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Cousin Pons - cover

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Cousin Pons

Honoré de Balzac

Publisher: Mint Editions

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Summary

Cousin Pons (1847) is a novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. One of the final works in Balzac’s La Comédie humaine sequence, Cousin Pons originally began as a novella before being extended to the length of a novel. It serves as both a beautiful meditation on the nature of Platonic male friendship and a vitriolic condemnation of the vanity and greed of the French bourgeoisie. In typical fashion, however, Balzac also turns a critical eye to the lower class, ensuring his uniquely holistic vision of French society spares no one—and leaves no stone unturned.
 
When he isn’t performing with a Parisian boulevard orchestra, Sylvain Pons can be found in deep conversation with his good friend Wilhelm Schmucke, admiring his collection of paintings, or enjoying a gourmet meal with his cousins, M. and Mme. Camusot de Marville, whose food he greatly prefers to that of his landlady’s, Mme. Cibot. Pons’ life and company are of little interest to anyone other than his friend Wilhelm—by family and acquaintances, he is treated at best with tolerance, and at worst with disdain. After failing to find a suitable match for their daughter Cécile—which Pons attempts as a form of repayment for his shared meals with the Camusots—his cousins dispel him from their home and lives for good. But when they discover the value of his art collection—as do Mme. Cibot and several shady characters of the lower classes—a mad scramble ensues that threatens Sylvain Pons’ gentle nature as well as his life.
 
Cousin Pons, a subtle and underrated novel by Honoré de Balzac, takes an unforgiving look at the consequences of greed as well exposes the imbalance between the economic and aesthetic values of art.
 
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Honoré de Balzac’s Cousin Pons is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.

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