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La cugina Bette (1846)

di Honoré de Balzac

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1,920316,419 (3.91)97
La dolce Adeline Hulot è moglie del barone Hector Hulot, un incorreggibile libertino. Adeline aveva fatto venire in gioventù a Parigi la cugina Lisbeth, una donna che negli anni aveva accumulato rancore nei confronti della più agiata cugina. Bette da tempo nutriva per il conte Steinbock un cupo affetto e quando questo sposa la figlia di Adeline, riesce a gettare sia lui che il conte Hulot tra le braccia della signora Marneffe, donna avida e senza scrupoli, che distrugge pace e patrimonio delle due famiglie. Uscita di scena la signore Marneffe con una morte infamante, la stessa Bette soccomberà alla tisi, mentre la famiglia Hulot riuscirà a superare la crisi finanziaria. Adeline, vera martire, morirà e il marito sposerà la volgare e rozza cuoca Agathe.… (altro)
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This French classic is an exploration of moral decay filled with greed, lust, and selfish choices. There was no one to root for as the even the virtuous Adeline was insufferable. Her husband Baron Hulot flits from one affair to the next and she just pretends that nothing is wrong. She's held up as a paragon of saintly womanhood, a standard that even her daughter can't emulate when faced with the same dilemma. I wish Bette had been less petty and more devious. Her plot was interesting until she was shuffled off to the sidelines as we watched the "redemption" of the awful Baron. ( )
  bookworm12 | Dec 1, 2020 |
Es mi primer Balzac y quiza por eso le voy a dar mas puntuacion.

La historia aunque realmente no pasa demasiado, fluye continuamente. Balzac es un maestro de dibujar personajes, un libro muy entretenido.

He visto que varios otros comentarios dicen que no les gusta el libro porque los personajes son muy machistas. Si que lo son, y racistas pero supongo que en la epoca era lo normal.

( )
  trusmis | Nov 28, 2020 |
Cousin Bette by French author Honoré de Balzac is set in mid-19th century Paris, telling the story of an unmarried middle-aged woman who plots the destruction of her extended family. Bette works with Valérie Marneffe, an unhappily married young lady, to seduce and torment a series of men. One of these is Baron Hector Hulot, husband to Bette's cousin Adeline. He sacrifices his family's fortune and good name to please Valérie, who leaves him for a tradesman named Crevel. Bette has harbored a resentment against her cousin Adeline Hulot since childhood. Bette's father and Adeline's father were two of the Fischer brothers. Their uncle, Johann Fischer, brought the girls up and still contributes to their financial well-being as adults. Adeline and her cousin Bette are exact opposites. Adeline is fair-haired and of light complexion while Bette is dark and rather ugly. Bette sees Adeline as the enemy because of her beauty and good fortune in life. Adeline is married to Baron Hulot, a successful government employee and one-time benefactor to the Fischer brothers. After Bette moves to Paris at Adeline's insistence, she hatches a plot to destroy the beautiful Adeline, her husband and their children.

Cousin Bette and many of the primary protagonists in the novel are afflicted with the vices of greed, envy, and lust. Bette's greed seeks to overthrow Adeline Hulot. Madame Marneffe's greed and lust are only satisfied by acquiring wealth and material possessions. Baron Hulot's lust carries him from one affair to the next and his greed deepens his financial trouble each time. Crevel's greed motivates him to "steal" a mistress from Hector Hulot only to have it cost him his life. The morals and standards of nineteenth century French society come under the author's scrutiny in Cousin Bette. The novel is also a critique of the concept of a French ruling class after the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. Balzac's novel is also a morality play in that the characters are imaginative figures as well as character types. And while the story in and of itself is tidily resolved, the narrative nonetheless exposes an underside of human behavior that is puzzling at best and deadly at worst.

The book is part of the Scènes de la vie Parisienne section of Balzac's novel sequence La Comédie humaine ("The Human Comedy"). Writing quickly and with intense focus, Balzac produced La Cousine Bette, one of his longest novels, in two months. It was published at the end of 1846, then collected with a companion work, Le Cousin Pons, the following year. The novel's characters represent polarities of contrasting morality. The vengeful Bette and disingenuous Valérie stand on one side, with the merciful Adeline and her patient daughter Hortense on the other. The patriarch of the Hulot family, meanwhile, is consumed by his own sexual desire. Hortense's husband, the Polish exile Wenceslas Steinbock, represents artistic genius, though he succumbs to uncertainty and lack of motivation.

