ewelina Hańska, his longtime paramour; he died five months later.


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Find the best price forLes Chouans

Goodreads rating: 3.55

Paperback, Published in Feb 1972 by Livre de Poche

ISBN10: 2253003204 | ISBN13: 9782253003205

Page count: 478

En 1799, dans les derniers jours du directoire, à la veille du coup d'Etat de Bonaparte (18 brumaire, an VIII), la guerre civile continue à sévir dans les départements de l'Ouest et spécialement en Bretagne. Les contre-révolutionnaires fidèles à la royauté, soutenus par les prêtres et encadrés par des nobles rentrés clandestinement de l'émigration, combattent la République avec la sauvagerie du désespoir. Les Chouans - ainsi nommés parce que leur cri ralliement est celui de la chouette - harcèlent les troupes du général Hoche, "pacificateur" de la région. Embuscades, répression et tueries - tel est le climat de ce roman placé par Balzac parmi ses Scènes de la vie militaire et dont l'action (inspirée de faits historiques réels) se déroule dans la région de Fougère. Il met aux prises la coriacité paysanne, incarnée par le terrible Marche-à-Terre, et les vertus martiales que représente le rude et brave commandant Hulot ; cet affrontement ne doit pas faire oublier les évolutions plus troubles auxquelles se livrent dans l'ombre quatre personnages, mi-espions, mi-mondains : un agent du ministre de la Police Fouché, une jeune femme très belle, un soi-disant marrin et sa prétendue mère. Entre eux, la partie va se jouer serrée, au cours de laquelle l'héroïsme, le machiavélisme et l'amour vont avoir leur mot à dire. La mort aussi est au rendez-vous. Et peut-être que, sous le rapport de la violence, les choses ont malheureusement peu changé. L'époque, pourtant, était assez différente de la nôtre : en ce temps-là, on va le voir, un homme n'hésitait pas à tenir, dans son poing, un charbon ardent, pour obtenir d'une femme simplement le droit de lui parler!

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