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Sarrasine

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Ce livre est une oeuvre du domaine public éditée au format numérique par Norph-Nop. L’achat de l’édition Kindle inclut le téléchargement via un réseau sans fil sur votre liseuse et vos applications de lecture Kindle

30 review for Sarrasine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Χαρά Ζ.

    _Sarassine_ **It's a 4,5** I really don't like myself when i get lazy, and i have been lazy for the past several days and instead of writing a review i would just sit on my pc and do nothing. I was away and i was browsing through a bookstore and i saw that tiny little book. Sarassin is a small novel by Honoré de Balzac published in 1830. And it's a story within a story and the author has a way with words and and it was interesting and it was great. The writing is beautiful an _Sarassine_ **It's a 4,5** I really don't like myself when i get lazy, and i have been lazy for the past several days and instead of writing a review i would just sit on my pc and do nothing. I was away and i was browsing through a bookstore and i saw that tiny little book. Sarassin is a small novel by Honoré de Balzac published in 1830. And it's a story within a story and the author has a way with words and and it was interesting and it was great. The writing is beautiful and alive and i felt the need to read more. I will read more of Balzac in the future. Το επίμετρο στο τέλος ήταν πάλι εξαιρετικό και η μετάφραση το ίδιο από τον κύριο Κώστα Κατσουλάρη και τα δύο. Praise the translators <3

  2. 5 out of 5

    Το Άθχημο Γατί Καρολίνα

    The difference between romantic and realistic love is that the Monstrous in the first case is something spooky, something out of the depths of human imagination or something tragic, camouflaged by rivers of tears and thunderous sighs. In the second case, that of realistic love, the monster is potentially in ourselves. And what is left to those who are left behind? Nothing. A sense of disgust and resignation, death by insignificance, dissolution into utter nothingness: “You have disgus The difference between romantic and realistic love is that the Monstrous in the first case is something spooky, something out of the depths of human imagination or something tragic, camouflaged by rivers of tears and thunderous sighs. In the second case, that of realistic love, the monster is potentially in ourselves. And what is left to those who are left behind? Nothing. A sense of disgust and resignation, death by insignificance, dissolution into utter nothingness: “You have disgusted me with life and passion for a long time to come. Leaving monstrosities aside, are not all human sentiments dissolved thus, by ghastly disillusionment? With these words the fair dancer (later known as the Marquis de Rochefide) reacted when she found out the Lanty family's secret. The secret of Sarrasine. (view spoiler)[Fortunately, nowadays, love stories like this can have a happy ending, proof that the the Monster of Ignorance can be beaten. (hide spoiler)] Αυτό το διήγημα του Balzac έχει μια ιδιαίτερη ιστορία. Όχι το ίδιο το έργο αυτό καθεαυτό, αλλά ο τρόπος που προσεγγίστηκε, αναλύθηκε και ερμηνεύτηκε από τους κριτικούς του 20ου αιώνα (George Bataille, Roland Barthes κα) οι οποίοι ως ένα βαθμό, προσέγγισαν το έργο αγνοώντας το ιστορικό και κοινωνικό πλαίσιο μέσα στο οποίο δημιουργήθηκε. Η άποψή μου περί ερμηνείας και ερμηνευτικής είναι πως όλοι μας, λιγότερο ή περισσότερο, φιλτράρουμε τα αναγνώσματά μας μέσα από το προσωπικό σύστημα πεποιθήσεων και αντιλήψεών μας. Αυτό είναι θεμιτό και ως ένα βαθμό αναπόφευκτο. Το δημιούργημα φεύγει από τον έλεγχο του καλλιτέχνη που το έφερε στη ζωή και μπολιάζεται με τις ζωές των άλλων. Ωστόσο στην προκειμένη περίπτωση προσπάθησα να κατανοήσω αυτό που ήθελε να πει ο ίδιος ο συγγραφέας με αυτήν την ιστορία του, στην προσπάθειά μου να γνωρίσω καλύτερα τον ίδιο μέσα από το έργο του. Ο Balzac άλλωστε είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα από μόνος του. Έχω αρχίσει να τον αγαπώ και να τον συμπονώ και έχω την υποψία που επάνω στα χαρτιά άφηνε κάτι περισσότερο από γράμματα και λέξεις και ιστορίες και ιδέες και απόψεις. Άφηνε κομμάτια από τις σάρκες του, αποτυπώματα της ψυχής και του μυαλού του εξαντλώντας και αφανίζοντας τον εαυτό του. Η σχέση με τα δημιουργήματά του ήταν αμιγώς ερωτική και ό,τι αγάπησε, το αγάπησε ακριβώς επειδή συνιστούσε για εκείνον ένα είδος ένωσης. Είναι λοιπόν λογικό και αναμενόμενο να ελκύεται και ο ίδιος από υποθέσεις που αφορούν το πάθος του καλλιτέχνη για την ιδανική, την ύψιστη δημιουργία. Αυτό άλλωστε δεν αποτελεί πρωτοτυπία του ίδιου. Όταν δημοσιεύτηκε το διήγημά του στο β' τόμο της τρίτομης συλλογής Romans et contes philosophiques. Suite et fin de La peau de chagrin. Sarrasine. La comédie du diable. El Verdugo par M. de Balzac , εκδ. C. Gosselin, Paris 1831 (και στην κατοπινή συλλογή του 1836 με τίτλο Études philosophiques: Volume 1 , εκδ. Société belge de Librairie, etc. Hauman, Cattoir et Cie), υπήρχε στην αρχή του πρώτου κεφαλαίου η εξής επιγραμματική φράση: "Croyez-vous que la seule Allemagne ait le privilège d’être absurde et fantastique?" "Νομίζετε ότι μόνο η Γερμανία έχει το προνόμιο να είναι παράλογη και φανταστική; " Τι κρύβεται πίσω από αυτήν τη μυστηριώδη πρόταση; Οι Γάλλοι αγάπησαν με πάθος, γοητεύτηκαν, εμπνεύστηκαν και ως ένα βαθμό αντέγραψαν τη φανταστική λογοτεχνία του E. T. A. Hoffmann και την έκαναν μέρος της δικής τους κουλτούρας. Ο ίδιος ο Balzac δεν ήταν βέβαια έξω από αυτήν τη σφαίρα επιρροής. Πέρασε μια δεκαετία συγγράφοντας ιστορίες ευρείας κατανάλωσης, διαθέσιμες για μερικές πεντάρες στα βιβλιοδανειστήρια κι αργότερα στα περιοδικά του συρμού και ως ένα βαθμό, τόσο ο ίδιος όσο και το σινάφι του, είναι μιμητές και αντιγράφοι. Μιμούνται και κοπιάρουν τις υποθέσεις άλλων δημοφιλών συγγραφέων της εποχής και αυτό ακριβώς συνιστά το βασικό μέσο του βιοπορισμού τους. Ο Balzac στο ξεκίνημα της συγγραφικής του καριέρας δεν είχε τη δυνατότητα και την ελευθερία (ίσως ούτε και την ικανότητα) να γράφει ό,τι θέλει ο ίδιος, οπότε ήταν υποχρεωμένος να κάνει ό,τι θέλουν οι άλλοι. Γι' αυτό τα πρώτα του έργα, που στην πλειοψηφία τους δεν έφεραν καν την υπογραφή του, παρά μόνο κάποια αρχικά ή κάποιο ψευδώνυμο, δεν είναι άλλο από είναι φτηνές, κακής ποιότητας απομιμήσεις. Κι αυτό ήταν κάτι εξαιρετικά συνηθισμένο για πολλούς νεαρούς επίδοξους συγγραφείς της γενιάς του. "Un innocent emprunt" (ένα αθώο δάνειο) θα γράψει στην μεταγενέστερη εισαγωγή του (1855) για ένα άλλο Χοφμανικό διήγημά του, το "L'Elixir de Longue Vie". Ωστόσο πίσω στα 1830 η αγωνία του να αποδειχτεί στα μάτια του κοινού του ως αυθεντικός και πρωτότυπος συγγραφέας τον υποχρεώνει να ισχυριστεί ακριβώς το αντίθετο, να αρνηθεί την παραμικρή υποψία ξένης επιρροής. Γράφει στα 1844: "Οι μόδες ανήκουν σε όλον τον κόσμο και οι Γερμανοί δεν έχουν μεγαλύτερο δικαίωμα να χρησιμοποιούν τη σελήνη, από όσο εμείς τον ήλιο και η Σκωτία τις ομίχλες του Ossian. Ποιος μπορεί να ισχυριστεί πως είναι αυθεντικός δημιουργός; Σε καμία περίπτωση δεν έχω εμπνευστεί από τον Hoffmann, του οποίου το έργο γνώρισα αφού είχα ήδη σχεδιάσει το δικό μου". (Βλέπε Helen Osterman