Le père Goriot

ISBN: 2070409341
ISBN 13: 9782070409341
By: Honoré de Balzac

Check Price Now

Genres

1001 Books Classic Classics Favorites Fiction France French French Literature Literature To Read

About this book

« J'ai trouvé une idée merveilleuse. Je serai un homme de génie », s'exclame Balzac au moment où il écrit Le Père Goriot. Il venait d'imaginer La Comédie humaine, ce cycle romanesque dans lequel les mêmes personnages réapparaissent d'un roman à l'autre. Il venait de créer un monde, le monde balzacien.Les plus beaux romans, dit André Maurois, sont des romans d'apprentissage. Les illusions de la jeunesse s'y heurtent au monde féroce et pourtant plein de délices. L'amour devient coquetterie, la vertu s'achète, l'argent ruine tout. Seule la passion balzacienne, ici l'amour paternel, résiste, dévorante et implacable. Le Père Goriot est la clef de voûte d'une œuvre géniale.

Reader's Thoughts

Elisa

Vedeva il mondo come un oceano di fango nel quale un uomo sprofondava fino al collo se solo v'immergeva il piede.«Vi si commettono solo delitti meschini», si disse. «Vautrin è superiore».Egli aveva visto le tre grandi manifestazioni della società: l'Obbedienza, la Lotta e la Rivolta; la Famiglia, il Mondo e Vautrin. E non osava decidersi. Parigi, diciannovesimo secolo. Lo scenario della storia è diviso fra due teatri, quello misero e cadente della pensione di Madame Vauquer e quello dorato e tintinnante dei salotti dell'aristocrazia. Vi sono personaggi che occupano solo uno dei due palchi, altri che passano dall'uno all'altro attraverso un piccolo corridoio buio. Le pedine in movimento sul nostro tabellone sono Eugène de Rastignac, studente di Giurisprudenza arrivista e assetato dei buoni profumi della società; Monsieur Goriot, soprannominato dalle malelingue "papà" per la sua totale dedizione alle due figlie; Madame de Restaud e Madame de Nuncingen, figlie di Goriot, affezionate alle sete pregiate e agli amanti, ricche di "ragionamenti" ma povere di cuore. Eugène tenta continuamente di spiccare il salto dal lerciume della sua stanza in affitto al salotto di qualche ricca famiglia, aiutato dalla prestigiosa parentela di Madame de Beausant. Mentre lo studente e le figlie di Goriot posano il piede sul pavimento sporco della pensione solo per ottenerne uno slancio che possa portarli più in alto nella scala sociale, Goriot si muove tra i due spazi solo per uscirne impoverito. Dopo aver passato una vita all'insegna del lavoro, che l'ha portato a mettere da parte una considerevole ricchezza, il buon uomo si è votato alla felicità delle sue uniche figlie, donando loro a più riprese tutti i suoi averi per ottenere in cambio "solo una carezza". Il cuore dell'uomo l'ha portato a immolarsi sull'altare della ricchezza filiale, come prova il suo processo di graduale decomposizione: si trasferisce in stanze via via più economiche, i capelli gli si imbiancano per l'abbandono del parrucchiere, i suoi vestiti si impoveriscono, la sua proprietà si riduce a un mucchio di posate. Contro questa vita ridotta ai minimi termini si staglia la frivolezza delle figlie, che corrono dal padre solo nei momenti in cui hanno bisogno di batter cassa per intonacare i loro visi in vista di un evento in società. Cuore e freddo calcolo si avviluppano violentemente sulla scena, e l'unico sconfitto appare sempre e solo il povero Goriot. I personaggi statici dimostrano come l'uomo sia il medesimo in ogni frangia della società: una gazza avida di denaro e vanità. La vita stessa non è che una lotta continua. Il testo è letteralmente invaso di termini mutuati dal linguaggio bellico. Assedio, inganno, strategia: questi sono i valori che mantengono in vita la Parigi che rantola nella corruzione.Madame Vauquer è come un mobile che completa la meschinità della sua pensione, e non ha certo più cuore di un cassettone malandato. I pensionanti sono uno più meschino dell'altro, sempre pronti a colpirsi alle spalle per ottenerne un vantaggio personale. La questione non cambia se diamo un'occhiata alla buona società: ne è un esempio il crudele accorrere degli invitati alla festa della ricca signora che è appena stata colpita al cuore dal suo amante, per gioire della sua sfortuna e della sua caduta. L'oro che luccica sui corpi e sulle mani non rende diverso lo spettacolo da un'impiccagione in piazza, a cui il popolo più ignorante assiste come al passare di un carrozzone del circo. E' una meschinità umana che supera le barriere sociali: la decadenza altrui rende la nostra figura felice della propria stabilità. In mezzo a questa giungla umana in cui le parole d'ordine sono "lotta" e "inganno", spicca la figura dell'audace Vautrin. Inizialmente odioso nei comportamenti, con lo scorrere della narrazione diventa paradossalmente puro nella sua crudeltà. "Vautrin è superiore", come dice Rastignac. Il suo pregio sta nel riconoscere la natura dell'uomo, e nel trarne vantaggio senza ipocrisia. A differenza delle altre sagome del racconto, che preparano come ragni la loro tela di inganni e fingono di amare in modo teatrale, Vautrin non finge. E' avido e non se ne vergogna, prepara la strada al suo successo cercando di raggiungere anche quello altrui per ottenerne dei vantaggi. E' forse il suo comportamento peggiore di quello di chi finge di amare per ottenere il passpartout per la buona società? "Forse l'opera opposta, la pittura delle tortuosità nelle quali un uomo di mondo, un ambizioso, fa rotolare la coscienza cercando di rasentare il male per arrivare allo scopo salvando le apparenze, non sarebbe né meno bella né meno drammatica". Signore e signori, ecco a voi la Commedia Umana.

