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Firm of Nucingen

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By: (1799-1850)

Part of the Comedie Humane and a "supplementary" tale to go with Father Goriot and Gobseck. Nucingen is the married family name of one of Father Goriot's daughters. "James Waring" is a pseudonym of Ellen Marriage (Balzac was considered sometimes too racy by the Victorian Age).

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By Honore De Balzac

Translated by James Waring


To whom, madame, but to you should I inscribe this work; to you whose lofty and candid intellect is a treasury to your friends; to you that are to me not only a whole public, but the most indulgent of sisters as well? Will you deign to accept a token of the friendship of which I am proud? You, and some few souls as noble, will grasp the whole of the thought underlying The Firm of Nucingen , appended to Cesar Birotteau . Is there not a whole social lesson in the contrast between the two stories?



You know how slight the partitions are between the private rooms of fashionable restaurants in Paris; Very's largest room, for instance, is cut in two by a removable screen. This Scene is not laid at Very's, but in snug quarters, which for reasons of my own I forbear to specify. We were two, so I will say, like Henri Monnier's Prudhomme, "I should not like to compromise her !"

We had remarked the want of solidity in the wall structure, so we talked with lowered voices as we sat together in the little private room, lingering over the dainty dishes of a dinner exquisite in more senses than one... Continue reading book >>

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