Read Les Cent Contes Drolatiques by Honoré de Balzac Online

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Les Cent contes drolatiques - premier dixain is Balzac's first collection of ribald short stories inspired by Rabelais, Boccacio, La Fontaine and other classics of the genre. The text is that of the 1832 edition. The book comes with a cd-rom containing an extensive critical apparatus established by Andrew Oliver a well-known Balzac scholar....

Title : Les Cent Contes Drolatiques
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780980930702
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Les Cent Contes Drolatiques Reviews

  • Danielle
    2019-01-28 18:10

    I enjoyed "taking a break" with this book; its humorous style and short story format made it ideal for filling in odd moments throughout the day and providing relief from heavier reading.I really can't understand why any careful reader would think this book dull. True, most of the stories utilize the same main themes (cuckoldry being the most common, I think), but the quality of the writing makes the common-theme stories unique and engaging throughout. If something seems odd or nonsensical upon the first reading, I would suggest going back over the passage to look for double (or triple, in some cases) meanings -- I definitely would have missed a lot of the charming humor Balzac employs if I had not slowed down at certain points when reading his work. I'm sure a lot of his "pun power" was lost in translation, but the editor of the edition I read made quite an effort to fill-in the English reader to the lost complexity whenever he could, a practice I found very helpful.I loved the amazing engravings featured in the work -- their complexity and macabre styling was quite impressive, so don't skip by them if you happen to have an edition where they are included.

  • Hadrian
    2019-02-02 19:55

    A set of light, fun short stories about love. Done in an imitation of Rabelais' style. Intricate wordplay and innuendo about love. A lot is lost in translation, but some of the simple lewd humor shines through.

  • Rupert Owen
    2019-02-12 23:48

    I was really looking forward to reading Droll Stories, as it seemed to me that a ribald parody of medieval tales was subject matter I could easily find amusing treasures in. However it seems as if Balzac had taken on a rabelaisian task without having the right mindset to offer the reader the same degree of grotesque bawdiness all the way through. Balzac promises us a book of the "richest flavour, full of right hearty merriment, spiced to the palate of the illustrious and very precious tosspots and drinkers, to whom our worthy compatriot Francois Rabelais, the eternal honour of Touraine, addressed himself", and this is true of the first ten tales, and indeed somewhat into the second ten tales, but about midway through the second lot of stories the writing takes a turn towards more dramatic themes and the absurdity so well begun wanes. Some of the early pieces I quite enjoyed such as The Brother-in-Arms, The Vicar of Azay-Le-Rideau, and the most befitting The Merry Tattle of the Nuns of Poissy which has a novice nun searching her naked body by command of a senior sister for a potentially sinful flea. This is the kind of bawdy absurdness I was hoping to unravel through-out the entire collection of stories, but by the time I had reached the third ten tales I was struggling to keep engrossed and felt that Balzac was writing in a completely different mood to when he had started out despite the verve of the prologues and epilogues that would have us believe otherwise."Give us a story, then, that stops at the girdle", this is what I was expecting all the way through Droll Stories, it may be that Balzac is tickled by the wit of Rabelais but I just don't think he has the same nuance of the absurd that is required to replicate it in his own outpourings. It's worth reading for the few tales that will delight the more lewd of the senses and my 1946 edition has saucy illustrations by Steele Savage which enrich the feel of the collection, but if you are hoping for something that will make you gasp and guffaw then I'd recommend Rabelais himself. Having said all that, it is splendid that Balzac attempted such an ode and I'm sure it is probably better read in the author's native tongue.

  • El
    2019-02-19 18:50

    This isn't the exact edition I read. Unfortunately and inexplicably I can't seem to find the right edition, which includes 125 illustrations by the fantabulous Gustave Dore.In any case, the stories themselves sort of bored me and because of that this took me forevertime to read. Balzac is sort of one of those authors that I've always expected to love, so I've been putting him off until just the right time. But then came these stories and oompf. Balzac could have been holding a gun to my head and I wouldn't have been able to muster any more energy for reading these stories.The stories themselves are "okay", but the third star is because of the illustrations by Dore. They're amazing just like most of his other illustrations, and they're honestly what kept me going through reading these. Maybe it just wasn't quite the right time to read Balzac; but it's never the wrong time to look at some Dore illustrations. Not as awesome as his work for Dante's Inferno, but a nice contender nonetheless.Balzac - as for you, dear friend, I've got some other stuff of yours that I will not give up on... yet.

  • Frankie
    2019-02-22 17:05

    For those unfamiliar with Balzac, he's one of the first realist writers of his time. Most of his work is vulgar and broad, but set in a time when vulgarity was a part of life. It's refreshing to see that Shakespeare wasn't the first/only one to transcend the pattern of dark Europe.While most of the stories contain subtle filth on bodily functions and bedroom escapades, it's not difficult to understand, even in translation. It's all quite entertaining, and broad though it may be, still lends to an appropriate feeling of familiarity with the era (the writer's 19th century or the fictional 13th century, or anywhere in between).It wasn't all farts and tresses and entrails, however. a four-part story in the middle of the collection concerns a witch trial of-sorts. "The Succubus" reminds me of Milton's Paradise Lost, which probably took clues from most witchcraft stories of the medieval era.Overall, I found it light reading and worthy of my time. I recommend it to anyone weary of unrealistic, morally-bound pre-victorian literature.

  • Spencer
    2019-02-17 18:11

    I read a version that was printed in 1874. It was rich with engravings, making up about 20% of the volume. It was very much about ribaldry and cuckoldry, and thus very French. Male/female relations, and the clergy figure prominently. The short stories are all written as if they took place in the 15th century—the time of Rabelais. I found it very entertaining, humorous, and titillating in a very refined manner.

