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Father Goriot (1835) is a novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. An early work in his La Comédie humaine sequence, Father Goriot has since become one of Balzac's most critically and commercially successful novels. It contains several characters who appear throughout his other books and is considered to be the first novel in which he perfected his hallmark realist style.
The novel, set in Paris, follows Eugène de Rastignac, a young law student who lives at a boarding house owned by a widow named Madame Vauquer. Her other residents include Jean-Joachim Goriot, a retired businessman whose fortune has been spent on his two adult daughters, and Vautrin, a hardened and mysterious criminal. As Rastignac navigates urban life, he develops a fascination with high society that soon turns into an unhealthy obsession with joining the ranks of the wealthy. Although he falls in love with Goriot's daughter Delphine, a married woman, Rastignac is pressured by Vautrin to court the young unmarried Victorine. Proposing they attempt to steal her family's fortune--for which he offers to have her brother murdered--Vautrin does his best to corrupt the young and ambitious Rastignac, who will gradually be forced to choose between a life of luxury and a life of moral decency. In the background of their plotting, the story of Father Goriot unfolds, a tragic portrait of a man who gives everything to his family while wanting nothing more than their love and respect in return.
Father Goriot is a complex yet effective novel. Criticized for extensive pessimism upon publication, its reputation for brutal honesty and social realism have aided its reception in recent years, and it is now considered one of Balzac's most important works.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Honoré de Balzac's Father Goriot is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.
From the Back Cover
A young law student moves to Paris from southern France only to become enamored with life in the city, its abundance of wealth and lack of clear-cut morals. Rastignac lives in a boarding house owned by Madame Vauquer, a widow whose other tenants include the formerly wealthy Jean-Joachim Goriot and the hardened criminal known as Vautrin. Father Goriot is a story of desire and ambition set during the Bourbon Restoration, a time of widespread socioeconomic upheaval in nineteenth-century France.