La Cousine Bette is considered Balzac's last great work. His trademark use of realist detail combines with a panorama of characters returning from earlier novels. While I do not admire it as much as some critics, it has been compared to works by Shakespeare and Tolstoy. It is considered both a turning point in the author's career and a prototypical naturalist text. The novel explores themes of vice and virtue, as well as the influence of money on French society. Bette's relationship with Valérie is also seen as an important exploration of homoerotic themes. I would compare it with Dickens although it lacks his humor and overall seems more bitter. The best of Dickens, by contrast, usually focuses more on a positive character. ( )
2 vota jwhenderson | Sep 27, 2020 |
My first Balzac.

I had the impression, somewhere, that I would have to sit through some dreary pompous horrorshow, perhaps pulpy purple prose with a plethora of prodigious penuries.

But to be sure, I did get a horrorshow, but not the kind I expected. Indeed, I had a great time once I fell into a certain kind of groove. You know what I mean. The kind that you get into when reading a good Stephen King novel, revving up with a huge cast of dispicable human beings whom you have a great time rooting for their ultimate demises. Hopefully with some supernatural beastie tormenting them to their dooms. Or devils dragging them to suddenly opening graves. Something like that.

To think that this was considered one of the great REALIST novels! By a realist novelist! In all honesty, it reads like the plot of some 1980's daytime soap opera but placed in post-Napoleonic France.

Enter the mass-philandering Baron and his wife who doesn't care! Enter the disgruntled spinster who, just after finding a taste of love, has her younger cousin come in like a bitch to scoop him up, sending the spinster into a whirlwind of Italian rage and vengeance that will last the rest of their lives.

Is this total preoccupation with Sex and Death funny? Yep. As I said, I'm a fan of Stephen King. I rooted for EVERYONE'S ultimate tragedy. :)

If this is realism, then what does that say about me? Hmmmm... oh my. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I've always wondered about the part in The Music Man, when an imposing woman wanders through spouting "Balzac!" at various points when they're worrying about the degeneration that is likely to happen to young people who don't have proper diversions, like a community band as opposed to things bound to lead to trouble (which starts with 't', that rhymes with 'p' and stands for pool...or something like that—also Balzac starts with 'b' which rhymes with 'p' that....). Anyway, I had the vague feeling that reading Balzac must cause some kind of moral decay. So, a couple of years ago, I hunted up a Balzac book, Father Goriot, and it didn't seem all that racy to me. It was ok, if not first class.

Now that I'm reading Cousine Bette, I'm getting a better idea. People are ruining themselves financially so that they can have mistresses. I'm not much into mistresses myself. I guess I was brought up too much of a Puritan, or Calvinist or something, to understand the appeal.

So, I had problems with this book. It's basically a story of moral decay. Cousine Bette (my spouse, a French teacher, would kill me if I used the barbarous Americanization of her name that was used in the translation I read), is a poor relation. Her "better" relations choose to steal from her when it suits them and ignore her otherwise. She becomes eccentric. Eventually, she takes up with a starving artist type, being his mentor and benefactress (but not his lover). But when her more well-off relations steal the young man for Cousine Bette's niece, she vows retaliation. She begins a covert campaign to ruin the family by having the men all lose their fortunes, and then some, to a young "courtesan", i.e. a high-class 'ho', or mistress, if you will.

I dunno, the book was interestingly enough written, and I suppose one could view it as humorous. For some reason my older sister thought it was hilarious. I would have expected her to have been brought up as much of a Calvinist Puritan as I was.

One other problem I had with the book, which isn't really Balzac's fault, is that there were lots of cultural references—some to Greek and Roman classics, some to historical French culture—that I didn't really understand. So, I'm sure that had I been better educated, I'd have gotten more out of this book. As it is, I think I'm likely done with Balzac. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
De wereld van deze roman is bevolkt met slechte karakters die elkaar poeslief en elegant ten val willen brengen. Hun gedragingen zijn bedriegelijk en leugenachtig, ze zijn altijd op eigen voordeel uit, alles wat ze zeggen maakt deel uit van hun machtsspel. De woorden van nicht Bette geven precies weer hoe de mensen met elkaar omgaan: ,,Je moet de mensen in de maatschappij zien als gereedschap dat je opneemt, gebruikt en weer weglegt al naar het je van dienst kan zijn.'

