History of the Thirteen

By Honoré de Balzac


Balzac’s famous trilogy, full of vitality and passion.

‘They were thirteen kings … judges and executioners too, they had equipped themselves with wings in order to soar over society in its heights and depths, and disdained to occupy any place in it because they had unlimited power.’

Balzac’s History of the Thirteen purports to be the history of a secret society. But in it the author also examines the nature of love – the chaste voluptuousness of conjugal love in ‘Ferragus’, the wiles of the coquette in La Duchesse de Langeais’ and the frank sexuality of ‘The Girl with Golden Eyes’. Above all, this trilogy of stories, which laid the foundation for his scenes of Parisian life, is a vivacious evocation of all ranks of that society in its tumultuous detail.

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