A Brief Review of the Works of Balzac
Honore de Balzac
Balzac was the son of a petty bourgeois, the grandson of a peasant, he did not receive the upbringing and education that the nobles provide their children (the de particle was assigned to them). He is one of those young, hardworking people who were called raznochintsy in Russia. Of those who were not taught by tutors, but with obsession and passion, they spent the nights over textbooks, paying for success with their only capital - health. Balzac was sent by his father to Paris to study law. He received a law degree, but did not make a judicial career. His multi-volume work "The Human Comedy" includes 2000 characters, 93 novels, and in total 150 were conceived by the writer.
Balzac dreams of depicting his era in its entirety, showing private life, political, military, metropolitan, provincial - to give "studies about morals" of various social circles. Balzac's discovery is the discovery of a social person depicted in connection with his environment. These appear before us: the usurer Gobsek, who is not going to forgive his debtors, at the end of the novel Balzac depicts the usurer himself as a slave to stinginess, a maniac sitting in a pantry filled with rotting food, this is Countess Deresto, who, with her vanity and coquetry, ruined and ruined her husband, father Goreo, who gave all his wealth to his daughters and died in poverty and loneliness, and many others.
In his novel "Gobsek" Balzac shows the main character, an outstanding personality, endowed with a mysterious past. At the age of 10, Gobsek ran away from home as a cabin boy, and swam for about 20 years. In his youth, he was associated with the famous corsairs, took part in the US War of Independence. Such a fate is reminiscent of the wanderings of romantic heroes, but Gobsek is not a romantic, he has one passion for money, which extinguished all his desires. Balzac calls him "man-promissory note", "man-machine", he has his own philosophy. Clever and insightful Gobsek, even honest in his own way, sees through people with their vices, but Gobsek does not oppose evil, he himself is the source of evil, the destruction of life, he has money in his hands, he commands people the more fully, the more the souls of his victims are corrupted thirst for pleasure, luxury, vanity. He very vividly describes Maxime de Tray, blond, a sleek, handsome man, an aristocrat, unprincipled, selfish, living at the expense of women. The narration in the novel is on behalf of the lawyer Derville, not a rich and not noble, but an honest and decent young man who knew Gobsek and talks about his life and the lives of those people who crossed paths with him. Gobsek is indeed a mad machine, but neither tears nor sobs move him, he motivates his refusal to help by the fact that people should stand firmly on their feet and live within their means. He despises pampered aristocrats who can only spend a rich inheritance and respects people who earn a living by honest work. but an honest and decent young man who knew Gobsek and talks about his life and the lives of those people who crossed paths with him. Gobsek is indeed a mad machine, but neither tears nor sobs move him, he motivates his refusal to help by the fact that people should stand firmly on their feet and live within their means. He despises pampered aristocrats who can only spend a rich inheritance and respects people who earn a living by honest work. but an honest and decent young man who knew Gobsek and talks about his life and the lives of those people who crossed paths with him. Gobsek is indeed a mad machine, but neither tears nor sobs move him, he motivates his refusal to help by the fact that people should stand firmly on their feet and live within their means. He despises pampered aristocrats who can only spend a rich inheritance and respects people who earn a living by honest work.
In the work "Father Goreo" the action takes place in Paris in the boarding house of the widow Madame Voke. The same characters act in the work as in Gobsek, but new faces are added. The boarding house of the widow Voke is a place where people with low incomes live, people of different social strata: merchants, officials, students and a former convict. Everything in this house speaks of poverty: old furniture with worn carpets, chipped plates and a fireplace where, because of economy, no fire is lit. As a comparison or comparison, a description is given of the high-society salon of the Vicomtesse de Beauchamp, the cream of society gathered there, but the inhabitants of the Voke boarding house and visitors to the high-society salon live according to the same wolf laws: the one who has money wins, who is unprincipled and does not shun any means to achieve their cherished goal - to get rich.
The image of the student Rastignac is very clearly depicted in the novel, this young man came from the province to study at the University of Paris, make a career and achieve wealth. Rostignac, thanks to his family ties with the Viscountess, was well received into her house. Goreo, the former owner of pasta factories, also attended social events in the Vicomtesse's salon, thanks to the successful marriages of his daughters, he gave one to the banker Nusengen, and the second to the Comte de Restaud. He divided his wealth between his two daughters and, like Shakespeare's "King Lear", discovered the truth too late for himself - his daughters do not love him, they only need money, he dies alone, and his relatives did not even come to bury him ("Everyone gives money, even daughters). And for Rastignac, money was the most important thing (he wrote to his mother - "life in Paris is a battle and the weapon in it is gold"). Former convict Vautrin is a cynic who corrupts the soul of Rastignac. All the inhabitants of the boarding house Voke are very colorful, and everyone gets what they deserve.
The action takes place in the province, in the small town of Saumur. Eugenie Grandet, a young woman living in the home of her father, a wealthy bourgeois winegrower. Her father is a real financial genius. He increased his wealth, but the human properties of his soul leave much to be desired. He is incredibly stingy. When his nephew Charles comes to him with the news of the death of his brother, he laments the expenses that await him: mourning dresses for relatives and food for Charles. Soon, Charles leaves for India in search of an easy fate (wealth), and Evgenia, who sincerely fell in love with Charles, has been waiting for him for seven years. The image of Eugenie Grande is the brightest image of Balzac. This girl, although she grew up in her father's house, is not at all greedy, not greedy.
Before leaving, she gave Charles all her savings: (“Money is only a means, that’s all!”), Her first love turned out to be the only one, but Charles deceived her, he came and married another rich heiress, and he feels regret , only when he finds out that Eugenia received an inheritance much more than his wife. Eugenia dedicated her life to helping the poor. His genius lies precisely in the fact that he created precisely social types (each of them has his own passions, Gobsek has a passion for hoarding, which made him a maniac, Goreaux has paternal love, Rastignac has ambition, and Eugenie Grande has nobility of nature). Many of the characters that pass from one novel to another do not remain unchanged. The path to achieving desires is based on a sober knowledge of life, bitter disappointment, retribution for the wealth received with peace of mind.
"Chronicle of the reign of Charles IX" - Prosper Merimee
The plot of the novel is taken from the era of religious wars, the struggle of Catholics with the Huguenots in the 16th century.
In the center of the novel, the events of August 24, 1572. The culminating moment in the development of this novel is Bartholomew's Night, the terrible massacre of the Huguenots perpetrated by the Catholics. The Chronicle of the Reign of Charles IX is one of the most profound manifestations of Mérimée's staunch anti-Catholicism. The main characters: one Bernard is a Huguenot and Georges is a Catholic, they love each other, but in the end the brother kills the brother.