Maria

I expected to like this book more, and I didn't absolutely love it perhaps because this is a precurser to the works of Hugo and Zola whose novels I really love, and somehow less refined -- in short, I was kind of disappointed, and I know this author and love him but haven't read him in a while so this may be something too. Here's what I did love: the translator, Ellen Marriage; portrayals (and utterances) of Vautrin and Eugene; despite a slow start, the author's eternal truths interspersed throughout and Balzac's ultra-sharp merciless observation of his society. The end notes and appendix in this edition are imperative, particularly if a reader intends to read other books of the human comedy and keep the characters straight. I'll reread this when I'm in a more receptive frame of mind, and less impatient with Balzac's rather hollow characterizations and my distaste for the caricatures of Goriot, who doesn't learn, and his daughters, who are simply awful. But right now I'm giving it a lowish 4.

David Acevedo

** spoiler alert ** I read this in college, for my French literature class. I read it in its original French. While I'm not a fan of city realism, I have to admit that as far as classics go this novel is the cornerstone upon which most of our realistic literature stems from. As such, it is a must for history freaks. Regarding history, I now recall something I learnt a long time ago: literature (and for that matter, Art, with capital A) has many functions, among these, the chronicle-historian function of engraving the history of a group of people and study its movement. Pére Goriot serves as such a study, inasmuch as it chronicles the movement of people from the countryside to the city to become "something" and change the tide of their destinies. It is also the story of how a young man becomes a man, and as such, the novel hes one of the most clichéd endings (by the time it was written, it was not cliché, mind you!) ever: the burial of Pére Goriot and the body who drops the final tear as a boy in order to become a man.Kuddos to Honoré for creating such a groundbreaking classic even in its time. This work served as the foundation of Latin American Boom literature, as well as of Russian and Cuban macabre realism and what we now today as dirty realism (see Chuck Palahniuk, Brett Easton Ellis, Kathy Acker, Jonathan Franzen, et als.) However, this book is a formula to be studied but not to be emulated at all!

