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A Drama on the Seashore   By: (1799-1850)

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A Drama on the Seashore by Honoré de Balzac is a captivating, yet melancholic tale that takes readers on a journey of passion, love, and the complexities of human relationships. Set against the backdrop of a quaint seaside town, Balzac weaves a web of emotionally charged characters that are both relatable and deeply flawed.

The story introduces us to a young and beautiful woman named Emma, who is married to a wealthy but aging nobleman. While her marriage is devoid of love and passion, it is through her encounter with a dashing young artist, Lucien, that her life takes an unexpected turn. The flames of desire ignite between the two, and they embark on a forbidden affair that fuels the narrative with intensity and suspense.

Balzac masterfully explores the emotional struggle faced by Emma as she grapples with her duty towards her husband and the overwhelming pull of her heart towards Lucien. The characters are intricately developed, allowing readers to sympathize with their internal struggles and conflicting desires. The depth of their emotions is powerfully portrayed, leaving the reader emotionally invested in their fates.

The author’s depiction of the seaside town creates a vivid and atmospheric setting that serves as a metaphorical reflection of the characters' inner turmoil. The sea, with its relentless waves, mirrors the tumultuous nature of their relationships, as they navigate the treacherous waters of forbidden love. Balzac's evocative descriptions effortlessly transport readers to this coastal town, immersing them in the world of his characters.

While the story primarily focuses on Emma and Lucien, Balzac skillfully incorporates a gallery of supporting characters whose own lives intersect and collide with the main narrative. Each adds a layer of complexity to the story, revealing the various shades of human nature and the consequences of one's actions.

A Drama on the Seashore is not simply a tale of romantic entanglements; it is a profound exploration of the human psyche and the choices we make in the face of desire and societal expectations. Balzac’s elegant prose captures the essence of human emotions, delving into the depths of love, longing, and the harsh realities of life.

In conclusion, A Drama on the Seashore is a profound and emotionally charged novel that showcases Balzac’s mastery of storytelling. With its rich character development, evocative setting, and thought-provoking themes, this book will leave readers grappling with their own notions of love, duty, and happiness. Balzac's powerful narrative will linger in readers' minds long after the last page is turned.

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated By Katharine Prescott Wormeley


To Madame la Princesse Caroline Galitzin de Genthod, nee Comtesse Walewska. Homage and remembrances of

The Author.


Nearly all young men have a compass with which they delight in measuring the future. When their will is equal to the breadth of the angle at which they open it the world is theirs. But this phenomenon of the inner life takes place only at a certain age. That age, which for all men lies between twenty two and twenty eight, is the period of great thoughts, of fresh conceptions, because it is the age of immense desires. After that age, short as the seed time, comes that of execution. There are, as it were, two youths, the youth of belief, the youth of action; these are often commingled in men whom Nature has favored and who, like Caesar, like Newton, like Bonaparte, are the greatest among great men.

I was measuring how long a time it might take a thought to develop. Compass in hand, standing on a rock some hundred fathoms above the ocean, the waves of which were breaking on the reef below, I surveyed my future, filling it with books as an engineer or builder traces on vacant ground a palace or a fort... Continue reading book >>

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