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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 1977
  • ISBN: 9780140443257
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

Selected Short Stories


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One of the greatest French novelists, Balzac was also an accomplished writer of shorter fiction. This volume includes twelve of his finest short stories - many of which feature characters from his epic series of novels the Comédie Humaine. Compelling tales of acute social and psychological insight, they fully demonstrate the mastery of suspense and revelation that were the hallmarks of Balzac's genius. In The Atheist's Mass, we learn the true reason for a distinguished atheist surgeon's attendance at religious services; La Grande Breteche describes the horrific truth behind the locked doors of a decaying country mansion, while The Red Inn relates a brutal tale of murder and betrayal. A fascinating counterpoint to the renowned novels, all the stories collected here stand by themselves as mesmerizing works by one of the finest writers of nineteenth-century France.

  • Pub date: 1 August 1977
  • ISBN: 9780140443257
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

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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