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A Daughter of Eve   By: (1799-1850)

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A Daughter of Eve by Honoré de Balzac is a captivating and thought-provoking piece of literature that explores the depths of human nature and the complexities of relationships. The story follows the life of young Eugénie Grandet, who is forced into an arranged marriage by her tyrannical father.

Balzac's writing style is rich and evocative, painting vivid images of the characters and their surroundings. The author delves into the obsession with material wealth and societal pressures, analyzing the repercussions they have on individuals' lives. Through Eugénie, Balzac delves into the dichotomy between duty and personal desires, highlighting the sacrifices individuals often have to make in order to conform to societal expectations.

The character development in A Daughter of Eve is exceptional, with each individual being given a depth that makes them relatable and tangible. Eugénie's transformation from a naive and submissive young girl to a determined and independent woman is particularly inspiring. Balzac masterfully examines the themes of love, greed, and ambition, revealing the flaws and vulnerabilities of his characters.

Moreover, Balzac's exploration of gender dynamics and feminism is quite progressive for its time. Eugénie's struggle against the patriarchal constraints placed upon her is a powerful statement against the limitations imposed on women in society. Her journey is one of self-discovery, as she learns to assert herself and fight for her own happiness.

However, the pacing of the book can sometimes be slow, with Balzac delving into lengthy descriptions and digressions that may lose the reader's interest. Additionally, the abundance of characters and their complex relationships can be overwhelming at times, requiring the reader's full attention to keep track of everyone.

Despite these minor drawbacks, A Daughter of Eve is a must-read for literature enthusiasts who enjoy deep character analysis and a thorough examination of societal norms. Balzac's profound insights into human nature, combined with his engaging narrative, make this novel a timeless piece of literature that prompts reflection on the human condition. Whether one is familiar with Balzac's work or new to his storytelling, A Daughter of Eve is a memorable and impactful read that leaves a lasting impression.

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley


To Madame la Comtesse Bolognini, nee Vimercati.

If you remember, madame, the pleasure your conversation gave to a traveller by recalling Paris to his memory in Milan, you will not be surprised to find him testifying his gratitude for many pleasant evenings passed beside you by laying one of his works at your feet, and begging you to protect it with your name, as in former days that name protected the tales of an ancient writer dear to the Milanese.

You have an Eugenie, already beautiful, whose intelligent smile gives promise that she has inherited from you the most precious gifts of womanhood, and who will certainly enjoy during her childhood and youth all those happinesses which a rigid mother denied to the Eugenie of these pages. Though Frenchmen are taxed with inconstancy, you will find me Italian in faithfulness and memory. While writing the name of "Eugenie," my thoughts have often led me back to that cool stuccoed salon and little garden in the Vicolo dei Cappucini, which echoed to the laughter of that dear child, to our sportive quarrels and our chatter. But you have left the Corso for the Tre Monasteri, and I know not how you are placed there; consequently, I am forced to think of you, not among the charming things with which no doubt you have surrounded yourself, but like one of those fine figures due to Raffaelle, Titian, Correggio, Allori, which seem abstractions, so distant are they from our daily lives... Continue reading book >>

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