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Colonel Chabert, a Napoleonic War hero supposedly killed in the Battle of Eylau, returns to Paris after a long convalescence to find his wife remarried, and his pension gone. He employs a young, well-known lawyer to at least reclaim his pension. It is a game of wits: first to convince the lawyer that he is who he says he is; secondly to get his wife to admit to his identity and thereby give up some of her wealth. Once the lawyer believes Chabert's story, the wife must be made to part with his pension...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780811213592
ISBN-10: 0811213595
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 132mm x 7mm)
Pages: 101
Imprint: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date: 26-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United States


US Kirkus Review » Originally published in 1832 as part of its author's "Scenes from Private Life," this energetic novella offers a virtually perfect introduction to Balzac's teeming Comedie Humaine: a vast fictional canvas on which professional men, peasants, whores, and members of the aristocracy, clergy, and military service memorably intermingle and influence one another's destinies. The blunt tale describes its eponymous hero's return home from the Napoleonic Wars (in which he is believed to have perished) and frustrated dealings with his remarried wife and a battalion of lawyers (the primary objects of several heavily satirical broadsides) who deny all his claims, provoking the haunting question "Are the dead wrong to come to life again?" Both Balzac's infuriating digressiveness and his matchless grasp of the individual submerged in, and overwhelmed by, society are vividly present in this strongly imagined and affecting story. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Honore de Balzac

Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) was born in Tours. By the time of his death, he had written over one hundred novels, novellas, and plays, all the while working as a journalist. Colonel Chabert is one of the "Scenes from Private Life," which is a part of Balzac's well-known life-long project, La Comedie Humaine. Carol Cosman has translated works by Albert Camus and Rene Daumal, among others.

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