Honoré de Balzac: La Cousine Bette [Cousin Bette]

(3160 words)
  • Andrew Watts (University of Birmingham)

A tale of jealousy, revenge, and destructive passion, La Cousine Bette (1847) is one of the most celebrated novels in French realist fiction. In the summer of 1846, Balzac, by now aged forty-seven and in rapidly declining health, had begun work on a two-part novella, a study of familial neglect entitled Les Parents pauvres [The Poor Relations] (1847). The first volume, Le Vieux Musicien [The Old Musician] (which later became Le Cousin Pons) (1847), was already in progress when, as so often before in his career, he decided that both halves of the project merited a longer treatment, and should be …

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Watts, Andrew. "La Cousine Bette". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 November 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4132, accessed 27 November 2015.]