Past events

Book Club #2

Le Père Goriot, d’Honoré de Balzac (1835)

« Goriot mettait ses filles au rang des anges, et nécessairement au-dessus de lui, le pauvre homme ! Il aimait jusqu’au mal qu’elles lui faisaient. »

The novel takes place during the Bourbon Restoration, which brought profound changes to French society; the struggle by individuals to secure a higher social status is a major theme in the book. The city of Paris also impresses itself on the characters – especially young Rastignac, who grew up in the provinces of southern France. Balzac analyzes, through Goriot and others, the nature of family and marriage, providing a pessimistic view of these institutions.

Set in Paris in 1819, it follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac.