Cousin Betty cover

Cousin Betty

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19
20. Chapter 20
21. Chapter 21
22. Chapter 22
23. Chapter 23
24. Chapter 24
25. Chapter 25
26. Chapter 26
27. Chapter 27
28. Chapter 28
29. Chapter 29
30. Chapter 30
31. Chapter 31
32. Chapter 32
33. Chapter 33
34. Chapter 34
35. Chapter 35
36. Chapter 36
37. Chapter 37
38. Chapter 38

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Genres

Summary

Cousin Betty (La Cousine Bette), published in serial format in 1846, was one of the last and greatest of Balzac's works. It was part of his long novel collection titled La Comédie Humaine. Set in mid-19th-century France, it tells the story of a woman who resents her position as a "poor relation." As we follow her schemes to bring ruin upon the more privileged members of her family, we see a society in transition. The stability and idealism of the old order give way to a new bourgeois world in which virtue is strangled in the struggle for power and money. In this novel, Balzac searchingly probes the psychology and motivations of his characters: his work influenced the development of literary realism, as practised by writers such as Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Proust, and Henry James.