Balzac heeft niet alleen zijn personages breeduit getekend, ook in de talloze voortreffelijke dialogen, hij heeft daarnaast veel aandacht besteed aan de decors, waarin zij hun menselijke komedie opvoeren. Straten en wijken van Parijs beschrijft hij, interieurs van verschillende stand, veel couleur locale waar de feuilletonlezers van destijds al evenzeer van gesmuld zullen hebben als wij nu doen, die er de historische situatie beter door leren kennen.
aggiunto da PGCM | modificaTrouw, Tom van Deel (Dec 10, 1999)
 
a Cousine Bette is een adembenemend melodrama, waarin een keurige familie te gronde wordt gericht door de ongeneeslijke wellust van de heer des huizes en de heimelijke wraakzucht van een ongetrouwde en verbitterde nicht. Het aardige is dat nicht Bette, bijgenaamd `de Geit', door de familieleden juist als een loyale vertrouwelinge en beschermengel wordt gezien, met als gevolg dat zij tegen het eind snikkend rond haar sterfbed staan.

Van Bette schrijft Balzac dat zij `heerste, net als de jezuïeten, in het verborgene'. Pas de niets verhullende blik van de schrijver legt de waarheid bloot. `Hortenses ogen vulden zich met tranen, en van die aanblik genoot Bette met volle teugen, zoals een kat slobbert van de melk'. Voordien is Bette dan al afgeschilderd als een primitieve `natuurmens', gedreven door slechts één passie: afgunst jegens haar even mooie als deugdzame nicht Adeline, die getrouwd is met de wellustige baron Hulot. Ooit een hoge ambtenaar van Napoleon, ruïneert deze Hulot zichzelf en zijn familie door fortuinen uit te geven aan zijn maîtresses, die hem op hun beurt gewetenloos bedriegen. Het kost nicht Bette niet veel moeite om hem stiekem tot instrument van haar wraak te maken, nadat hij verliefd is geworden op haar doortrapte, maar beeldschone buurvrouw. De plot van de roman, vol list, bedrog en zelfs een dubbele gifmoord, herinnert aan die van een boulevardstuk, zoals wel vaker bij Balzac, maar dat vergeet en vergeef je moeiteloos dankzij de energie en de vaart, waarmee het verhaal op zijn fatale ontknoping afstevent.

Keukenmeid

In het voorwoord bij de Comédie humaine betoogt Balzac dat de schrijver niet alleen de `secretaris' van de geschiedenis, maar ook de `leermeester van de mens' moet zijn. Katholicisme en monarchie worden door hem aangeprezen als de twee onmisbare pijlers van de samenleving. Hij verdedigt zich daarom tegen het verwijt van `immoraliteit', dat elke `dappere' schrijver naar het hoofd krijgt geslingerd, en hij wijst erop dat bij hem de misdaad nooit ongestraft blijft. Inderdaad, in La Cousine Bette krijgen de schurken tenslotte niet de kans de vruchten te plukken van hun boosaardige intriges.
aggiunto da PGCM | modificaNRC, Arnold Heumakers (Jul 2, 1999)
 

» Aggiungi altri autori (37 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Balzac, Honoré deAutoreautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Crawford, Marion AytonTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Lorant, AndréA cura diautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Lysy, KatiaTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Prose, FrancineIntroduzioneautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Raine, KathleenTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Saintsbury, GeorgeA cura diautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Tuulos, MarkettaTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Waring, JamesTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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Towards the middle of July in the year 1838, one of those vehicles called "milords," then appearing in the Paris squares for the first time, was driving along the rue de l'Universite, bearing a stout man of medium height in the uniform of a captain in the National Guard.
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La dolce Adeline Hulot è moglie del barone Hector Hulot, un incorreggibile libertino. Adeline aveva fatto venire in gioventù a Parigi la cugina Lisbeth, una donna che negli anni aveva accumulato rancore nei confronti della più agiata cugina. Bette da tempo nutriva per il conte Steinbock un cupo affetto e quando questo sposa la figlia di Adeline, riesce a gettare sia lui che il conte Hulot tra le braccia della signora Marneffe, donna avida e senza scrupoli, che distrugge pace e patrimonio delle due famiglie. Uscita di scena la signore Marneffe con una morte infamante, la stessa Bette soccomberà alla tisi, mentre la famiglia Hulot riuscirà a superare la crisi finanziaria. Adeline, vera martire, morirà e il marito sposerà la volgare e rozza cuoca Agathe.

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