Honore De Balzac (1799-1850) is generally credited as the inventor of the modern realistic novel. In more than ninety novels, he set forth French society and life as he saw it. He created a cast of over two thousand individual and identifiable characters, some of whom reappear in different novels. He organized his works into his masterpiece, La Comedie Humaine, which was the final result of his attempt to grasp the whole of society and experience into one varied but unified work. Richard Howard was born in Cleveland in 1929. He is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry and has published more than one hundred fifty translations from the French, including works by Gide, Stendhal, de Beauvoir, Baudelaire, and de Gaulle. Howard received a National Book Award for his translation of Fleurs du mal and a Pulitzer Prize for Untitled Subjects, a collection of poetry. Arthur C. Danto (1924-2013) was the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, art critic for The Nation, and author of many books about art and philosophy. He coined the term "artworld."
Honore De Balzac was born in 1799 and died in 1850.
Honore De Balzac has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about La Peau de Chagrin (Pocket Classics)?
Heh? May 4, 2006
This is not one of Balzac's great works. First, if you are not extremely fluent in French, you will find the language in this book very difficult. The story is a bit strange to begin with, but visualizing what is happening or even what this mysterious talisman looks like is all but impossible. As you trudge through the pages and pages and pages of this book, you're always hoping it will get better, that you will be stimulated in the way that Balzac had done before, but to no avail. Reading should be fun, but this is drudgery.
A chilling tale of the destructive powers of desire Jun 19, 1999
In this fairly early Balzac novel, part of his grand "La Comedie humaine" project (in which he set out to describe every aspect of French society with interwoven plots), Raphael, a young and destitute nobleman, acquires a talisman with particular powers. This patch of chagreen skin, its Arabic inscription promising to fulfill his will, also grows smaller every time a wish is granted -- and with it, his lifespan. A struggle begins worthy of Stephen King horror. Raphael must either somehow stop the talisman's shrinking or try to bring his will to a screeching halt. Mixed in is the story of a beautiful but heartless woman he desires. (This part, to be honest, gets a bit dull at times, though it is somewhat crucial to Raphael's psychological portrait.) This wasted venture prevents him from being closer to the simpler but caring girl who deserves his love. Balzac's father believed that the human will ultimately saps a person of his life if overexerted. In this short novel, Balzac explores this idea with flair and wit, and maybe a bit too much on-the-couch psychoanalysis.