This is seldom more evident than in Eugene Grandet, one of the earliest and finest of the novels in his great work. The love of money and passionate pursuit of it are seen as a driving force in post-Revolutionary France, and are studied in detail in the character of Grandet. In a house in provincial Saumur lives the miser Grandet with his wife and his daughter, Eugenie, who both suffer under the stifling shadow of his obsession with gold. But the arrival of her cousin, Charles, causes Eugenie's own desires to burn. The inevitable collision with her father, and the tragedy which follows, is described by Balzac with irony and characteristic psychological insight.
Depicting the fatal clash between material desires and the liberating power of human passions, Honoré de Balzac's Eugénie Grandet is translated with an introduction by M.A. Crawford in Penguin Classics. In a gloomy house in provincial Saumur, the miser Grandet lives with his wife and daughter, Eugénie, whose lives are stifled and overshadowed by his obsession with gold. Guarding his piles of glittering treasures and his only child equally closely, he will let no one near them. But when the arrival of her handsome cousin, Charles, awakens Eugénie's own desires, her passion brings her into a violent collision with her father that results in tragedy for all. Eugénie Grandet is one of the earliest and finest works in Balzac's Comédie humaine cycle, which portrays a society consumed by the struggle to amass wealth and achieve power. Here Grandet embodies both the passionate pursuit of money, and the human cost of avarice. M. A. Crawford's lucid translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing the irony and psychological insight of Balzac's characterization, the role of fate in the novel, its setting and historical background.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The son of a civil servant, Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799 in Tours, France. After attending boarding school in Vendôme, he gravitated to Paris where he worked as a legal clerk and a hack writer, using various pseudonyms, often in collaboration with other writers. Balzac turned exclusively to fiction at the age of thirty and went on to write a large number of novels and short stories set amid turbulent nineteenth-century France. He entitled his collective works The Human Comedy. Along with Victor Hugo and Dumas père and fils, Balzac was one of the pillars of French romantic literature. He died in 1850, shortly after his marriage to the Polish countess Evelina Hanska, his lover of eighteen years.