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  • Published: 15 September 2006
  • ISBN: 9780940322745
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $24.99
Categories:

The Unknown Masterpiece



A New York Review Books Original

One of Honoré de Balzac's most celebrated tales, "The Unknown Masterpiece" is the story of a painter who, depending on one's perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius—or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cézanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton's words, a "fable of modern art."

Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, "The Unknown Masterpiece" appears, as Balzac intended, with "Gambara," a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams.

  • Published: 15 September 2006
  • ISBN: 9780940322745
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $24.99
Categories:

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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