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Main page » Fiction literature » Eugenie Grandet - Honore de Balzac

Eugenie Grandet - Honore de Balzac


Eugénie Grandet (1833) is a novel by Honoré de Balzac about miserliness, and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter, Eugénie, through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac, all the characters in the novel are fully realized. Balzac conceived his grand project, The Human Comedy, while writing Eugénie Grandet and incorporated it into the Comedie by revising the names of some of the characters in the second edition.

Eugenie Grandet is set in the town of Saumur. Eugenie's father Felix is a former cooper who has become wealthy through both business ventures and inheritance. However he is very miserly, and he, his wife, daughter and their servant Nanon live in a run down old house which he is too miserly to repair. His banker des Grassins wishes Eugenie to marry his son Adolphe, and his lawyer Cruchot wishes Eugenie to marry his nephew President Cruchot des Bonfons. The two families constantly visit the Grandets to get Felix's favour, and Felix in turn plays them off against each other for his own advantage.

One day in 1819, Felix's nephew Charles Grandet arrives from Paris unexpectedly at their home having been sent there by his father Guillaume. Charles does not realise that his father has gone bankrupt and plans to takes his own life. Guillaume reveals this to his brother Felix in a confidential letter which Charles has carried.

Charles is a spoilt and indolent young man, who is having an affair with an older woman. His father's ruin and suicide are soon published in the newspaper, and his uncle Felix reveals his problems to him. Felix considers Charles to be a burden, and plans to send him off overseas to make his own fortune. However, Eugenie and Charles fall in love with each other, and hope to eventually marry. She gives him some of her own money to help with his trading ventures.

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Tags: Balzac, eacute, Grandet, novel, characters, Eugenie