Borowitz, The Impact of Art on French Literature: From de Scudéry to Proust, εκδ. Univ of Delaware Press, Μάρτιος 1985, σελ. 120). Ο αιώνιος Balzac με τις αιώνιες αντιφάσεις του! Αν ήμουν σύγχρονή του, ομολογώ μετά παρρησίας πως δεν θα δίσταζα να τον χαρακτηρίσω λογοκλόπο. Αλλά μας χωρίζει μια απόσταση 188 ετών, διάστημα που επιφέρει ένα κάποιο είδος άφεσης. Εκτός αυτού το ζήτημα της ανθρώπινης σεξουαλικότητας και του βάσανου που αυτή επιφέρει, όταν αποκλίνει από αυτό που η εποχή ορίζει ως κανόνα, είναι ένα θέμα που τέρπει και εξάπτει την περιέργεια του αναγνωστικού κοινού και πολύ συχνά εμπνέει την πένα των συγγραφέων. Παρόμοιος "αφύσικος" έρωτας περιγράφεται και στο διήγημα με τίτλο "Une passion dans le désert" του Balzac και φαίνεται πως τέτοιες αλλόκοτες ιστορίες είχαν ιδιαίτερη πέραση. Σχολιάζει σχετικά η George Sand σε επιστολή της (7/3/1831) προς τον Jules Boucoiran: "Η λογοτεχνία βρίσκεται σε ανάλογο χάος με την πολιτική. Υπάρχει μια αναζήτηση, μια αβεβαιότητα που αναδύεται από τα πάντα. Αποζητάμε το νέο και για να το πετύχουμε φτάνουμε στο αποτρόπαιο. Εξυμνείται ο Balzac επειδή περιέγραψε τον έρωτα ενός στρατιώτη για(view spoiler)[ μια τίγρη (hide spoiler)] , καθώς και τον έρωτα ενός καλλιτέχνη για (view spoiler)[έναν ευνούχο (hide spoiler)] . Τι είναι όλα αυτά θεέ μου; Αφού τα τέρατα έγιναν του συρμού, ας δημιουργήσουμε κι εμείς τέρατα". (βλέπε Nadine Satiat, Μπαλζάκ ή η μανία της γραφής, σελ. 185). Σε όλες τις περιπτώσεις αυτών των ανεκπλήρωτων ερώτων που αψηφούν τη φύση και τις κοινωνικές νόρμες, υπάρχει το στοιχείο του ανολοκλήρωτου. Μια αναπηρία, μια έλλειψη, μια ασυμβατότητα που δεν επιτρέπει την πραγμάτωση της σεξουαλικής συνεύρεσης. Αυτό έχει ως αποτέλεσμα τη ψυχική κατάρρευση του ερωτευμένου που δεν βρίσκει ανταπόκριση και προμηνύει, σχεδόν πάντοτε μια ολοκληρωτική καταστροφή. Τι νόημα έχει ωστόσο αυτή η εμμονή, η επιθυμία για την κατάκτηση του αδύνατου, του άπιαστου σε τελική ανάλυση του ανύπαρκτου και πως σχετίζεται με τις προθέσεις και τους στόχους της καλλιτεχνικής δημιουργίας; Ο Καλλιτέχνης πάνω από όλα και πρώτα από όλα, και δη ο Καλλιτέχνης της Ρομαντικής περιόδου εμπνέεται και συγκινείται ακριβώς από αυτήν τη μάταιη αναζήτηση για την κατάκτηση του Αδύνατου. Προσπαθεί να το βρει μέσα στον κόσμο και αγωνίζεται να το χτίσει, να το κατασκευάσει με τα ατελή υλικά της ανεπαρκούς πραγματικότητας. Αυτή η αδυναμία είναι που γεννά έναν σχεδόν μεταφυσικό τρόμο στο θύμα ενός τέτοιου έρωτα, έναν τρόμο ικανό να μετατρέψει το θύμα σε θύτη, σε εμμονικό διώκτη, όπως ακριβώς γίνεται δηλαδή ο Raphael de Valentin στο "La Peau De Chagrin" όπου μετατρέπεται σε (view spoiler)[ηδονοβλεψία (hide spoiler)] προκειμένου να διαπιστώσει αν η (view spoiler)[ωραία και άκαρδη Fedora δεν του δίνεται λόγω κάποια κρυφής σωματικής αναπηρίας (hide spoiler)] . Είναι ο φόβος που γεννά τη βία, όπως σε όλες σχεδόν τις περιπτώσεις. Και τελικά τι απομένει σε εκείνους που επιβιώνουν από ένα τέτοιο αρρωστημένο πάθος; Τίποτα. Μια αίσθηση αηδίας και παραίτησης για όλα τα πράγματα, ο θάνατος από ασημαντότητα, η διάλυση στο απόλυτο κενό: "Με έκανες να σιχαθώ τη ζωή και το πάθος, κι αυτό θα κρατήσει για κάμποσο καιρό. Αν αφήσουμε τις τερατωδίες στην άκρη, σάμπως δεν ισχύουν τα ίδια για όλα τα ανθρώπινα συναισθήματα που διαλύονται έτσι, από μια φρικαλέα απογοήτευση;" Με αυτά τα λόγια αντιδρά η ωραία χορεύτρια (σε μεταγενέστερη εκδοχή η μαρκησία de Rochefide), όταν μαθαίνει το κρυμμένο μυστικό της οικογένειας Lanty. Το μυστικό του Sarrasine. Η διαφορά ανάμεσα στον ρομαντικό και τον ρεαλιστικό έρωτα είναι πως το τερατώδες στην πρώτη περίπτωση είναι κάτι απόκοσμο, κάτι βγαλμένο από τις αβύσσους τις ανθρώπινης φαντασίας ή κάτι τραγικό, καμουφλαρισμένο με ποταμούς δακρύων και βροντερούς αναστεναγμούς. Στη δεύτερη περίπτωση, αυτή του ρεαλιστικού έρωτα, το τέρας είναι εν δυνάμει ο ίδιος μας ο εαυτός. Δεν υπάρχει τίποτα το μεγαλειώδες στη δυστυχία ενός αποτυχημένου συνοικεσίου και την κατασπατάληση της προίκας μιας νέας από έναν ανήθικο αριβίστα (η μία αδερφή του Balzac πέθανε νεότατη και απόλυτα δυστυχισμένη μέσα σε έναν τέτοιο αποτυχημένο γάμο), στον ψεύτικο έρωτα μιας κουρτεζάνας (σαν την Olympe Pélissier που, σύμφωνα με ορισμένες φήμες, ενέπνευσε στον συγγραφέα τη μυθιστορηματική του Fedora), στο νόθο παιδί ενός παράνομου έρωτα (ένα τέτοιο παιδί εικάζεται πως ήταν και ο μικρότερος αδερφός του Balzac). Το απόσταγμα τέτοιων εμπειριών κάνει τον συγγραφέα να βρει σταδιακά τη δική του φωνή, να βρει τη θεματολογία εκείνη που θα αποτελέσει τον πυρήνα της ανθρώπινης κωμωδίας του. Αλλά στα 1830, είναι ακόμα νωρίς. Ο Balzac μόλις έχει αρχίσει να ξεκαθαρίζει εντός του τις συγγραφικές του προθέσεις. Μάλιστα όταν ετοίμαζε την τρίτομη έκδοση των Romans et contes philosophiques στα 1831, μέσα στην οποία συμπεριέλαβε και τον Sarrasine, δεν ήταν και τόσο σίγουρος για την αξία και τη σημασία του συγκεκριμένου διηγήματος. Είναι ένας νέος 32 ετών, παχουλός και κοντούλης, του λείπουν τα μπροστινά του δόντια, είναι ανίκανος να διαχειριστεί σωστά τα οικονομικά του και ζει μια άστατη ζωή, ένας εργένης που αφήνεται να τον παραχαϊδεύουν και να τον βασανίζουν οι γυναίκες, που καυγαδίζει με τους εκδότες του γιατί αδυνατεί να τηρήσει τις προθεσμίες και καταφεύγει στην εξοχή για να μπορέσει να βρει λίγη ησυχία για να δουλέψει, καταναλώνοντας τεράστιες ποσότητες καφέ. Αλλά όλοι μας για να φτάσουμε κάπου, πρέπει από κάπου να ξεκινήσουμε.