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Balzac’s Paris

Balzac’s Paris

Author Eric Hazan
Publisher Verso Books
Publication Date 2024-06-25
Section New Hardcover - Nonfiction / Travel Lit / Adventure
Type New
ISBN 9781839767258

An exploration of Paris with Balzac, 19th century French society's most famous novelist and observer In Balzac's greatest work, a body of novels and stories collectively entitled The Human Comedy, he set out to offer a complete picture of contemporary French society and manners. His loving ode to Paris also serves as an introduction to the first capital of the modern world. The ever-new Paris to which he addresses his declaration of love consists of an accumulation of details – names, landmarks, streams, gates – a city with countless meticulously drawn figures: legal clerks, grisettes, journalists, concierges, usurers, salesmen, speculators. Balzac gathered the elements of this Paris by sauntering through it. ‘To saunter is a science,’ he writes, ‘it is the gastronomy of the eye. To take a walk is to vegetate; to saunter is to live.’ This book follows in Balzac’s footsteps, crossing the city in his big boots, running between his printers, publishers, coffee merchants, mistresses and friends, stopping for a moment, struck by a detail that his photographic memory faithfully fixed. More than a tour of the city, Balzac's Paris is an attempt to measure the soul of a place.

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