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Marxism and Science Fiction , London: Cambridge University Press, Essays on Art and Literature , Randal Johnson dir. University of Minnesota Press, Werstands Universal Robots R. Cornea Christine, Science Fiction Cinema: Between Fantasy and Reality , Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, There were some great descriptions and interesting commentaries, but the story was not that engaging and then truncated once things started to get interesting. I am a religious person, but I found the religion a little heavy-handed, especially in the first part of the book.
Feb 13, Stephen C. Probably the best book I've read on the essence of charitable giving and the why and the how and the who that recieves the "charity". Probably a great model for today for anyone who has the resouirces to execute such a comples and somewhat "risky" approach to giving. It certainly makes you understand the critical nature of what is given and who it is given too. Worth all the time it takes to understand. Oct 24, Jon Falzon rated it did not like it.
It would appear that far too many great minds go the way of Rochester and find themselves dominated by thoughts of god at the end of their lives. It astonishes me that the man who brought us vibrant characters like Rastignac and the Bridau brothers managed to sink so far into maudlin religious apologism. The whinging bleeding heart who wrote this book bears no resemblance to the Balzac of former years. It would be more at home on the bookshelf of a doddering Catholic granny than on one accompani It would appear that far too many great minds go the way of Rochester and find themselves dominated by thoughts of god at the end of their lives.
It would be more at home on the bookshelf of a doddering Catholic granny than on one accompanied by Zola, Diderot, and Maupassant. It's full of jabs at Napoleon, the Revolution, and revolutionary spirit-- instead choosing to portray the malignant royalists as victims. At one point, a kindly Christian goes off to quash a labor movement at a local factory where the workers are suffering in poverty and despair.
Because the disturbance to the economy and the violence of protest would be an even greater sin! I can only say with Voltaire, "Ecrasez l'infame! Sep 18, Will rated it it was ok Shelves: Like in The Wild Ass's Skin , this is Balzac at his most eccentric mysticism, magic, secret societies though that's not a good thing at length and Balzac is always over-long anyway. For a Balzac novel, there aren't nearly enough trivial furniture descriptions, and in English, this practically reads like an English translation of a French translation of mashed up bits from Chesterton and Wells.
Aug 01, Tom rated it it was ok. I gather Modern Library has been trying to ride coattails of NYRB by reissuing their own selection of "forgotten masterpiece s " by famous authors. If this selection is any indication of their editorial process, they should fold the tent and slink out if town under cover of darkness. I love Balzac -- Cousin Bette and Pere Goriot are among my all-time favorite works -- but this novel was a real disappointment.
It starts out with some promise, with a mysterious charitable organization that seems p I gather Modern Library has been trying to ride coattails of NYRB by reissuing their own selection of "forgotten masterpiece s " by famous authors. It starts out with some promise, with a mysterious charitable organization that seems potentially more shady than philanthropic -- or at least that's a what a truly classic Balzac would create -- but in fact turns out to be a group of genuine do-gooders.
So why does B. Along the way, there are some nice touches in descriptions of poor and sickly family trying desperately to survive and sinking lower all the time that seem right out of -- well, a real Balzac novel -- but by the end, it all lapses into maudlin melodrama with a happy ending. I turned the book upside down and shook it, assuming more pages would fall out. According to the back cover blurb, the work was the final volume in the massive Human Comedy.
The old master had clearly run out of steam. Balzac cranked out a fair amount of mediocre stuff just to pay the bills. I dont' know what he got paid for this one, but it whatever the amount, it was too much. It's nothing more than a curiosity for the die-hard Balzac fan, and I'm not sure it merits even that label. Jul 13, Matthew Wilson rated it really liked it. When I was laid up with back trouble in the late s, I set myself a project to read 19th century French fiction, and my favorite was Balzac. I read all of the novels in translation in Penguin, and I read many more from the Rutgers library, but I never read this book, the last novel he published, and I'm reminded why I liked Balzac so much.https://alenamunal.gq/test-prep-study-guides/a-fire-within.pdf
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Adam Gopnik's introduction helped me understand that liking -- despite B's convictions -- Catholic and monarchist -- his form is anything but traditional. Gopnik calls it a kind of magic realism, where his best novels are always grounded in a dense social reality, but also can have at their center something that defies realism, in this case, an anonymous secret Catholic group that's dedicated to doing good for the poor. If that were all the novel were about, it would be boring, but the back stories of the older characters are so fascinating that I'm reminded of Faulkner's having written that the "past is never dead.
