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Old 09-02-2007, 08:05 PM   #1
Patricia
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Balzac, Honoré de: A Woman of Thirty, v1, 03 Sept 2007.

Honoré de Balzac
A Woman of Thirty
(La femme de trente ans)
Translated by Ellen Marriage

A short novel of about 70,000 words.

There is a good case for saying that this is the silliest novel in the entire Comédie Humaine. Balzac’s default mode was melodrama and this is spectacularly melodramatic.
We are meant to suppose that thirty is a particularly dangerous age for a woman. If she has a sensitive and empathic husband, then all may be well. However, if she has married a crass and insensitive man, then at thirty she may explode into memorable adultery. This is exactly what happens to Julie D’Aiglemont.
This adultery produces three children and some unexpected consequences:
1. The child of the lawful marriage feels slighted and drowns one of her younger brothers.
2. She still feels slighted, so runs away with a pirate. What’s more, she manages to find a pirate in Versailles.
3. Another brother dies of illness.
4. The surviving sister decides to have an affair with a half-brother.


The text is from a PG textfile and I have restored accents and italics, also reformatting and adding a TOC.
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