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  • Published: 1 October 1965
  • ISBN: 9780140441604
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $19.99

Cousin Bette




'Envy remained hidden in her heart, like a plague germ which may come to life and devastate a city'

Poor, plain spinster Bette is compelled to survive on the condescending patronage of her socially superior relatives in Paris: her beautiful, saintly cousin Adeline, the philandering Baron Hulot and their daughter Hortense. Already deeply resentful of their wealth, when Bette learns that the man she is in love with plans to marry Hortense, she becomes consumed by the desire to exact her revenge and dedicates herself to the destruction of the Hulot family, plotting their ruin with patient, silent malice. Cousin Bette is a gripping tale of violent jealousy, sexual passion and treachery, and a brilliant portrayal of the grasping, bourgeois society of 1840s Paris. The culmination of the Comédie humaine, Balzac's epic chronicle of his times, it is one of his greatest triumphs as a novelist.

  • Published: 1 October 1965
  • ISBN: 9780140441604
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Honore de Balzac

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 on to write a large number of novels and short stories set amid turbulent nineteenth-century France. He entitled his collective works The Human Comedy. Along with Victor Hugo and Dumas père and fils, Balzac was one of the pillars of French romantic literature. He died in 1850, shortly after his marriage to the Polish countess Evelina Hanska, his lover of eighteen years.

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