The Unknown Masterpiece

The Unknown Masterpiece

 
 
 
 
 
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Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) is generally credited as the inventor of the modern realistic novel. In more than ninety novels, he set forth French society and life as he saw it. He created a cast of over two thousand individual and identifiable characters, some of whom reappear in different novels. He organized his works into his masterpiece, La Comedie Humaine, which was the final result of his attempt to grasp the whole of society and experience into one varied but unified work.

One of Honoré de Balzac’s most celebrated tales, “The Unknown Masterpiece” is the story of a painter who, depending on one’s perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius?or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cézanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton’s words, a “fable of modern art.”

Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, “The Unknown Masterpiece” appears, as Balzac intended, with “Gambara,” a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams.

Product Code 1021191
ISBN 9780940322745
Author Honoré de Balzac
Format Paperback
GTIN 9780940322745
Pages 160
Published May 2001
Publisher New York Review Books
Dimensions 127 mm X 203 mm X 11 mm
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