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La Maison du Chat-qui-Pelote (At the Sign of the Cat and Racket)
by Honoré de Balzac

First entitled Glory and Unhappiness, this short novel (La Maison du Chat-Qui-Pelote appeared in 1830 (written in 1829), and subsequently edited several times. Opening the series of Private Life (Scènes de la Vie Privée), it is also the first volume of Comédie Humaine and announces many of the Balzac's later themes.

The novel's main theme is one of mésalliance : A misfit in marriage. An artist (a painter), Théodore, falls in love with, or with the idea of what he takes for, Augustine, the daughter of a conservative cloth merchant. The marriage turns to be a most unhappy one, where the misfit in marriage reveals itself more as a misfit in minds and souls than a misfit of rank or social standing as it is generally conceived, and ends in a tragic way.

In the novel Balzac depicts scrupulously a Parisian neighborhood that he knows well, the Petit Lion street and neighborhood of Saint Denis street, where he lived in his youth work period.

The novel itself depicts a situation for the first time: there are simply milieus that don't mix up, both in real terms, but also figuratively. This idea may be seen as an important step towards the realization that the marriage can no longer be defined on the basis of roles that husbands and wives fulfill, if a moral has to be stated for this work of Balzac. A similar theme can be found in Le Bal de Sceaux of Balzac.

Title Details

Translator:Clara Bell
Number of words:42,599
Print Length:122 pages

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All Titles by Honoré de Balzac

Eugénie Grandet - I (Volume 1 of 2)

Le Père Goriot (Father Goriot) - Vol 1 (of 2)

Le Colonel Chabert (Colonel Chabert)

Le Père Goriot (Father Goriot) - Vol 2 (of 2)

La Peau de Chagrin (The Magic Skin/The Talisman)

Short Stories: Un Episode sous la Terreur (An Episode Under the Terror), Un Chef d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), Jésus-Christ en Flandre (Christ in Flanders)

Short Stories: Une Passion dans le Désert, Facino Cane, Pierre Grassou

Le Lys Dans La Vallée (The Lily of the Valley)

La Maison du Chat-qui-Pelote (At the Sign of the Cat and Racket)

Le Curé De Tours (The Vicars of Tours)

Le Père Goriot (Father Goriot) - Vol 1 (of 2)


Eugénie Grandet - Vol 2 (of 2)

Short Stories: La Bourse, Le Message, La Grenadière

La Duchesse De Langeais (The Duchesse of Langeais)

La Femme Abandonnée (The Deserted Woman)

La Vendetta (Vendetta)

La Fille aux Yeux d'Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes)

Ursule Mirouët

Le Bal de Sceaux (The Ball at Sceaux)

Une Femme de Trente Ans (A Woman of Thirty)

Madame de la Chanterie - L'Envers de l'Histoire Contemporaine - Première Partie (The Other Side of Contemporaneous History: Part I)

L'Interdiction (The Commission in Lunacy)

L'illustre Gaudissart (The Illustrious Gaudissart) , Esquisse d'Homme d'Affaires d'Après Nature (A Man of Business)

Les Comédiens Sans Le Savoir (The Unwitting Comedians)


La Fausse Maitresse (The Imaginary Mistress)

Short Stories: Z. Marcas, Gaudissart II

La Maison Nucingen (The Firm of Nucingen)

Autre Etude de Femme (Another Study of Woman)

Une Double Famille (A Second Home)

Une Fille D'Eve (A Daughter of Eve)

Melmoth Réconcilié (Melmoth Reconciled)

Albert Savarus

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