At the end of Honoré de Balzac’s Le père Goriot (Père Goriot,1835) the novel’s hero, Eugène de Rastignac, stands at the summit of the Père Lachaise cemetery on the outskirts of Paris, gazing at the city that lies below. An ambitious but impoverished nobleman from the provinces, Eugène had arrived in the capital to study law. Instead, over the course of some three hundred pages, he is treated to a very different kind of education, learning about the intricate rules that govern aristocratic salons and witnessing the steady stream of petty intrigues, personal betrayals, and elaborate conspiracies that permeate fashion-able society. In a word, he has learned what it takes to succeed in Paris. And just now, Rastignac has witnessed a particularly sordid episode of Parisian life, the funeral of the novel’s eponymous hero, Jean-Joachim Goriot.
|Title of host publication||A history of modern French literature : from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century|
|Place of Publication||Princeton|
|Publisher||Princeton University Press|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2017|