A Passion in the Desert
Honoré de Balzac
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Belletristik / Gemischte Anthologien
A Passion in the Desert (1830) is a short story by French author Honoré de Balzac. Written as part of his La Comédie humaine sequence, A Passion in the Desert is a frequently anthologized work of short fiction that explores humanity’s relationship with nature as well as the effects of conquest and colonization. The story was loosely adapted into a 1997 feature film and remains one of Balzac’s most acclaimed works. The story’s frame narrative begins after a man and woman attend a menagerie in Paris. The woman is horrified by what she has seen: a man working with a tamed hyena as though it were human. Her companion, the story’s narrator, reveals his experience in these matters, and agrees to tell her a tale reported to him by a crippled veteran of Napoleon’s conquests. This soldier, he explains, was captured by Ottoman forces during the emperor’s campaign in Egypt. Managing to escape, he fled across the desert on horseback toward the safety of the Nile. When his horse died from exhaustion, he continued on foot and discovered, in the damp protection of a cave, a sleeping panther. Terrified at first, he slowly came to an understanding with the creature, learning to live at her side without angering her or falling prey to her animal hunger. One day, however, emerging from the cave to admire an eagle in flight, he is struck with the feeling that the panther had become jealous, and devises a plan to escape her inevitable wrath. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Honoré de Balzac’s A Passion in the Desert is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.
Human Comedy, oasis, Sahara, leopard, lost in the desert, Napoleonic Wars, short story, Egypt, big cat, panther, French soldier