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    Ernest-Jean Sarrasine was the son of a rich lawyer that, after many problems at school, decided to become an artist. He started to work as a sculptor and after winning a competition, he went on to Rome. There he entered the Argentina Theatre and met Zambinella, an Opera singer. From that moment, he was no longer the owner of his thoughts. But his frantic thoughts outran his pencil. He met La Zambinella, spoke to her, entreated her, exhausted a thousand years of life and happiness with her, placi/>But Ernest-Jean Sarrasine was the son of a rich lawyer that, after many problems at school, decided to become an artist. He started to work as a sculptor and after winning a competition, he went on to Rome. There he entered the Argentina Theatre and met Zambinella, an Opera singer. From that moment, he was no longer the owner of his thoughts. But his frantic thoughts outran his pencil. He met La Zambinella, spoke to her, entreated her, exhausted a thousand years of life and happiness with her, placing her in all imaginable situations, trying the future with her, so to speak... His passion became more profound as it became more tranquil. Yes, more love and more obsession and that kind of stuff. This is a somewhat thought-provoking novella that deals with some interesting themes. I must admit that I didn't dislike Balzac's writing. A couple of amusing comments about people and society as a whole were included. Additionally, the use of lyricism is rather balanced. But no, I can't give this book more than two stars for the simple reason that, for me, the first part of the story (41%, actually) was completely superfluous. And it is a short book... However, a paragraph to establish some context would have been enough. Oh, alright. Perhaps 2.5 stars. Jan 30, 16 * Also on my blog.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    This feverish novelette about artistic creation and sexual identity is, perhaps, best introduced as being a kind of Bourbon-Restoration The Crying Game. The eponymous Sarrasine, a moody eighteenth-century sculptor, visits Italy and falls head over heels for a prima donna he sees at the opera; but trying to pursue her leads quickly to a brutal, melodramatic reveal and climax. From the beginning, Balzac plays the reader as Sarrasine is played, setting up a theme of flirty, desirable women and gruff men-of-the-world who This feverish novelette about artistic creation and sexual identity is, perhaps, best introduced as being a kind of Bourbon-Restoration The Crying Game. The eponymous Sarrasine, a moody eighteenth-century sculptor, visits Italy and falls head over heels for a prima donna he sees at the opera; but trying to pursue her leads quickly to a brutal, melodramatic reveal and climax. From the beginning, Balzac plays the reader as Sarrasine is played, setting up a theme of flirty, desirable women and gruff men-of-the-world who have learned (as one character puts it in passing) ‘not to cry out when they're hiding at the back of a wardrobe and the maid slams their fingers in the door’. Our first introduction to Zambinella, the delectable opera-singer, is an almost cinematic crane-up from the stiletto heel dangling on her foot, along her crossed legs, and up to her ‘graciously smiling’ face, while our narrator comments with impeccable composure: Les bas blancs bien tirés et à coins verts, les jupes courtes, les mules pointues et à talons hauts du règne de Louis XV ont peut-être un peu contribué à démoraliser l'Europe et le clergé. [The white, well drawn-up stockings with their green figure-work, the short skirts, and the pointed, high-heeled mules of Louis XV's reign did, perhaps, make some contribution to the demoralisation of Europe, and of the clergy.] We are half in love with her ourselves by the time we reach the dénouement. And the objectification inherent in physical attraction is very much the point here, linked as it is to the process of art. Sarrasine objectifies Zambinella not just figuratively but literally as well, by making a statue of her which captures his ideals rather than capturing her herself. In fact, Balzac invents a whole chain of art works stretching from the events of his story down to the (for him) present day, complete with the shifting genders that are so essential to his story: first Sarrasine's statue of Zambinella; then a marble copy supposedly made by a Roman cardinal; then a painting (apparently fictional) made of this statue by Joseph-Marie Vien; and finally, based on the Vien, Girodet's very real picture of ‘The Sleep of Endymion’: The feminine cantatrice has become a masculine Greek shepherd. This distance between one's image of a love-object and their real self is the fundamental subject of the book. Especially for women. ‘As mothers, our children kill us through misconduct or indifference,’ one character laments; ‘as wives we are betrayed. As lovers, neglected or abandoned. And friendship – does that even exist?’ It's a disconnect that will be dramatised in spectacular fashion in the story. Camille Paglia reckons that Sarrasine is ‘the century's first completely Decadent work’ and ‘a pivotal work in the shift from High to Late Romanticism’. Well, maybe. It certainly has that decadent interest in enclosed spaces and sensual excess; early mentions of Byron and Anne Radcliffe show the kind of world we should be expecting. But its generic features are perhaps less interesting than the contemporary themes it picks up on. The focus on casual objectification and sexual identity makes it feel in some ways powerfully modern – and you've got to be impressed at how many PhD topics Balzac manages to cover in just 35 pages of text. A gender-bending Gallic treat.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Magdalen