محمد حسين ضاحي

كان الممثل الفرنسى جيرار دوبارديو: هو الذى قام بطولة الفيلم الذى يحكى قصة حياة الروائى الفرنسى بلزاك:وكان هذا الفيلم أول معرفتى ببلزاك منذ عشر سنوات أو يزيد. وأحببت شخصيته أو إتقان الممثل لدوره، وإبداعه فيه.ثم قرأت هذه الرواية وقد قيل أنها قمة العمل الواقعى.والواقعية فى الأدب هى محاولة تصوير الحياة تصويراً واقعياً دون إغراق في المثاليات، أو جنوح صوب الخيال. وقد أصبحت الواقعية وفي فرنسا القرن التاسع عشر حركة أدبية، تعارض الحركة الرومانسية. وحاول بعض الروائيين من أمثال فلوبير في روايته «مدام بوفاري» تصوير ما هو وضيع وتافه، بقدر ما حاول تصوير ما هو نبيل ورفيع. وكان فلوبير يصر على إقصاء انفعالات الكاتب عن العمل الأدبي. ويعتبر أونوريه دي بلزاك- مع فلوبير، مؤسس الواقعية في الأدب الأوروبي. وإنتاجه الغزير من الروايات والقصص يسمى في مجموعه الكوميديا الإنسانية، وكان بمثابة بانوراما للمجتمع الفرنسي في فترة عودة الملكية (1815-1830) وملكية يوليو (1830-1848). ورسم أونوريه دو بلزاك صورة واسعة للمجتمع فى وقته مثل المقاطعات والشباب الطموح.أعجبتنى القصة، رغم أنى وجدت فيها نوعا من التشاؤم أو النظرة السوداوية للحياة، وهو ما ألمح إليه المؤلف فى تفسير وجهة نظر بعض الشخصيات ووصفهم بأنهم من أتباع الفلسفة الكلبية أو الشكوكية. ومع ذلك إنى أعتبر أنها بها مسحة رومانسية ربما تتمثل فى مشاعر الأب نحو الابنتين والتضحية التى يقدمها مقابل العقوق الذى لا مبرر له حتى لو كان أساء تربيتهما بتدليلهما زيادة عن اللزوم، وهى تميل للتشاؤم فى رأيى لأنها لم تنتهى بعقاب البنتين على سوئهما بما يكفى، ولأن البطل لم يصل لنهاية إذ ترك الأمر مفتوحا للقارئ أن يخمن.

Tyler

A distinctive element of this novel stems from its compactness. Most of the action takes place at a boarding house or a couple of other locations in Paris. The setup highlights the interaction between people, and the author’s astute observations about human nature set the story off. Balzac’s prose is superb, and his command of detail gives readers a palpable feel for the lives of people so far removed in time (1819) from us.Goriot is a father who, among the fellow boarders, finds that rarest of gems – the perfect son-in-law. Problem is, his daughter’s already married -- to a perfect cad. Maybe the old man can do something to change that, and the action revolves around this effort. The protagonist is the young boarder, a dark-haired law student with foppish designs for whom Goriot’s daughter opens a new world.

Jim Coughenour

"It's a great shame that so many readers owe their first (and often last) contact with French literature to the opening pages of Le Père Goriot," writes Graham Robb in his resplendent biography of Balzac. Balzac begins his book with a pages-long description of the Pension Vaquer, an impoverished boarding house where key characters will come together. I'd have to disagree; Balzac's minute description of this seedy setting, which is also a description of its landlady, Madame Vaquer, is as over-the-top hilarious as anything in Dickens. The drawing room "gives off a smell for which our language has no special word; it can only be described as a boarding house smell. It smells stuffy, mouldy, rancid; it is chilly, clammy to breathe, permeates one's clothing; it leaves the stale taste of a room where people have been eating; it stinks of backstairs, scullery, workhouse. It could only be described if some process were invented for measuring the quantity of disgusting elementary particles contributed by each resident, young or old, from his own catarrhal and sui generis exhalations. Even so, despite these dull horrors, compared to the dining-room next door the drawing room seems as elegant and sweet smelling as a boudoir." — And we're off…A long time ago I tried to read Père Goriot in French, and failed. I picked it up recently with bland expectations and found myself chuckling all the way through. Here's where we first meet two of the key characters from his Human Comedy – the young Rastignac and the Mephistophelean arch-criminal Vautrin – but the entire ensemble is pure pleasure: grande dames deserted by their feckless lovers, mean old biddies and faithless daughters and conniving capitalists, all commingling in ambition. No one is virtuous, but some are more clever than others.As Stephen Vizinczey observed 30 years ago,* "the greatest 19th-century English and American novelists are Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Stendhal and Balzac in English." I'm a fan of this translation by A.J. Krailsheimer; it's never fusty and frequently funny. And if you've never read Balzac, this is a great place to begin.______________________* Speaking of forgotten classics, I just rated Vizinczey's collection Truth and Lies in Literature, which any lover of literature will love.

