By Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac - Cousin Pons
Poor relatives sequence, half 2
Mild, innocuous and unpleasant to behold, the impoverished Pons is an ageing musician whose short repute has fallen to not anything. residing a placid Parisian existence as a bachelor in a shared house along with his pal Schmucke, he continues in basic terms passions: a devotion to effective eating within the corporation of rich yet disdainful family, and a commitment to the gathering of antiques. while those kinfolk observe the real price of his paintings assortment, besides the fact that, their sneering contempt for the parasitic Pons swiftly falls away as they fight to acquire a section of the weakening man's inheritance.
Taking its position within the Human Comedy as a better half to Cousin Bette, the darkly funny Cousin Pons is between of the final and maximum of Balzac's novels bearing on French city society: a cynical, pessimistic yet by no means despairing attention of human nature.
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Additional resources for Cousin Pons (Poor Relations, Book 2)
It was above all through that work, in fact, that Rousseau had established himself posthumously before the French reading public as an island of virtue amidst a sea of vice. Hence, even at the height of his power, as shall shortly be seen, Rousseau’s most famous disciple continued to pose as the righteous public gadfly within an ever-degenerating social order. Indeed, Robespierre has remained “an immortal figure” within French political culture, in the words of Franqois Furet, not by virtue of his philosophical originality or even his brief hour of political ascendancy, but rather “because he was the mouthpiece” of the Revolution’s “purest and most tragic d i s c ~ u r s e .
There, however, the narrative rings familiar. ” By Chevalier‘s account, which is repeated by Hughes, the future prophetrenegade of French philosophy was once chastised by his classmates for having “no Michelet, by the same token, who seeks quite directly in the preface of Le Peuple (1846)to fashion a public persona, dwells on his Parisian birth only long enough to note his father’s Jacobin affiliations during the Revolution. He prefers instead to emphasize the humble social roots of his extended family.
Underscoring not the complex and enigmatic intellectual itineraries of those individuals who have imparted the heretical tradition in modern France so much as that tradition’s fixed cultural architecture, it is organized thematically rather than chronologically. Its chapters, accordingly, are arranged so as to reflect the narrative structures, tropes, and repeated motifs that have characterized the community as a whole. Thus, chapter 2 addresses the biographical saga of the consecrated heretic and its cultural “moral”; chapter 3 investigates the theme of personal freedom and dependency in the heretical narrative; chapter 4 examines the motif of social subjugation and the coinciding critique of “civilized society” in same; and chapter 5 explores the dynamics of liberation“The autobiographical writings of the consecrated heretics will be supplemented, as shall shortly be seen, by popular biographical and historical accounts culled from the French academic world and beyond.