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Chouans (version 2)

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By: (1799-1850)

Chouans is a gripping novel that takes the reader back to the turbulent times of the French Revolution. Honoré de Balzac expertly weaves together historical events with fictional characters to create a story that is both educational and entertaining.

The novel follows the struggles of the Chouans, a group of royalist rebels in rural France, as they fight against the revolutionary forces of the Republic. Balzac's vivid descriptions bring the setting to life, making it easy to imagine the chaos and danger of the time period.

The characters in Chouans are complex and well-developed, with their own motivations and desires driving the plot forward. The romantic entanglements and political intrigue add depth to the story, keeping the reader engaged until the very end.

Overall, Chouans is a captivating read that offers a glimpse into a fascinating period of history. Balzac's skillful storytelling and attention to detail make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in French history or classic literature.

Book Description:
“The Chouans” was the first novel published under Balzac’s own name . It became the first book in the great work of his lifetime — the novel series titled “The Human Comedy.”

Balzac was impressed by the writings of Sir Walter Scott. Scott made Scottish history come alive by creating fictions that used real history as backdrop. Balzac’s novel is set in 1799 — the year that Napoleon became First Consul of France. In the far west of France , anti-revolutionary sentiment still simmered. The Chouans were a rustic guerrilla militia who wanted to undo the French Revolution and restore the old Bourbon monarchy. Pitted against them were the forces of the new Republic and its military . Balzac researched this historical period as well as living conditions for Bretons of that time, then wove into the actual history his own fictional account of a romance between lovers from opposite factions in the dispute.

In “The Chouans,” we see an early and influential example of “historical fiction,” a genre which blossomed in popularity during the 1800s, and remains popular in today’s novels and films. - Summary by Bruce Pirie

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