Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot [Old Goriot]

Andrew Watts (University of Birmingham)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Among the many novels, plays, and short stories written by Balzac during his career, none represents the full blossoming of his literary genius better than

Le Père Goriot

[

Old Goriot

]. A cathartic tale of paternal love and youthful ambition, the framework of the novel was sketched out in an undated note in which Balzac mused on the cruel situation of “un brave homme – pension bourgeoise – 600 fr. de rente – S’étant dépouillé pour ses filles qui toutes deux ont 50 000 fr. de rente, mourant comme un chien” [“a decent man – middle-class boarding house – 600 francs in income – Having ruined himself for the sake of his daughters who both have an income of 50 000 francs, dying like a dog”] (Balzac, H. de, 1976-81, 3: 5; this and all subsequent translations are my own).…

3449 words

Citation: Watts, Andrew. "Père Goriot". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 August 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2971, accessed 13 April 2024.]

2971 Père Goriot 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.