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First Edition Thus; First Printing, So Stated. Near Fine in Wraps: shows only the most minute indications of use, but the upper 3/4" of the rear panel is discolored, perhaps by sunning (none of the print on the rear panel is affected): the price at the top of the front panel has been carefully blocked out with ink; else just a hint of wear to extremities; mildest rubbing. The bBinding square and secure; the text is clean. Very close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 12mo. 220pp. Translated by Henry Reed. Afterward by Roger Shattuck. Mass Market Paperback. This is the extremely sad and powerfully written story of Eugenie Grandet, a true heroine of modern literature (yes, modern). In the town of Saumur, M. Grandet is a wine merchant, a miser in full. This is a despicable man, but like good characters in literature, he has an understandable, if unjustifiable, reason for his behavior. He wants to give his family a perennial financial security. The problem is, that is all he wants for his family. Nothing else matters. So the family leads a monastical life, luxury is forbidden, joy is expensive. Eugenie is a likable but shy young lady, without any knowledge of the world whatsoever. Balzac is just great at creating the environment and mood. You can see the big, old house, the leaves fallen from the trees and rustling in the silent evenings of this town. You can feel the boredom of lifeless life, the long, long afternoons. The avaricious man lecturing everybody for spending like crazy, anguished at every penny spent, regardless of what was bought or consumed. So, two families are looking forward to having one of their sons married to Eugenie, but Daddy is looking for more wealth, and refuses to share his with these provincial people. Then his brother committs suicide in account of financial trouble, and Grandet's nephew, Charles, comes to town. He and Eugenie fall in love, but there is no chance M. Grandet will accept a marriage with the son of a ruined man. Charles, thus, leaves for the Indies to look for fortune. Someday he'll come back, but things will never be the same. As the years pass, we see Eugenie go on with her dull life, her heart saddened and cold. Balzac's novel paints an accurate and believable portrait of French society at the time, but it would not have survived if that had been all. As the title of this review states, this work has transcended because it is literature of the higher sort, that which goes directly to the human heart and mind, to situations that do not pass with age, but remain embedded in any society. And because the writer is a master craftsman: Balzac is one of the best. Think of novel and think of Balzac, "competitor with the Civil Records": a rigorous analyst of human, and not only French, society.
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