What's the Best Balzac?

TalkFrench literature, 19th & 20th century

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What's the Best Balzac?

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Jul 13, 2008, 9:53am

If you had to choose just one of Balzac's novels to read which would it be? Pere Goriot, Cousin Bette, and maybe Eugene Grandet, may be some of the more popular, Maybe there are lesser-known titles that are worth it?

Jul 13, 2008, 9:57am

Pere Goriot....is the only Balzac I've read.

Sep 17, 2008, 2:24pm

I enjoyed Lost illusions very much.

Sep 19, 2008, 10:33pm

I'd have to say Pere Goriot if I had to choose only one, but from the lesser known ones, perhaps Cousin Pons (better, I think, than Cousin Bette); La Rabouilleuse (The Black Sheep), which is an excellent revenge thriller, or even the slightly fantastical The Wild Ass's Skin (think Picture of Dorian Gray, but better and French).

Each of them, like most of Balzac's works, are eminently readable.

Sep 20, 2008, 12:23am

Having read The Wild Ass's Skin and Pere Goriot, I would definitely endorse Pere Goriot as the one to read.

Nov 22, 2008, 6:48pm

It's a big toss up between's the Wild Ass' Skin which I love and le Père Goriot which moved me tremendously. I also have a soft spot for his short story Le Bal de Sceaux - know the town well since I lived there for several years...

Aug 13, 2009, 5:04am

From the Balzac books I've read, the one I probably most enjoyed was Lost Illusions.