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Lost Illusions - cover

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Lost Illusions

Honoré de Balzac

Publisher: Mint Editions

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Summary

Lost Illusions (1837-1843) is a novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. Written as part of his La Comédie humaine sequence, Lost Illusions looks at scenes of Parisian and provincial life involving friendship, desire, and literary ambition. Inspired by his own experiences as a journalist and publisher, Balzac sought to tell a story adjacent to his own, a story concerning a young man for whom talent is abundant but recognition is woefully scarce. The novel’s protagonist, Lucien Chardon, features in Balzac’s work A Harlot High and Low, as does the villain Vautrin, who appears toward the end of Lost Illusions and throughout Father Goriot, one of author’s most popular and enduring works.
 
The son of a middle-class father and aristocratic mother, Lucien Chardon is a promising young poet. He lives in Angoulême with his now-impoverished mother—who is also a widow—and his sister Ève. In the province, he spends his days with his loyal friend David Séchard, who encourages his literary lifestyle while studying to be a scientist. David’s eventual marriage to Ève only brings the two friends closer together, but when Lucien meets the wealthy and influential Mme. de Bargeton, with whom he flees to Paris, their friendship is lost to Lucien’s unstoppable ambition. In the city, abandoned by Mme. de Bargeton and living under his mother’s maiden name, Lucien de Rubempré sacrifices morality, friendship, and family at the altar of poetry, slowly becoming another person altogether. Lost Illusions is one of Balzac’s most sustained character studies, a novel which critiques humanity and high society as much as it does his own commercial interests as a professional writer.
 
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Honoré de Balzac’s Lost Illusions is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.

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