Alex

"Lord, this world of yours is so badly made!"- GoriotSupremely melodramatic, fierce, sweeping, lurid, and a little gay, Goriot is a kickass novel. The most famous of Balzac's encyclopedic Comédie humaine, a series of linked stories and 91 novels that I'm not sure has ever been paralleled, this installment crams into 300 pages about six different stories and a view of Parisian life in the early 1800s that swoops from bird's eye to microscopic detail, excluding nothing. "Paris is an ocean," says Balzac: "Heave in the lead as often as you like, you'll never sound the depths." And then he proceeds to do exactly that.The incomparable Vautrin muscles his way through all that to take over; he's easily the best part, and one of the great characters in all of literature. Savage, cynical, brilliant, his speeches are electrifying: "Only two courses of action are possible: slavish obedience or revolt...You must either plough through this mass of men like a cannonball or creep among them." He nurses toward Rastignac, the ostensible protagonist for whom you are unlikely to feel much affection, some kind of (probably unrequited) love. And I bring this up because I think it's fascinating that Balzac did this: make a central character gay - not totally explicitly, but not really arguably either - and then not particularly dwell on it. It's just a thing about Vautrin. That's sortof great, right? I'm not clear on whether Balzac himself may have been bi. He spent a lot of money on tailors, so.Vautrin gets the best speech of the book, but Madame Beauséant is given a terrific one first: "Accept that men and women are post-horses that you ride into he ground then leave at each stage, and you'll reach the pinnacle of your desire...Go now, and leave me. We women have our own battles to fight." The whole thing is just, like, a pathos bomb.The translation by Olivia McCannon was just okay for me; I felt like there were passages she translated too literally, so that they flowed awkwardly. Here's an example: "The comtesse looked at Eugene, who stood there, stunned at the violence of the scene: 'Monsieur,' she said, with a challenging gesture, tone of voice, and expression, paying no attention to her father, whose waistcoat Delphine had quickly unbuttoned." See? It's not disastrous, it's just sortof...ugh, wtf, I'm gonna have to read that twice to figure out what she's even saying. Burton Raffel also did a translation, and people seem high on him; I wish I'd gone that route instead.Update / Retraction: But a French-speaking buddy gives me the original French for the above passage: "La comtesse regarda Eugène, qui restait immobile, abasourdi par la violence de cette scène. — Monsieur, lui dit-elle en l'interrogeant du geste, de la voix et du regard, sans faire attention à son père dont le gilet fut rapidement défait par Delphine." See how that triplet - "gesture, tone of voice, and expression" - is actually straight from Balzac? It's not actually McCannon being awkward here; she's faithfully reproducing Balzac's awkwardness. (And, I'm told, Balzac was really into triplets; that was just a thing he had.) I take it back; this is a good job.

Stewart

This is a grand novel from the old school, pre-Hemingway: long passages of description, speeches that go on for a page, the seeking of fortunes by marrying rich men or women, dowries, and deathbed scenes. But I enjoyed this 1834 novel by Honore de Balzac, the first book I had read of this French author. The novel painstakingly depicts life in Paris after the fall of Napoleon and the Bourbon restoration, the class divisions, the poverty of most of the residents, and the status-seeking of the rich. There are no total heroes or villains in this novel; everyone gets morally soiled.

Laurie

After starting several contemporary novels that couldn't hold my interest -- particularly Lorrie Moore's new one -- I picked up my first Balzac and was delighted to find I couldn't put it down! This was like reading Dickens or Wharton, but without all the extra descriptions of the streets and houses and such. What we have, instead, is a beautifully plotted drama that charts the paths of several men and women navigating the treacherous heart of 1819 Parisean society. Even as we identify with our protagonist, the poor social climber Eugene Rastignac, we are horrified by him: he sees the emptiness of society, and the toll it exacts on Pere Goriot and others. But he joins it anyway.