It's not even past. Jan 24, Deborah Zwayer rated it it was amazing. Sep 12, Jamie rated it really liked it Shelves: When I picked up this translation at the local annual library book fair, I was confused. The cover and title have a distinctly late-twentieth century feel to them, but the author's name was vaguely familiar in an old-timey sort of way. Those contradictory characteristics, plus the unambiguously moralistic nature of the plot summary on the back jacket, convinced me to buy it.
As someone with translation studies background, translated literature will always hold a special place in my heart. And, li When I picked up this translation at the local annual library book fair, I was confused. And, likewise, when a translated novel is denied the dignity of a proper translator's note, my heart breaks a little. Happily, Jeremy Stump wrote an absolutely phenomenal translator's note that was even longer than the preface hurrah!
My French history is also apparently rubbish because I relied heavily on this edition's end notes to provide the much needed additional information. As do most authors who write for their contemporaries about their present, The Wrong Side of Paris is full of references to all sorts of cultural and social factoids that were lost on me. I remember very little from my AP European History course, apart from a vague idea of when the Revolution occurred, the approximate years of Napoleon's reign and a faint recollection that at one point the Bourbons were briefly placed back on the throne.
Instead, I'll just add a quick note for why I gave this four instead of five stars, even though I really did enjoy this.
As much as I love dramatic, last-minute plot twists in this sense, TWSOP felt like reading a French Dickensian novel , the story was slightly too caricatured. Certainly not Balzac's best work, and it has the somewhat characteristic truncated ending, but even more pronounced than usual. Still, the character sketches - Balzac's forte - are very good, and the story is interesting, and a rather notable departure from his usual themes. This book could very easily have been twice as long, and it probably would have been better for it.
Godefroid's conversion would have been more convincing and more fleshed out if it were developed over the course of a career Certainly not Balzac's best work, and it has the somewhat characteristic truncated ending, but even more pronounced than usual. Godefroid's conversion would have been more convincing and more fleshed out if it were developed over the course of a career of charitable works, than simply over his very first one!
Balzac's treatment of poverty and the poignant dignity that can be found there is the best part of the book; at least, I found myself wanting more such scenarios. I can recommend this to Balzac fans, or more generally perhaps to believers in true Catholic charity, as the book relies on buying in to this doctrine to be at all moving. Jul 25, Nick rated it it was ok. This, Balzac's last book before he died, is uncharacteristically merciful. Yes, there is a Paris so crowded that one can practically smell it; yes, there is the stumbling hero; yes, there are powerfully individual rooming houses no novelist ever cared more about where people lived ; yes, there are the plot twists that anticipate the detective novel.
But it is startling to encounter Balzac describing a small group of selfless philanthropists guided by "The Imitation of Christ"--this from the man This, Balzac's last book before he died, is uncharacteristically merciful. But it is startling to encounter Balzac describing a small group of selfless philanthropists guided by "The Imitation of Christ"--this from the man: Godefroid, as clumsy as his name, bumbles through life and, after alighting in the rooming house that serves as the headquarters of the group, bumbles into membership becoming--and here Balzac cannot resist being Balzac--their bookkeeper.
So the central character of the book is a void; the characters who surround him are nimbler and more interesting, in part because they have Balzacian backstories that are exquisitely told, not shown. The story of the leader of the group, Madame de la Chanterie, is particularly moving and reminds us as does Adam Gopnik in the introduction that may be of greater interest than the novel that Balzac earned his view of life as sinister and contorted by living through sinister and contorted times.
During the years following the Revolution, of Empire, Restoration and more Revolution, no political stance in France was safe for long. Despite the unexpected piety of the theme, this is Balzac, and there are acute observations on banking, law and punishment, and publishing, and most of the characters are vibrant except poor Godefroid.
Anatole Broyard once wrote that table legs in Balzac were more vivid than characters of the era of Jerzy Kosinski's "Being There.
The Wrong Side of Paris
Even if the end of this book, the end of all Balzac's books, consists of forgiving the unforgivable, the core of his vision remains an energetic, unwavering, even obsessive rudeness. Godefroid, a young man who has squandered both his opportunities and his fortune, goes to live in the sparse household of Mme. Although he does not know it at first, all the members of the household once held positions of power but have come together to live frugally and dedicate themselves to secretly performing acts of charity.
As Godefroid gradually learns their stories of long hardships, he becomes interested in helping them. His first assignment is to determine the worthiness of an elderly man and his incurably ill daughter and then to rescue them. The man and his grandson have devoted their lives to making the daughter happy, and that, along with the machinations of evil publishers who are aided by his unscrupulous landlady, has driven the family into poverty.
Along with tending to his daughter, the man, who was once a high-ranking judge, is writing a lengthy legal treatise on which he pins his hopes of escaping from poverty.
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