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The Black Sheep

Ratings:
Length: 378 pages6 hours

Summary

Listed by the British newspaper "The Guardian" as number 12 on a list of the 100 greatest novels of all-time, Honore de Balzac's "The Black Sheep" is another installment in his magnum opus "The Human Comedy." Agathe Rouget, who is born in Issoudun, is sent to be raised by her maternal relatives, the Descoings in Paris by her father Doctor Rouget. Agathe has two sons, Philippe and Joseph, with which the story is principally concerned. Philippe becomes a soldier in Napoleon's armies, while Joseph becomes an artist. Philippe, who is ironically his mother's favorite, is a hard drinker with a gambling problem that brings trouble to the family. The differences between the two brothers are brilliantly contrasted by Balzac as their true natures are revealed throughout the course of the work. As in the rest of "The Human Comedy" Balzac criticizes the value that is placed on wealth and beautifully illustrates the conflict that arises out of the ambition to achieve a place in the aristocratic society of France.

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