Riku Sayuj

The Importance of Being CynicalRastignac’s education is the theme of the novel — provided at the expense of Père Goriot, who built up a fortune from nothing, married his daughters into wealth and was duly ignored and left to die a lonely death. This clear tragedy tells Rastignac, and perhaps France itself, what it takes to succeed in a Capitalist World: ruthlessness and a complete apathy to moral sentiments. As Vautrin explains to Rastignac, it is illusory to think that social success can be achieved through study, talent, and effort — you can never get anywhere worthwhile by slaving your life away earning an honest living out of your education and skills. All you need is cynicism. Père Goriot was a great teacher. Nothing else could have convinced Rastignac. P.S. This short review is inspired by Thomas Piketty’s analysis of the novel in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, to help explain the structure of wealth in Europe in the era under study: “… the structure of the income and wealth hierarchies in nineteenth-century France was such that the standard of living the wealthiest French people could attain greatly exceeded that to which one could aspire on the basis of income from labor alone. Under such conditions, why work? And why behave morally at all? Since social inequality was in itself immoral and unjustified, why not be thoroughly immoral and appropriate capital by whatever means are available?” This clarified the unease the reviewer had felt towards Balzac’s message. Was it that Rastignac should be pitied? Or was he a hope that even a complete cynic once had hope and could have taken a different turn? Or was it that if only the Goriots could be treated better the Rastignacs might find more motivation to stick it out in honorable professions? Or was it that all pretensions to live a up-and-comer middle-class life is buying into the capitalist illusion? Piketty’s small piece on the novel helped this reviewer finally place the novel.

Liza

** spoiler alert ** Money, money, money! Makes the world go round? I don't know, that's what they say. It sure does in Old Goriot, which I found convincing. Also so compelling that I missed my stop while reading it on the T, and accidentally rode the train to the end of the line. The main lesson I learned was that no matter how much you love someone, you shouldn't give them all your money or all your love, and especially not both, or you'll be left with nothing. Then again, maybe nothing is the best thing to have, so I guess the lesson is ambiguous. I liked how there is so much STUFF in Old Goriot. Why don't people write like that now? Wait, I heard there was a reason.

Eva

Pere Goriot is a book that one feels compelled to admire, but I can't say that it gave me very much pleasure as I read it, and enjoyment is important. This classic novel gives a vivid view of Parisian society and life in 1819. The details, textures, of life are interesting -- and of course the values. As in many 19th century novels, the story is about money and what people will do for it. Almost anything --betrayal, selfishness. I think the book has been seen as a rewriting of King Lear -- but who is Cordelia? The eponymous Pere Goriot has two hideous daughters, and that leaves only Rastignac (Eugene) as the faithful one. The structure of the book isn't perfect; the subplot of Victorine, the girl in the boarding house who inherits money) isn't as well-realized as it could be. It doesn't play out fully, doesn't unfold. Finally, it's a book that I respect more than savor.

Lynne King

A beautiful classic that everyone loves but not for me.I loved the "Peau de chagrin" - by Balzac - my best essay at university. A true shame in this respect and I must confess it bothers me. All I can say is that tastes change with time...

Fede

Sto per distruggere un mito della letteratura,ma chissene .Bene,immaginate uno che da pagina 5 a pagina 8 descrive l'edera rampicante su un muro.Quanto impiegate a leggere 4 pagine,circa 10 minuti?Immaginate ora un tizio che osserva per 10 minuti un muro e poi chiedetegli cosa ha visto.Se vi rispnde : "Ho visto la quinta foglia di edera da sinistra in alto.Essa ha una venatura di verde molto particolare,che dal verde petrolio passa al verde smeraldo in punta.Purtroppo un piccolo e rugoso bruco verde ne ha mangiato circa 4 millimetri rovinando così la sua perfetta simmetria e blablablablablablabla..." ECCO ! Quello lì,signori,é Onorato di Balzac.Evitatelo come la peste.

