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Domestic Peace   By: (1799-1850)

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Domestic Peace by Honoré de Balzac is a thought-provoking and deeply emotional tale that explores the complexities of family dynamics and the concept of peace within the home. Balzac, a master storyteller, weaves a compelling narrative that captivates the reader from the very beginning.

The story revolves around the lives of two couples, Monsieur and Madame Bontems and Monsieur and Madame Gaudin. The Bontems' seemingly idyllic marriage is disrupted when Madame Bontems discovers her husband's infidelity. Balzac skillfully portrays the profound impact of this betrayal on Madame Bontems, as she navigates the complexities of her emotions and strives to salvage her marriage.

Through the character of Madame Gaudin, Balzac presents a contrasting perspective. Madame Gaudin, a strong-willed and independent woman, divorces her husband after discovering his long-term extramarital affair. Balzac delves into the societal norms and expectations of the time, exploring the challenges faced by women who dared to defy the conventions of their era.

One of the most powerful aspects of Domestic Peace is Balzac's ability to delve into the psychology of his characters. He delves into their inner worlds, exploring the depths of their emotions and their motivations. Balzac's characters are so vividly portrayed that the reader cannot help but empathize with their struggles, making the story all the more compelling.

Balzac also illuminates the role of societal expectations and family pressures in shaping the decisions and actions of the characters. He deftly explores the multifaceted nature of love, marriage, and loyalty, ultimately raising profound questions about the nature of domestic peace.

However, at times, the narrative can become somewhat dense and drawn-out, making it slightly challenging to follow the intricacies of the story. Balzac's prose, while beautifully written, may not be suited to readers seeking a fast-paced or light-hearted read.

Despite these minor drawbacks, Domestic Peace presents a profound and introspective exploration of human relationships and the pursuit of harmony within the domestic sphere. Balzac's skillful character development and thought-provoking themes make this novel a gripping and emotionally resonant read. Whether one is interested in the complexities of marriage or the societal constraints placed upon women in the 19th century, Domestic Peace offers a captivating journey into the depths of the human heart.

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated By Ellen Marriage and Clara Bell

Dedicated to my dear niece Valentine Surville.


The incident recorded in this sketch took place towards the end of the month of November, 1809, the moment when Napoleon's fugitive empire attained the apogee of its splendor. The trumpet blasts of Wagram were still sounding an echo in the heart of the Austrian monarchy. Peace was being signed between France and the Coalition. Kings and princes came to perform their orbits, like stars, round Napoleon, who gave himself the pleasure of dragging all Europe in his train a magnificent experiment in the power he afterwards displayed at Dresden. Never, as contemporaries tell us, did Paris see entertainments more superb than those which preceded and followed the sovereign's marriage with an Austrian archduchess. Never, in the most splendid days of the Monarchy, had so many crowned heads thronged the shores of the Seine, never had the French aristocracy been so rich or so splendid. The diamonds lavishly scattered over the women's dresses, and the gold and silver embroidery on the uniforms contrasted so strongly with the penury of the Republic, that the wealth of the globe seemed to be rolling through the drawing rooms of Paris... Continue reading book >>

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