Old Goriot

Paperback | May 30, 1951

byHonore de BalzacTranslated byMarion Ayton CrawfordIntroduction byMarion Ayton Crawford

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Honoré de Balzac’s great theme was money, and in his best-loved novel, Old Goriot, he explored its uses and abuses with the particularity of a poet. A shabby Parisian boarding house in 1819 is the setting where his colorful characters collide. These include an elderly retired merchant called Old Goriot, who has bankrupted himself for the sake of his two rapacious, social-climbing daughters, Delphine and Anastasie; a mysterious and sinister conspirator named Vautrin; Victorine, a disinherited heiress; and a naive and impoverished law student from the country, Eugène de Rastignac.  

Rastignac is appalled at first by the greed and corruption he finds in Paris, but he soon sets his sights on conquering high society. He joins forces with the array of schemers who surround him, while the suffering, self-sacrificing Goriot yearns in vain for his daughters’ love. The sprawling, vibrant, and turbulent Paris of the post-Napoleonic era is itself a major character in the novel, an emblem of the social upheaval that Balzac portrays so brilliantly. Old Goriot was the first of Balzac’s novels to employ his famous technique of recurring characters, and it has come to be seen as the keystone in his grand project, The Human Comedy.

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From Our Editors

 Although soften by its Comedie humaine, Honore De Balzac’s novel is a turbulent and doom laden as King Leer. Concerning the squalid latter days of a once wealthy vermicelli merchant and the chain of events his two recurrent female visitors have the world within his squalid boarding house, Old Goriot is typical of Balzac’s vitality, wi...

From the Publisher

Honoré de Balzac’s great theme was money, and in his best-loved novel, Old Goriot, he explored its uses and abuses with the particularity of a poet. A shabby Parisian boarding house in 1819 is the setting where his colorful characters collide. These include an elderly retired merchant called Old Goriot, who has bankrupted himself for t...

From the Jacket

Balzac's great theme was money, and he explored its uses and abuses with all the particularity of the masterful poet he was. Old Goriot, betrayed by rapacious daughters, and Rastignac, an ambitious provincial youth alive to his opportunities, form the twin foci around which the grasping Parisian society of the 1820s revolves, in this, ...

The son of a civil servant, Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799 in Tours, France. After attending boarding school in Vendôme, he gravitated to Paris where he worked as a legal clerk and a hack writer, using various pseudonyms, often in collaboration with other writers. Balzac turned exclusively to fiction at the age of thirty and went ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 0.71 inPublished:May 30, 1951Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140440178

ISBN - 13:9780140440171

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Customer Reviews of Old Goriot

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of his best One of Balzac's best works. Though I generally prefer longer works, this novel is amazing in its depiction of humanity. A great choice in general, and a good starter novel for someone getting into Balzac.
Date published: 2006-05-30

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From Our Editors

 Although soften by its Comedie humaine, Honore De Balzac’s novel is a turbulent and doom laden as King Leer. Concerning the squalid latter days of a once wealthy vermicelli merchant and the chain of events his two recurrent female visitors have the world within his squalid boarding house, Old Goriot is typical of Balzac’s vitality, wit and insight as well as his intense understanding of human nature when exposed to it’s most insatiable obsessions; money and love.