Luana

I colori della tavolozza stanno ad un pittore, così come le parole stanno a Balzac il quale, con un tocco di pennello, ha disegnato l'umanità del diciannovesimo secolo parigino, ma in realtà anche quella del ventunesimo secolo italiano, e del diciottesimo inglese. Come un sommozzatore scandaglia il fondo marino, così Balzac è stato in grande di scandagliare l'animo umano arrivando nel fondo più profondo e descrivendo maschere sociali che, nella vita di tutti i giorni, smettono di mimare se stesse per diventare le persone che ci circondano, o che siamo.'Papà Goriot' è un palco sul quale si succedono, inseguono e sfuggono una serie di personaggi talmente ben descritti e approfonditi che sembra di conoscerli da sempre e di vederli mentre partecipano a balli, risiedono in una squallida pensione borghese, si travestono da buoni cittadini essendo invece pericolosi criminali. E' forte e viscerale l'empatia che si percepisce nel venire a conoscenza delle vicende di questi nostri personaggi verso i quali è inevitabile provare pena, rabbia, disapprovazione, voglia di entrare nel romanzo e prenderli a schiaffi. Da una parte la Parigi dei balli, dei titoli, delle rendite, dei matrimoni combinati, dall'altra quella dei pensionanti di casa Vauquer dove persino la carta da parati ricorda la grettezza della vita dei poveri. I due volti di Parigi sono, nel romanzo di Balzac, intimamente legati dal segreto di un padre e le sue due figlie, in maniera inspiegabile rispettivamente pastaio, contessa e baronessa. Il sangue versato da uno, il suo sudore, i suoi sacrifici si trasformano, per una logica perversa e tuttavia giustificata da un amore paterno cieco, in diamanti, carrozze, mussoline, vestiti di stoffe pregiate delle altre. Uno residente nella suddetta pensione, le altre in dimore decorate con sfarzo e lusso. A rendere noto questo legame e a fungere da ponte tra questo padre dilaniato e queste figlie meschine è Eugene de Rastignac, studente di legge che proviene da un paese di campagna dove, al contrario di quanto succede a Parigi, regnano ancora i valori puri della famiglia, dell'amore sincero, del sacrificio come forma d'amore, e non di sfruttamento. Rastignac, avvolto dall'atmosfera parigina, vuole infilare gli artigli nella società aristocratica, inserirsi puntando le sue radici nel più alto borgo parigino. E', insomma, un arrampicatore sociale.Personaggi, quindi, senza alcuna morale, disposti ad ottenere ciò che vogliono a qualunque costo, impoverire un padre, privare la propria famiglia del cibo pur di avere dei guanti nuovi, personaggi le cui colpe vengono aggravate dall'ipocrisia, dal nascondere a se stessi e agli altri le proprie azioni miserevoli con giustificazioni che mettono a tacere anche l'ombra dei rimorsi. Ad elevarsi rispetto a questa massa deforme, è Vautrin, uomo sfinge dal passato misterioso, che non ha paura né di commettere azioni scellerate, né di confessarle, né di rendere nota la meschina morale che lo porta ad essere attore di tali malvagi sceneggiati. Ed è anche Madame de Beauseant, viscontessa ancora capace di amare di quell'amore privo di interessi, la cui esistenza è fine solo a se stessa.Parigi ieri, come il mondo oggi e sempre. Balzac punta il dito contro tutti i personaggi, li smaschera e li accusa, accusa il lettore con le sue intuizioni vere e forti che rendono chiaro come la morale umana, il contratto sociale siano solo il frutto di interessi individuali, mai di interessi rivolti al benessere generale. Forse abbiamo dismesso le vesti aristocratiche per indossare i jeans, comunichiamo per sms e tramite mail, e non con biglietti mandati dal servetto di turno, ma anche noi siamo parte di quella 'Commedia umana' che Balzac aveva intenzione di descrivere in un imponente ciclo di romanzi che mette a nudo i difetti del nostro animo. Della nostra invidia, della nostra sete di vendetta e di rivalsa. Balzac ha giudicato gli uomini del suo tempo, ma giudica anche coloro che leggono nel 2011. Incisivo e forte spiraglio per la riflessione, 'Papà Goriot' ha ancora tanto da dire, quindi, ascoltatelo.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *