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Old Goriot (1835)

by Honoré de Balzac

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Human Comedy (22)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,089881,564 (3.8)4 / 341
At the shabby boarding house in the rue Neuve-Sainte-Geneviève, petty Madame Vauquer and her tenants wonder at the plight of the aging resident Goriot. Once a well-heeled merchant, Goriot was--at first--afforded special treatment from the Madame. But now something is clearly amiss in his financial affairs, and his increasingly tawdry appearance makes him a subject of ridicule in the household. Some think he lost in the markets, others see him as a lecherous patron of prostitutes, but one thing is clear: his selflessness and complete devotion to his two daughters.… (more)
  1. 20
    Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac (CarlAnFoto)
    CarlAnFoto: A prima Bette (em portugues)
  2. 10
    The Red and the Black by Stendhal (ShaneTierney)
  3. 01
    Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Sylak)
    Sylak: More wicked females preying on foolish and easily dominated men.
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English (68)  French (8)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  Tagalog (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Un quadro quasi manicheistico. Da un lato una Parigi gretta e avida, totalmente dedita al denaro, dall'altro l'ingenuo Papà Goriot, dedito oltremodo alle sue ignorate figlie e il giovane Rastignac che, dopo aver strizzato l'occhio alla prospettiva del gran mondo e aver visto la miseria morale olteenle sue luci sfavillanti, resta fedele ai propri principi. Un Balzac che crea caratteri, più che personaggi, che strizza gli occhi ai "misteri" (vedi l'episodio di Collins) e che ancora non mi convince appieno. Si respira, forse, quell'artificiosità totalmente assente, ad esempio, nei lavori di un Maupassant o di uno Zola. ( )
  Carlomascellani73 | Apr 5, 2021 |
Age is a spoilt milk and not a fine wine in Balzac’s Old Goriot. A tale that tells that of a doting father, it is this same perpetual, immense paternal affection that drives away his daughters and throws him further down the monstrous shadows of tragedy. His outrageously spoiled and corrupt daughters who are disgustingly enchanted by materialism are tragedies of their own right. There is no love but love of money in their hearts and minds, their marriages and familial relations, akin to souls readily auctioned to the devil for the glory of wealth; and where love is ever sometimes concerned there is always a motivation to feed these immoral affairs in bank notes in the gritty streets of Paris. As if this isn't devastating or frustrating enough, we are hold hostage by the four walls of Madame Vauquer's boarding house where malicious boarders reside. Gossips waft and bounce in its perimeters until the latter part surprises as an unexpected and sudden mysterious crime unfolds. In this regard, Old Goriot may feel a little jagged as it touches a variety of genres.

A father's riches-to-rags story juxtaposed brilliantly by the naïve and social climber Eugène de Rastignac's immense desire to be part of the elite their narratives warily meet when their blind sacrifices turn out for nil. A kind of parasitic manipulation runs through their somehow strangely fond exchanges. This novel is heartless until its flinching struggle with mortality and hatred. This novel is heartless until the end if not for a curse of ambition. Balzac is tolerably melodramatic with a surprising knack for profound frills on the side. And no hesitation is spared by his pen in this written cursive of downfalls. ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 25, 2021 |
An excellent book, if not exactly to my taste in fiction. I enjoyed the setup and the climax, but found the anguished emotions and scheming of the middle a bit tedious, as you can tell by the fact that it took me a year and a half to read a 220-page book. Still, I could appreciate the adept use of language and character by Balzac as he wove his story of fortunes and love gained and lost in Restoration France. It was also extremely useful as a historical artifact, as Balzac makes a point to describe daily life — not to mention how much everything costs — in precise detail. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
I am a style snob, but every now and then I find myself reading something that's, how can I put this?, not so finely crafted, and not really caring. This was one of those occasions. There's not much need for me to go into depth here: "Goriot" is a great novel of modernity, with great characters, great literary echoes, and a perfect understanding of what life is like--what it is still like. There are seventeenth century journalists who would regard the narrator as clumsy, yes. The characters are ludicrous caricatures, and thus perfectly realistic. The plot is a clanking, lumbering, unstoppable tank that rolls over your objections and petty questions ("do we really need the first 20 pages? what happens to Victorine? could you be a little more melodramatic?"), grinding you into paste beneath its tracks, and then, once it's rolled past you on to its next hapless victim-lover, leaves you begging for more. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Told by a law student, Eugene de Rastignac, this sad tale is about Father Goriot, a former businessman who has two very spoiled daughters who have married into high Parisian society. Goriot and Rastignac both have lodgings in a run-down boarding house. Goriot is the butt of jokes until Rastignac befriends him. Both the old man's sons-in-law are scoundrels who keep mistresses and gamble with money that belongs to their wives. The daughters meet with their father in secret in order to beg money from him that he really does not have. This book sheds a light on the machinations of society women of the eighteen-hundreds and is oh, so very sad! It reminded me of King Lear, but there are fewer deaths. ( )
  Patricia_Winters | Jul 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (417 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Balzac, Honoré deAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maurois, AndréPrefacemain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binni, LanfrancoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brumbaugh, Robert S.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bulder, NicoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castex, Pierre-GeorgesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Citron, PierreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cucchi, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Marchi, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallego Urrutia, María TeresaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goudsmit, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hans van PinxterenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hessel, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hessel, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BriktAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krailsheimer, A.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lopez Cardozo, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mariage, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCannon, OliviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norum, TryggveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novák, ĽudovítTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reed, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robb, GrahamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roldanus jr., W.J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wais, KurtAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"All is true." Shakespeare
Dedication
To the great and illustrious Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire as a tribute of admiration for his labors and his genius.
AU GRAND ET ILLUSTRE GEOFFREY SAINT-HILAIRE
Comme un témoinage d'admiration de ses travaux et de son génie.
De Balzac
First words
Madame Vauquer (nee De Conflans) is an elderly person who for the past forty years has kept a lodging house in the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, in the district that lies between the Latin Quarter and the Faubourg Saint-Marcel.
Madame Vauquer, née de Conflans, est une vieille femme qui, depuis quarante ans, tient à Paris une pension bourgeoise établie rue Neuve-Sainte-Geneviève, entre le quartier latin et le faubourg Saint-Marceau.
Madam Vauquer, formerly Mademoiselle de Conflans, is now an old woman.
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At the shabby boarding house in the rue Neuve-Sainte-Geneviève, petty Madame Vauquer and her tenants wonder at the plight of the aging resident Goriot. Once a well-heeled merchant, Goriot was--at first--afforded special treatment from the Madame. But now something is clearly amiss in his financial affairs, and his increasingly tawdry appearance makes him a subject of ridicule in the household. Some think he lost in the markets, others see him as a lecherous patron of prostitutes, but one thing is clear: his selflessness and complete devotion to his two daughters.

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