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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. It is after the debacle in Russia, but the Old Guard still knows how to put on a show.

Get A Copy. Published by Hard Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Woman Of Thirty , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of A Woman Of Thirty. His large output of works, collectively entitled The Human Comedy, consists of 95 finished works stories, novels and essays and 48 unfinished works.

His stories are an attempt to comprehend and depict the realities of life in contemporary bourgeois France. They are placed in a variety of settings, with characters reappearing in multiple stories. View all 4 comments. At the same time as a sociologist, physiologist and moralist, Balzac extends some of the key stages of Aiglemont's marquee life which fails to reconcile his wife, mother and The elaborate story between Eugenia Grandet and Father Goriot, A Woman Of Thirty is a work of complex genesis.

At the same time as a sociologist, physiologist and moralist, Balzac extends some of the key stages of Aiglemont's marquee life which fails to reconcile his wife, mother and worldly roles with the aspirations of his heart. Balzac's logic is then implacable: the desire for an absolute and perfect passion to combine a deceptive marriage irresistibly leads to adultery, which a worldly life prevents, in one way or another, to take effect.

The woman as conceived by Balzac is necessarily the victim of her own desires, which is adultery; and yet he obliges himself to respect, by virtue of his hierarchy, the laws of society which give rise to feelings in him in complete contradiction with the duties which they impose.

In addition to his psychological portraits, Balzac proposes to us a true exaltation of the feminine condition of the beginning of the 19th century, to consider a destiny of the woman of his time, which is not to be without reflection, for its themes, its descriptions and its dramatic intensity, to the future Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Dec 07, Mayra Dionne rated it it was amazing. This book is not about the story itself, it's about the psychological thoughts that bring humans to life, with their ambiguously thinking, paradoxical views and their nuances.

It's simple a chef d'oeuvre like mostly everything he wrote. View 1 comment. Shelves: c19th , novella , france , kindle. Hmm, Part I is not a good start. It's melodramatic and the characterisation is not at all convincing. Julie, Marquise d'Aiglemont, is warned by her father not to marry the dashing officer that she admires when they go to farewell Napoleon's troops but she does and, well, gosh, daddy was right and so is his auntie, the guy is a dolt and a cad.

The discovery that he is Not a Nice Man makes Julie take to her bed with the vapours, but somehow she manages to get pregnant and have a child, Helene. But Hmm, Part I is not a good start. But Julie recovers and - none too worried about the sanctity of marriage either - she takes a lover, Lord Grenville, though they never actually, er, consummate their love because She is Too Good and He is Too Noble.

But goodness me, there's a quick-hide-in-the-cupboard scene when hubby comes back unexpectedly. You can't expect him to believe they're just sighing A Lot and Loving in Purity, can you? So poor Lord G ends up having to wait out the night on the windowsill to Save her Honour, and while I'm sure this would never happen to a Frenchman he catches cold and dies. On to part Julie decamps to a gothic pile in a desolate spot and tries hard to die. The villagers are captivated at first because no one has been living in the mansion for ages but soon they lose interest.

The local cure, who has suffered the loss of his entire family through illness and war, tries to rouse her out of it by appealing to her motherly instincts but no, Jules hasn't got any. Helene the daughter is her husband's child, not her lover's, and she can't bear having the kid around. Part 3 Charles Vandenesse surveys Paris before departing for Naples where women are as vibrant as tigers!! They get on, and things begin to look interesting.

This is because note the story title here Julie is now 30, and women of 30 have more options than young women. Womanhood, Balzac reminds us, is incompatible with social liberty - emancipation means corruption. So that first visit when she allows a man not her husband to call on her is a decisive moment. Well, no, not for quite a while anyway. Jules is still Harking Back to the Past.

Charles vacillates between thinking she loves him and thinking she only wants friendship but she's wedded to her memories of He Who is Dead. And Charles is about to shoot through for Naples anyway and Julie would be a fool to fall for someone about to abandon her anyhow, right?

But as we knew she would she does, tremulously of course, and who knows what might have happened there and then if her dolt of a husband had not come in, indifferent to what is going on under his very nose. Part 4 - The Finger of God Fate steps in again. In this part the narrator seems to be a participant observer, who witnesses jealous Helene shove into the river her little brother Charles who, o ho! This event then segues none too neatly into a scene some years later where Julie and Vandenesse are dining together desperately wishing that the notary Crottat would leave so that they can Indulge Their Passion when the children Helene and Gustave and their father d'Aiglemont come back prematurely from a play which bears a spooky resemblance to the river scene.

Part 5, and there is a scene of idyllic domestic contentment consisting of d'Aiglemont now a General, and Julie Marquise and now at the age of 36 mother to more children, Abel and Moina. Helene is now a beauty and Gustave is absorbed in his book. Can this contentment be true? Is Julie fond of her husband now? She's certainly still not fond of Helene if the cold looks between them are anything to go by Suddenly there is commotion, a stranger at the door.

D'Aiglemont, against his better judgement gives the fellow sanctuary for he has been fighting a duel and the gendarmerie are after him for the murder of Baron de Mauny. While d'Aiglemont is disracted by the arrival of a the police and b the servants coming back from their night off, Julie sends Helene off upstairs to see who the stranger is From here on the plot gets sillier and sillier. Helene takes it into her head to run away with the murderer, and her parents let her go.

The implication is that for Helene anything is better than her mother's coldness. From that moment on everything goes wrong: the Marquis loses his money, he borrows Julie's to retrieve it and loses that too. He leaves France and six years go by. That makes Julie Having made his fortune he sets off for home again but on his return journey to France the Spanish ship he's travelling on is beset by piarates, and who should the Pirate-in-Charge be but The Murderer, accompanied by his happy wife Helene and their four children?!

I'm not making this up!! Another awkward leap forward in time and the Marquis is dead and Moina and Julie are on holiday, complaining about the vulgar people in the room.

Yes, you guessed it and so did I, it's Helene with a dying child, hoping to get back to make her peace with her father. But it is Too Late, alas, and she dies in tears and recriminations. Part 6 and Julie is old. Well, 50ish. Moina has married well; the other children are all dead, Gustave of cholera, and Abel in Algeria. Gustave had left a widow and children, but Julie, true to form, isn't very interested in them and has settled her fortune on Moina.

The pundits of Paris are dubious about this, as well they might be, because while Moina might always care for her mother, there's nothing to say that her husband will. Ominously, Moina is flirting with Alfred Vandenesse, and Julie can't do anything about his continued presence because of her secret relationship with his father.

She tries to warn Moina, who repulses her, and so Julie goes out into the garden and dies. And that served Moina right, eh? And to think that I had thought that The Mysteries of Udolpho was daft! It took me longer then I wanted to read Balzac's A Woman of Thirty because of my lower back pain which reading and pain was not a match at all. I just wanted to feel better and rest, I never could imagine that I would not want to read, so there you have it.


A Woman Of Thirty

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