At the Sign of the Cat and Racket or La Maison du Chat-Qui-Pelote by Honoré de Balzac

La maison du chat-qui-peloteLa Maison du Chat-Qui-Pelote: “Half-way down the Rue Saint-Denis, almost at the corner of the Rue du Petit-Lion, there stood formerly one of those delightful houses which enable historians to reconstruct old Paris by analogy.”

I quite love French literature and wish I had time to read more of it.  I’ve begun reading La Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola which consists of 20 novels of which I’ve read four. Honoré Balzac has surpassed Zola’s series in great magnitude with his La Comédie Humaine (originally called Etudes des Mœurs or The Study of Manners) which is comprised of 91 finished works and 46 unfinished works.  The sheer volume of reading is daunting but if one never begins, one never conquers, right?  So I’ve started with one book in a sub-series called Scènes de la vie privée or Scenes from a Private Life, La Maison du Chat-Qui-Pelote. Originally titled, Glory and Misfortune, elements of it echo in Balzac’s private life: his fabric merchant uncles, the impassive and unresponsive behaviour of his family, etc.  It’s a wonderful start to his magnum opus as he begins his examination of the motivations, mistakes, pleasures, modes and experiences of human life!

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