‘His blue eyes, formerly so lively, seemed to have turned a sad leaden grey … People either pitied him or were shocked by him’
Monsieur Goriot is one of a select group of lodgers at Madame Vauquer’s Parisian boarding house. At first his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced he becomes shunned by those around him, and soon his only remaining visitors are two beautiful, mysterious young women. Goriot claims that they are his daughters, but his fellow boarders, including master criminal Vautrin, have other ideas. And when Eugene Rastignac, a poor but ambitious law student, learns the truth, he decides to turn it to his advantage. Old Goriot is one of the key novels of Balzac’s Comedie Humaine series, and a compelling examination of two obsessions, love and money. Witty and brilliantly detailed, it is a superb study of the bourgeoisie in the years following the French Revolution.
M. A. Crawford’s fine translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Balzac’s creation of distinctive characters from all levels of society, and his ability to transform the lives of ordinary people into profound tragedy.