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Shorts from Scenes from Private Life

Honoré de Balzac


The short stories and novellas from the Scenes from Private Life portion of Balzac’s The Human Comedy represent a cross-section of French culture from the first half of the nineteenth century. There are drawing room intrigues of the rich (“Domestic Peace”), unrequited love (“The Imaginary Mistress”), a romance among the residents of a boarding house (“The Purse”), and even a Corsican vendetta (“The Vendetta”).

Each of these, as well as the remaining stories in the collection, are marked by Balzac’s renowned talent for fully-realized characters, by his rich and detailed descriptions of places and people, and especially of the emotions that drive them. As a progenitor of the modern novel, he wanted to write about not only the romantic and beautiful, but also the hurtful and disturbing; in short, he wanted to write about daily French life, however good or bad it might be. Many of the characters so richly described here will be seen again and again throughout the rest of The Human Comedy.

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A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update accessibility boilerplate

  2. Update Onix file boilerplate

  3. [Editorial] Strassburg -> Strasbourg

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