The Deserted Woman
Honoré de Balzac
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When young Gaston moves to Bayeux, a small province in Normandy, he feels stranded. Though he would rather spend his time in the capital city, Gaston must stay in Bayeux until he recovers from his illness. He feels unsatisfied and bored, until he hears the rumor about a woman living as a recluse on the countryside. Victomtesse de Beauseant is a beautiful woman who had been abandoned by her husband many years ago. Devastated, and now stuck in a loveless marriage because she cannot get a divorce, she lives in isolation. Gaston is moved by her story and becomes fixated, desperate to meet her. When he finally gets the courage to visit her home, Victomtesse de Beauseant is flattered by his infatuation, and despite her being ten years his senior, Beauseant and Gaston become lovers. However, their private paradise is soon interrupted by Gaston’s disapproving mother, who is pressuring him to marry a woman he does not love. As rumors grow and Gaston’s mother becomes more persistent, Gaston and Victomtesse’s love is tested and threatened like never before.
The Deserted Woman exemplifies Honoré de Balzac’s extraordinary literary ability that has influenced esteemed authors such as Henry James and Charles Dickens. With intricate prose and unparalleled compassion, Honoré de Balzac explores the too-common predicament of women trapped in unhappy relationships. The Deserted Woman tells the emotional tale of the pressure society put on women and men to enter marriages that prioritized social and financial compatibility over a real, mutual, love connection. Though it does not exist to such an extent in Western society, Balzac’s The Deserted Woman invites readers to consider how this spirit of unhealthy marriages is still alive in modern relationships. Balzac dedicated much of his career to the pursuit of capturing all aspects of society with his realist lens, creating celebrated work that influences the perspective of society.
This edition of The Deserted Woman by Honoré de Balzac features a striking new cover design and is reprinted in a modern, easy-to-read font, creating an approachable reading experience for a contemporary audience.
lover, Baron, betrayal, France, abandonment, Gaston, Human Comedy, loveless marriage, Victomtesse de Beauseant, recluse