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La Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac (1998-12-20) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1796
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Top reviews from the United States
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“I have learned more from Balzac than from all the professional historians, economists, and statisticians put together.”
“To open up what society and the novel of manners repress, to stage a kind of explosive upthrust of that which is ordinarily kept down, under control, is Balzac’s delight and his passion. He asks to be read in a spirit of adventure and daring.”
"COUSIN BETTE portrays a world in which almost everyone will do anything to anyone if sex and money are at stake, a milieu in which sex is routinely traded for money, in which friendships and alliances are forged to advance the most immoral motives, and in which only fools and martyrs are deluded enough to follow the outmoded promptings of honor, loyalty, and conscience."
Well, I certainly think so anyway.
This edition of the novel is not of the best. It is large and hard to hold! I would buy the penguin edition next time -- which is also a better translation.
The ending was rather quickly finished but the story was quite a visual soap opera.
Top reviews from other countries
The most insulting aspect, however, is that a translated classic has no notes. If ever a story was crying out for notes, this is it: the references to 1830s France and the Empire, the locations and the references are all left dangling. I'm sure that I could Google every single one of them - if I had time - but a 'classic' should have notes. I would not recommend this edition; search out another edition which has notes unless you are happy to only half-understand something.