    First time reading Honoré de Balzac and I am impressed. I'll be brief. His descriptions are splendid and the story was interesting (although at first I wasn't following and felt a bit lost) When the narrator started telling the story of Sarrasine he got me. It was shocking and keep in mind when it was written!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Petal X Planet

    Overblown and boring. It was the equivalent of standing in front of an Old Master in an art gallery and being instructed by the enraptured guide to study the beautiful painting of the velvet folds of the curtains, just look at those brush strokes, see how he has captured the light... Yes, beautiful, can we move on now?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This was a real treat. Right away, the opening sentence caught me eye. “I was buried in one of those profound reveries to which everybody, even a frivolous man, is subject in the midst of the most uproarious festivities.” This author has a descriptive way with words. It is poetry “There the loveliest, the wealthiest women in Paris, bearers of the proudest titles, moved hither and thither, fluttered from room to room in swarms, stately and gorgeous, dazzling with diamonds; flowers on their heads and breasts, in their h This was a real treat. Right away, the opening sentence caught me eye. “I was buried in one of those profound reveries to which everybody, even a frivolous man, is subject in the midst of the most uproarious festivities.” This author has a descriptive way with words. It is poetry “There the loveliest, the wealthiest women in Paris, bearers of the proudest titles, moved hither and thither, fluttered from room to room in swarms, stately and gorgeous, dazzling with diamonds; flowers on their heads and breasts, in their hair, scattered over their dresses or lying in garlands at their feet.” “Sparkling glances here and there eclipsed the lights and the blaze of the diamonds, and fanned the flame of hearts already burning too brightly.” And this was all on the first page. Was it a great story, who cares? It’s really more about the words themselves, than the story being told.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    Left me with that empty feeling that very truthful writing often does. I didn't love the story - but must pay my respects to Balzac's insight. So much of our love and what we think of as our "identity" is a complete fraud. We don't know others, we don't really know ourselves, and we are blown about by every wind - whims, desires, fears - it's not a pretty existence. Balzac gets under the skin precisely, as with a scalpel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In this story, Balzac uses a device he often employs, a story within a story. Madame de Rochefide, not yet experienced in the ways of the world, is startled by the appearance of a very old man at the salon of the Lanty family. She thinks he is a ghost. This family is wealthy even by the standards of Parisian society, but the source of their wealth is unknown. Early speculation about this fades; the two children, Marianina and Filippo are both beautiful and rich and therefore valuable assets on t In this story, Balzac uses a device he often employs, a story within a story. Madame de Rochefide, not yet experienced in the ways of the world, is startled by the appearance of a very old man at the salon of the Lanty family. She thinks he is a ghost. This family is wealthy even by the standards of Parisian society, but the source of their wealth is unknown. Early speculation about this fades; the two children, Marianina and Filippo are both beautiful and rich and therefore valuable assets on the marriage market. No one wants to sabotage that. Madame de Rochefide's youhful indiscretion compels the narrator to explain, and so, as they settle down in front of a portrait of a young Adonis, he tells the story: Sarrasine was a wild and exuberant artist-sculptor who had been expelled by the Jesuits in his youth but behaved himself in Paris as a student until he won a prize which took him to Italy. In no time he had fallen for an opera singer, the beautiful La Zambinella, and he began to pursue her. Alas, she repels his advances and his previously suppressed violent urges come to the fore. He kidnaps her one night after seeing her performing at the private party given by Cardinal Cigonari - she was dressed there as a man and he is outraged by insinuations that the invitation to this party is a joke against him. Which it is. His overt passion has made him a laughing stock because the veiled hints that la Zambinella had given him about her 'fatal beauty' were true: La Zambinella is no woman, but rather an effeminate man. Probably a castrato, as Balzac implies with this exchange: '‘La Zambinella!’ echoed the Roman prince. ‘Are you jesting? Whence have you come? Did a woman ever appear in a Roman theatre? And do you not know what sort of creatures play female parts within the domains of the Pope? It was I, monsieur, who endowed Zambinella with his voice. . .’' La Zambinella is rescued from Sarrasine's wrath by some of the cardinal's men only just in time. So what's this got to do with the Lanty family, asks Madame de Rochefide? That portrait of the Adonis is La Zambinella as a youth, and the old man who hangs around like a spectre is the singer himself. He is Marianina’s maternal great uncle and the source of the Lanty family’s fortune... Madame de Rochefide is repelled by the story but the narrator assures her that civilisation has moved on and that 'there are none of those wretched creatures now.' Wouldn't it be interesting to know what the inspiration for this story was?!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Ward

    Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac Sarrasine is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful opera singer. Enchanted by her lovely voice, he cannot help but to try to meet her. He shows up at every performance and his love becomes known to the members of the Opera. When he finally meets her and gets to spend time with her, he finds that he is the butt of a joke that he doesn’t understand. This is further complicated by the fact that the story takes place in an old mansion. The story of S Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac Sarrasine is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful opera singer. Enchanted by her lovely voice, he cannot help but to try to meet her. He shows up at every performance and his love becomes known to the members of the Opera. When he finally meets her and gets to spend time with her, he finds that he is the butt of a joke that he doesn’t understand. This is further complicated by the fact that the story takes place in an old mansion. The story of Sarrasine is told from inside a coat closet in the old mansion. What the reader discovers is not only shocking, but is also sad. Balzac uses the Iceberg shape to explain the story of Sarrasine. He slowly peels back the layers, until the reader gets to the core of the conflict. By doing this, he is developing character and tension by giving the reader just enough information to make an assumption and to keep them interested. The story can also be used as a parable of, “Not everything is what it seems to be.”

  11. 5 out of 5

    Seph Mozes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had a dream that sarrasine found out zambinella was trans and was fine with it and they got married & she topped him and sarrasine was played by oscar isaac and I think that dream was better than this story sorry balzac

  12. 5 out of 5

    Momina Masood

    Way too much of a backstory man! My first Balzac. Wish I liked it more. Do I blame Balzac for writing like he was distracted (and slightly drunk, and not in a good way), or do I blame the translation I read? Whatever the case, he could have gotten to the point a bit early on. Rambled way too much! Might try another translation. Also, Sarrasine and Zambinella reminded me of Casanova's fling with Bellino. Which, of course, turned out much better for everyone involved. But it's weird. Gi Way too much of a backstory man! My first Balzac. Wish I liked it more. Do I blame Balzac for writing like he was distracted (and slightly drunk, and not in a good way), or do I blame the translation I read? Whatever the case, he could have gotten to the point a bit early on. Rambled way too much! Might try another translation. Also, Sarrasine and Zambinella reminded me of Casanova's fling with Bellino. Which, of course, turned out much better for everyone involved. But it's weird. Giacomo thought Bellino was a woman in disguise, and not a castrato, but after being convinced he wasn't, G didn't go crazy and threaten to kill him, but was okay loving a dude. (Bellino, of course, turned out to be a woman in drag, so yay there.) But I wonder if S could have avoided his fate had he been less of a douche. I'll return to this. Also Barthes' S/Z!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    A lot going in this packed little read that begins slowly and builds to an exciting and dramatic crescendo. In brief, a layered story of Sarrasine, a man grown bored with life until he happens across the opera singer Zambinella. Passion and infatuation follow but things (predictably) aren't always what they seem... (view spoiler)[“‘La Zambinella!’ echoed the Roman prince. ‘Are you jesting? Whence have you come? Did a woman ever appear in a Roman tnone">[“‘La A lot going in this packed little read that begins slowly and builds to an exciting and dramatic crescendo. In brief, a layered story of Sarrasine, a man grown bored with life until he happens across the opera singer Zambinella. Passion and infatuation follow but things (predictably) aren't always what they seem... (view spoiler)[“‘La Zambinella!’ echoed the Roman prince. ‘Are you jesting? Whence have you come? Did a woman ever appear in a Roman theatre? And do you not know what sort of creatures play female parts within the domains of the Pope? It was I, monsieur, who endowed Zambinella with his voice. . . . .’ Hmmm... (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dagny

