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THE BANKRUPT : The Rise and Fall of César Birotteau - by Honoré de BALZAC

One of the most compelling episodes of Balzac's 'Human Comedy', in which successful Parisian perfumer César Birotteau gets in more trouble than he can handle by involving himself in a land deal. A Tale of Changing Fortunes and the Disaster of Bankruptcy - Will monsieur Birotteau be able to redeem himself?

"Are you certain that your soul has had its full development? Do you breathe in air through every pore of it? Do your eyes see all they can see?" Honoré de Balzac

About this Extraordinary Novel: A complete and unabridged edition of this novel from 'The Human Comedy' by the undisputed master of the form, Honoré de Balzac. He explains something of the theme of the volume in the following words :
"The existence of any being or thing has its apogée, a time during which causes act in exact and immediate accord with results. This noon of life, when strong forces balance themselves and act and react upon each other to the greatest extent, is common not only to organised beings, but also to cities, to nations, to ideas, to institutions, to trades, to undertakings, which, as is the case with dynasties and noble races, have their birth, growth, and decay." [From 'The Bankrupt']

Testimony to the Genius of Balzac:
"Here is the first and one of the most ambitious of our realistic modern novelists, the planner and architect of the Human Comedy, the novelist of society itself, in Paris or the provinces, town and country, high life, low life, finance, politics, fashionable intrigues, occult researches, everybody, everything." J.B.Priestley
"He has seen all and said all, comprehended all and divined all." George Sand
"Perhaps the greatest name in the post-revolutionary literature of France." Encyclopaedia Britannica
"Balzac is the immortal Homer of the Modern World." de Banville

Features of this Edition: A Prefatory Essay on the life and work of Honoré de Balzac by Edouard d'Araille; Includes a Special Note on the composition of 'The Bankrupt'; a Portrait of Balzac (photograph); the complete text of 'The Bankrupt'.

A Short Extract: "Through the winter nights, the noise in the street Saint-Honoré ceases for a very short time only, for there the market-gardeners, on their way to the market-hall, commence their active movements just as the sounds of carriages returning from theatres and balls die away. Whilst the note of the organ, in the great symphony of Parisian racket, is held - which happens about one o'clock in the morning - the wife of Monsieur César Birotteau, who sells perfumes near the Place Vendôme, is suddenly awakened one night by a frightful dream. She saw a double apparition of herself; she came before her own self in rags, turning the bolt of the door of her own shop with a parched and wrinkled hand; she found herself, at one and the same time, on the door-step and on her seat behind the counter; she begged alms for herself, she heard herself speaking at both door and counter. She tried to grasp her husband, and her hand alighted in a cold place; then her fear became so intense that she could not turn her neck, which was stiff as a block of stone; the sides of her throat collapsed, her voice failed; she sat as if nailed to her seat, eyes staring and fixed, hair sadly dishevelled, her ears filled with strange sounds, her heart contracted, yet beating; in fact, she perspired, whilst she at the same time felt like ice, in the middle of an alcove, both the sides of which were open. Fear is enough to half-kill a person, for it has such an effect upon the human machine that its powers are, suddenly, either excited to the highest degree, or else so reduced as to be almost extinguished. Physiology has for a long time been astonished at this phenomenon, which reverses its ordinary rules and overthrows its calculations, although it may be simply a thunderstorm at work in the body, but, like all things connected with electricity, strange and uncertain in its manner of acting : this explanation will be generally received so soon as learned men shall have admitted that electricity has surprising influence over men's thoughts".

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