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July 30 , 2009

Eugenie Grandet


This is a painfully drawn portrayal of private life, but its wider subject-matter also makes it a fictional document of post-revolutionary France.

Many people (among them Henry James) have considered Balzac to be the greatest of all novelists. Eugenie Grandet, his spare, classical story of a girl whose life is blighted by her father's hysterical greed, goes a long way to justifying that opinion. One of the most magnificent of his tales of early nineteenth-century French provincial life, this novel is the work of a writer on whom nothing was lost, and who represents most fully the ability of the human animal to understand and illuminate its own condition.

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