    Ernest-Jean Sarrasine's father was a wealthy attorney, but he went against his father's will and became a sculptor. He was a success in Paris, winning a prize and much praise. Sarrasine then goes to Rome, burning with ambition. He has only been in Rome a fortnight when he happens to pass the Argentina theatre at a time when there is an enormous crowd gathered to see Zambinella and Jomelli. His first experience hearing Italian music plunges him into an ecstasy of delight. When he sees Zambinella Ernest-Jean Sarrasine's father was a wealthy attorney, but he went against his father's will and became a sculptor. He was a success in Paris, winning a prize and much praise. Sarrasine then goes to Rome, burning with ambition. He has only been in Rome a fortnight when he happens to pass the Argentina theatre at a time when there is an enormous crowd gathered to see Zambinella and Jomelli. His first experience hearing Italian music plunges him into an ecstasy of delight. When he sees Zambinella he describes her to himself as "more than a woman, a masterpiece."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I just finished this in French and it may now be in my top 10.... I'll update more once I have finished it in English.....update: Alright, this is officially one of my favorite long short stories/novellas of all time. It's everything: the impossibility of desire, the slipperiness of gender, the seedy underbelly of the middle class, the way in which desire and art intertwine, and opera divas. I am going to re-visit S/Z, just so I can spend more time with this text. It's completely sump I just finished this in French and it may now be in my top 10.... I'll update more once I have finished it in English.....update: Alright, this is officially one of my favorite long short stories/novellas of all time. It's everything: the impossibility of desire, the slipperiness of gender, the seedy underbelly of the middle class, the way in which desire and art intertwine, and opera divas. I am going to re-visit S/Z, just so I can spend more time with this text. It's completely sumptuous and an entirely immersing reading experience.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    2.5 stars (ok) A short French classic of a man who becomes enamored with an opera singer only to find she is other than he thought. Balzac's descriptive and unfiltered observations of the Parisian high society people and lifestyle were the highlight but the plot itself was a bit thin.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "What is Sarrasine?" asks Roland Barthes in S/Z, his structural analysis of Honoré de Balzac's Sarrasine, "A noun? A name? A thing? A man? A woman? This question will not be answered until much later, by the biography of the sculptor named Sarrasine." Sarrasine, a minor work in La Comédie humaine, French writer and scholar Georges Bataille tells us (more than a decade before Barthes' work was published) is "a story by Balzac that is relatively little known but is one of the high points of his work." The story operates by way of a frame, "What is Sarrasine?" asks Roland Barthes in S/Z, his structural analysis of Honoré de Balzac's Sarrasine, "A noun? A name? A thing? A man? A woman? This question will not be answered until much later, by the biography of the sculptor named Sarrasine." Sarrasine, a minor work in La Comédie humaine, French writer and scholar Georges Bataille tells us (more than a decade before Barthes' work was published) is "a story by Balzac that is relatively little known but is one of the high points of his work." The story operates by way of a frame, the unnamed male narrator telling Mme de Rochefide the backstory of a very strange and mysterious old man whose presence at the ball they are attending is most curious. We forget the narrator and Mme de Rochefide except in rare moments when the latter humorously interrupts the former's narrative. The story deals with homosexuality, a common theme in Balzac's Human Comedy, and also with lust and obsession, as well as castration. It is undoubtedly a strange work, but it has a brilliance to it, with many layers to the deceptively simple plot; such was the genius of Balzac. At the time of its release the story, which came early in Balzac's literary career was largely overlooked, at least partly because it was eclipsed by Le Peau de Chagrin, the work with which Balzac really made his mark as a writer, both released around the same time. Thanks to Roland Barthes and Georges Bataille the work has been reevaluated and introduced to a new generation of readers and is now one of perhaps a dozen of the most often read of the 90+ titles included in Balzac's masterful and very funny collection of stories about the human experience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tommi

    Colorful and surprisingly intense, with plenty of beautiful writing. The meat of the piece is a long story within a story, told by the narrator to Beatrix Rochefide at a ball. It is a story about a sculptor, Sarrasine, and his infatuation with the beautiful La Zambinella, with a great twist in the end that makes it a relevant story even in the 21st century. It read like it could be staged wonderfully, and wasn’t surprised to find out that this has indeed been dramatized. This is definitely inspi Colorful and surprisingly intense, with plenty of beautiful writing. The meat of the piece is a long story within a story, told by the narrator to Beatrix Rochefide at a ball. It is a story about a sculptor, Sarrasine, and his infatuation with the beautiful La Zambinella, with a great twist in the end that makes it a relevant story even in the 21st century. It read like it could be staged wonderfully, and wasn’t surprised to find out that this has indeed been dramatized. This is definitely inspiring enough to make me explore La Comédie humaine further.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Quinn

    Truly amusing and what a twist!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Xysea

    This is an interesting book, filled with description, that describes the loss of innocence of a man. He falls in love with a woman, an opera singer, who it turns out isn't a woman at all but a castrato who plays female roles in an opera. Sarrasine sets her up, emotionally and psychologically, as his perfect feminine ideal. He is so taken with her, he plans to marry her. But the proposal is rejected, due to La Zambella's true gender. He attempts to kill 'her' in a rage, prob This is an interesting book, filled with description, that describes the loss of innocence of a man. He falls in love with a woman, an opera singer, who it turns out isn't a woman at all but a castrato who plays female roles in an opera. Sarrasine sets her up, emotionally and psychologically, as his perfect feminine ideal. He is so taken with her, he plans to marry her. But the proposal is rejected, due to La Zambella's true gender. He attempts to kill 'her' in a rage, probably due to a fear of homosexuality, and also because his masterpiece - as statue of his perfect feminine ideal - is based on a fraud. It's an interesting novella, especially due to the gender confusion element.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Gallen

    A sculptor falls in love with an opera singer, who, he imagines to be the embodiment of female perfection. However, his love comes to a tragic end when his illusions are cruelly shattered. One of the short pieces in Balzac's "La Comédie humaine," it is the basis for Roland Barthes' structuralist interpretation "S/Z." Thoroughly enjoyed Sarrasine. Just started "S/Z." Not sure how Balzac's 30 page story could provide the basis for Barthes' 200 page book. I'll let you know.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    Two short novellas, 'Sarrasine' and 'A Passion in the Desert'. Just sixty five pages in total. Too short to become lost or bored with, yet not long enough to become engrossed. Although originally published in 1830, Mr De Balzac's writing talent give both tales a timeless quality, and where the author includes references from the early nineteenth century, the book comes with explanatory notes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Morgho

    Wow. In few pages Balzac can take you from the high of a jouvenile love to the most desperation. Lovely written, full of quotes from his age it coulded be a sorrowful page of a today (2013) story. Oh life it's wonferful how can you be so changeful and at the same time still!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    An amazingly descriptive story about what boils down to a bunch of pretentious hipsters and a wasted old man. Also, the only pre-1990s transgender bender story I have ever read. It's like the crying game of Parian hipsters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Thornton

    it's all fun and games until the trans panic defense sets in

  26. 4 out of 5

    Juanita

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think this is my first time reading Balzac. I liked the build-up of the telling a story inside of another story, and how we eventually get to a plot twist that may require some going back to make sure we got it correctly. It saddens me that La Zambinella's condition as a castrato is treated (from the way the narrative is constructed) as if she was a monster. Sarrasine reminded me, in its structure, to Lovecraft's tales, the way in which the big revelation of the monster is usually left at I think this is my first time reading Balzac. I liked the build-up of the telling a story inside of another story, and how we eventually get to a plot twist that may require some going back to make sure we got it correctly. It saddens me that La Zambinella's condition as a castrato is treated (from the way the narrative is constructed) as if she was a monster. Sarrasine reminded me, in its structure, to Lovecraft's tales, the way in which the big revelation of the monster is usually left at the end, as to leave the reader with a sensation of discomfort just as they close the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Nassar Altabcharani

    Love love love - despite so much that irks the contemporary reader, this little novel is able to expose so much about the constructivist nature of gender, beauty, and art in itself. Balzac's affluence in art and history has easily allowed him to create linkages between the artist's eye and their art; and he is so very able to show the utter discrepancies that "gender" and the "feminine" allow for, both now and in 19th century France.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Beautiful opening description contrasting a winter nighttime garden and a magnificent ball. A strange, disquieting guest at the latter. The story of an obsession is related. Anything by the great Balzac is worth reading, but this skimpy work hardly compares to his great novels.

  29. 4 out of 5

    SeRRo

    This one was just OK from maitre Balzac, although I was tempted to rate it one star. I couldn't find in this one what I did in previous writings from La Comedie Humaine. The prose was quite dry and difficult to follow most of the time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Florin Catană

    Not one of the best novels of Balzac, quite predictibile and lacking that originality which is characteristic for his masterpieces.

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