  • Trickey
    2019-02-16 18:47

    I loved these stories and I loved Balzac's crazy interludes where he tries to reason about why he's writing them. Some of them are just begging to be stage productions and are very amusing. Definitely not for prudish people, but also excellent for those interested in (a version of) historical France.

  • Rosecasanova
    2019-02-11 19:01

    I'm reading the 1944 Black and Gold edition published by Liveright. No illustrations, but cool book. I'm reading the stories randomly out of order. I think they're really funny and refreshing and in fact pretty ridiculous. Kind of an old fashioned innocent-humor, but I'm pretty old, and innocent, so it works for me.

  • Megan
    2019-01-28 18:56

    1.5 ~ Found this book at an antique store & was intrigued. I can only describe it as some sort of 19th century comedy verging on becoming a play, edited by Jack Black. Vulgar, overly sarcastic for its time & lacked creativity.

  • Andre
    2019-01-31 20:09

    This is a very thick 1874 compilation of 30 short stories by French classical writer Honore de Balzac. Famous artist Gustave Dore does the illustrations.

  • Nan Silvernail
    2019-02-12 21:56

    A Medieval romp through the high castles and low morals of France. Some merry, some sad, all instructive. Only one pilgrim tells these tales, but they are rich as Chaucer's. He was not a beauteous as Scheherazade but he could well tell a tale. Fill a tankard and wade right in. The trough of all humanity is just fine.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Just as with The Arabian Nights and The Canterbury Tales, there is some really low humor here. But some lovely innocent flowers as well. The tribe of the Cuckolds is increased. Ladies turn the tables on their husbands. But then again, True Love can sometimes conquer all.This ebook is a different translation than the physical book I have. It was interesting and instructive to see the differences. It was also a different experience to read it at 50 years of age when the last time I read it, I was around 20.The tale called The Succubus was still a long slog for the moral.Innocence is a wonderfully sweet little tidbit.One must remember that during this time most of the world's leaders were not more than teenaged, and it does show, as in The Merrie Jests of King Louis the Eleventh.Still, it is an amusing read.

  • Paul Parsons
    2019-02-13 22:03

    Reminiscent of the Canterbury tales, these ribald stories told from the French perspective over two hundred years ago, sometimes lost me in their style and wordiness. Balzac speaks to the reader, sometimes in second person, dragging you out of the narrative and into his world mid sentence. The text is clever and flowery, as it had to be in that day and age, when addressing sexuality so boldly. Good reader for those who study the history of writing styles.

  • Andrea
    2019-02-13 17:09

    I think that my edition is not this one listed here, but nevertheless my thoughts on de Balzac have stayed the same- I hate him, his style, everything. These stories are all over the place, vulgar and quite frankly they are supposed to be funny, but they are not. I'm giving up on de Balzac, but maybe I'll find some of his work that I'll like, but it's not gonna be any time soon. Sorry not sorry

  • David
    2019-02-14 19:00

    These stories present a much different Balzac than the one I'm used to. Much more the entertaining farce than the honest portrayal of human striving and suffering at the different levels of society. Seems a bit awkward too, trying to mimic a bit much the older style of stories. Still fun to read, though.

  • Jonathan
    2019-02-07 21:06

    I gave up after a few stories, or, to be more precise, after the same story several times. Powerful but old/impotent man blah blah blah, frisky young wife blah blah blah, handsome young knight blah blah blah, scheming maid blah blah blah, cuckoldry (If that's a word) blah blah blah, The End.

  • Tina
    2019-02-10 00:12

    Un libro que cuenta con 18 relatos de tema erótico, tratado con sutileza, sin caer en la vulgaridad, con un toque de picardía y sarcasmo que los hace fáciles y amenos en la lectura.Quien haya leído al autor, sabrá que no necesita gran recomendación, su nombre lo dice todo.

  • Heikki Lahnaoja
    2019-02-07 23:14

    Keveitä paneskelutarinoita, viihdyttäviä mutta ei mitään sen kummempaa.

  • Bredo Erichsen
    2019-02-19 20:09

    A classical book that is worth reading. Relatively sex oriented to be that old.

  • Robert Smith
    2019-02-13 20:51

    I have a privately printed edition with nice color plates titled Ten Droll Tales.

  • Tamar
    2019-02-08 16:48

    The stories are funny but all seem the same after awhile

  • Valissa
    2019-02-17 19:52

    "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action."

  • K.P. Stafford
    2019-01-31 20:56

    I have a very old copy of this book, but haven't read it in years. It sits in my "vintage" book selection of a shelf...next to a skull. ;)

  • Bob Mabbitt
    2019-01-25 18:55

    Sorry, but gotta press the pause button on this, Honoré. Good stuff, but kinda drolls on and on.

  • Mary
    2019-01-25 18:13

    Read only the Gondreville Mystery

  • Varmint
    2019-01-26 15:52

    maybe it was the translation. most of the stories seemed like listening to someone boring describe something funny that happened to someone else very far away.

  • Meter
    2019-01-26 18:54

    Hilarious!

  • Boris Crismancich
    2019-02-10 22:58

    Herrliche Geschichten. Zeigt die doppelmoral der damaligen Zeit. Ein hocherotisches Büchlein. Die schönsten erotischen Erzählungen, die ich bisher gelesen habe.

  • Zhen Engbrecht
    2019-02-03 18:12

    Only read the first chapter, but the stories were not "droll." Maybe it would be better in French, but then why did they even bother translating it?

  • Stevo Ilišković
    2019-02-07 19:10

    Kraljeva miljenica To nas uči da ne prijanjamo jače nego što treba za žene koje neće da trpe naš jaram.

  • C.A. Craven
    2019-02-21 22:48

    I know this is culture and good for me, but I'm just not feeling all the stories about medieval ladies sleeping around on their husbands.