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A Man of Business   By: (1799-1850)

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A Man of Business by Honoré de Balzac is a literary masterpiece that delves deep into the intricacies of the business world during 19th century France. This profoundly insightful novel follows the life of Eugène de Rastignac, a young man with aspirations of becoming someone important in society.

From the very beginning, Balzac captivates readers with his vivid and meticulous descriptions, painting a vibrant picture of Parisian society. The author’s attention to detail is remarkable, immersing readers in the bustling streets, lavish parties, and tense negotiation rooms of the era. The aesthetic appeal of his prose is a true testament to Balzac’s exceptional talent as a writer.

Through the character of Rastignac, Balzac masterfully explores the corrupt and often ruthless nature of the business world. Rastignac's journey from a naïve young man to a cunning and ambitious businessman is portrayed with great finesse, as Balzac skillfully depicts the moral compromises and sacrifices required in order to climb the social ladder.

What sets this novel apart is Balzac's brilliant character development. Rastignac is both compelling and flawed, allowing readers to witness the complexities of his persona. His internal struggle between moral principles and the desire for power and influence is expertly crafted, making him a relatable and multi-dimensional character. Balzac’s ability to delve into the psychological depths of his protagonist is truly remarkable.

Furthermore, Balzac sheds light on the inequalities of social class during this period. The stark contrast between the opulent lives of the upper class and the poverty and despair of the lower classes is depicted with sensitivity and realism. This social critique adds depth and substance to the story, elevating it beyond a mere tale of personal ambition.

A Man of Business is a thought-provoking novel that transcends time, presenting themes that are as relevant today as they were during its initial publication. Balzac’s insightful commentary on ambition, morality, and societal hierarchies is delivered with eloquence and depth, leaving readers pondering the consequences of pursuing success at any cost.

In conclusion, A Man of Business by Honoré de Balzac is a literary masterpiece that combines rich storytelling with profound social commentary. Balzac’s nuanced character development and evocative descriptions create a captivating narrative that is both engaging and insightful. This novel is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of human nature, societal structures, and the pursuit of ambition.

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated by Clara Bell and Others


To Monsieur le Baron James de Rothschild, Banker and Austrian Consul General at Paris.


The word lorette is a euphemism invented to describe the status of a personage, or a personage of a status, of which it is awkward to speak; the French Academie, in its modesty, having omitted to supply a definition out of regard for the age of its forty members. Whenever a new word comes to supply the place of an unwieldy circumlocution, its fortune is assured; the word lorette has passed into the language of every class of society, even where the lorette herself will never gain an entrance. It was only invented in 1840, and derived beyond a doubt from the agglomeration of such swallows' nests about the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. This information is for etymoligists only. Those gentlemen would not be so often in a quandary if mediaeval writers had only taken such pains with details of contemporary manners as we take in these days of analysis and description.

Mlle. Turquet, or Malaga, for she is better known by her pseudonym (See La fausse Maitresse .), was one of the earliest parishioners of that charming church. At the time to which this story belongs, that lighthearted and lively damsel gladdened the existence of a notary with a wife somewhat too bigoted, rigid, and frigid for domestic happiness... Continue reading book >>

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