The Chouans

The Chouans, by Honoré de Balzac
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Naturally she refuses but he helps her anyway and sends her off to the hovel of Galope-Chopin, a local whose help can be bought by either side. Hiding there, Marie is surprised by the Comte de Bauvac, also hiding out. So off goes Marie, makes up with Montauran and confesses that yes, she is the illegitimate daughter of the Marquis de Vermeuill and has been forced by circumstances to fend for herself. After her mother went into a nunnery to absolve her shame and then died, her father the marquis took her in and left her money in his Will. But when he died his son challenged the Will and — having become used to a life of luxury — Marie went to live with an elderly gent of 70 who became her guardian.

Paris society of course thought that she was his courtesan and he left Paris in embarrassment, leaving her penniless. Imprudently she then married Danton, rival of Robespierre, but had to embark on her life of intrigue when he died leaving her again penniless. He sets off to organise the priest and witnesses but meanwhile the hunt for him is on. After Corentin has left, Galope-Chopin comes home, and discovers what Barbette has done.

Marche a Terre and Pille-Miche arrive and behead him as a traitor.

The Chouans by Honoré de Balzac

He arranges for her to receive a letter purporting to be a love-letter from Montauran to Mme de Gua. Marie is furious, denounces him to Hulot and then sets off to confront him. When they meet, of course, she realises the letter was from Corentin and bitterly regrets her actions.

They marry, spend a blissful night together and then try to flee. So, things went badly awry for Marie. She fell for Montauran and ended up double-crossing herself and everyone else. Corentin retaliated by fooling her into believing that Montauran loved her rival Mme de Gua and so Marie ordered Hulot to destroy the rebels.

They died, the day after they were married. Well, what else could Balzac do? You are commenting using your WordPress.

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You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Sometimes I feel within me that longing towards devotion which makes my sex so nobly beautiful; and then I feel a desire, which consumes me, for dominion and power. Perhaps it is the natural struggle of the good and the evil principle in which all creatures live here below. But we women understand better than you men can do our own shortcomings. We have an instinct which shows us a perfection in all things to which, nevertheless, we fail to attain.

But, that which enhances us in your eyes is that we are all struggling, more or less, against a thwarted destiny. Il romanzo si sviluppa in una narrazione continuata, con pochi rapidi richiami al passato, in tre grandi blocchi non ulteriormente suddivisi: Ci troviamo nel paese dei "Gars", che sono paragonati ai Mohicani Balzac era stato impressionato dal romanzo di James Fenimore Cooper: Da entrambe le parti, senza schierarsi apertamente, Balzac mette in scena caratteri forti, indomabili e agguerriti; e anche buontemponi capaci di scherzare persino mentre fischiano le pallottole.

Sep 02, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: Balzac is one of France's greatest storytellers and this particular thriller is one of his most spine-tingling ones. The Chouans were a counter-revolutionary movement during the French Revolution that occurred in the region between Brittany and Nantes and Balzac places his story in this accurate historic contest.

The book is fast-paced and an extraordinary read and highly memorable. Prea au un aer circumspect. Jun 07, P. Lively story, Dizzying pace and headstrong characters. C'est une belle surprise que ce roman De Balzac! This is an odd book. First off, you can tell the influence of Walter Scott - in good ways and also bad ways: Secondly, I never really knew what Balzac's position was on any This is an odd book.

Secondly, I never really knew what Balzac's position was on anything - who were we supposed to see as the good guys and who the bad guys? It certainly wasn't a Thackarey-style "novel without a hero" because we're often told how good some people are, when they also behave abominably The Gars, for example, in a fit of pique orders the execution of Republican soldiers who have been housed under his supposed protection - and he's the nominal romantic hero. To be honest, by the end I was willing Hulot and even Corentin on to despatch The Gars and Marie de Verneuil, because the pair were just too damned selfish and didn't seem to care how many soldiers' lives they risked for their truncated love affair.

I thought that Hulot was a much more interesting character. So, the romance I didn't really buy into, but the action was cracking especially as it takes in a little-used period of French history, a civil war within a civil war. Like all Balzac, it's slow to start and he has to ensure that you know where all the pieces on his chess board are before he can actually tell you anything, but overall it was definitely worth reading - the scene where The Gars is pestered from all sides by allies wanting guarantees of preference if they help the King, just before a ball begins, is a masterpiece, especially when he throws his royal seal into the fire and proclaims that they can all go home and that he only wants people fighting for him who do so for principles; it's a tense and exciting scene.

I have to say though, had it been another pages longer it would have been pushing it. Feb 18, Alina Maria Ciobanu rated it really liked it.

Les coeurs de Chouans

The plot was engaging and I found out interesting facts about the history of France. Novel The Chouans is translated into English rarely seen on classic reading lists. I took a chance and really was suprised how good it was! Feb 23, Elizabeth Alaska rated it it was amazing Shelves: This added further to my knowledge of the French Revolution.

It takes place in in Brittany, where people of deep religious conviction resided. The Republic had virtually outlawed religion and gave the churches themselves "to the people. There is a lot of plot to this This added further to my knowledge of the French Revolution. There is a lot of plot to this. It opens with a skirmish between the Republican "Blues" and the Chouans at a promontory called La Pelerine.

Much of this novel is the conflict between these groups. There is also a rather nice romance between a beautiful woman hired by the Blues at , francs to bewitch the chief of the Chouans - the Gars - and to betray him so that he could be killed. As the reader gets deeper into the novel, it becomes quite a good thriller. Though there is the excellent plot, Balzac manages to find a way for decent characterization as well - decent, not excellent or perfect.

Here he finds a way to express rage: On this occasion the tone of smothered rage with which he uttered the words made his two friends silent and circumspect. Even the pits of the small-pox which dented that veteran face seemed deeper, and the skin itself browner than usual. His broad queue, braided at the edges, had fallen upon one of his epaulettes as he replaced his three-cornered hat, and he flung it back with such fury that the ends became untied. I've often been surprised at Balzac's ability to draw believable women. On the other hand, this, his first novel, missed the mark slightly.

There is one thing remarkable about women: The edition I read is in the collection: I have no way of comparing this translation, but I thought it read wonderfully as you might know from my 5-stars. View all 3 comments. Les Chouans was a huge disappointment for me. I had expected the type of psychological and sociological analysis at which Balzac excels of the Breton peasants who participated in the Chouan Rebellion against the new Republic created by the French Revolution. Instead I got an historical romance in the tradition of Walter Scott for which the Chouan Insurgency was a mere background.

Les Chouans is one of Balzac's earlier novels and very simply one of his weaker efforts. Balzac has given us many exce Les Chouans was a huge disappointment for me. Balzac has given us many excellent works. I cannot see any good reason for anyone to waste his or her time with this second-rate book.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This isn't a review; it's just a summary from my reading journal. There are spoilers throughout. In the end I had to download it from Project Gutenberg but couldn't bear reading it on a computer screen and in the end I printed out all pages of it. It was a horrible and wasteful way to read a book! Thank goodness I now have a Kindle and can download Balzac from This isn't a review; it's just a summary from my reading journal.

Thank goodness I now have a Kindle and can download Balzac from manybooks. Since there has been a helpful plot summary and background info about the revolution on Wikipedia, http: What follows is my interpretation of events The Royalists are still in rebellion and they have used the local Chouans to create an insurgency. Hulot, a professional soldier, has been sent to suppress it, and he's the only one in the whole story whose loyalty doesn't waver. He serves France, and he fights according to his code of honour. These rustic Chouans rise up in support of the King-in-Exile and his supporters, who include the British , their leader being one Marche-a-Terre.

This man dresses in furs and seems indistinguishable in the rural landscape, a handy attribute for a guerilla. The Chouans are their own men, but they are also in league with 'Le Gars' an alias for the royalist leader, the Marquis de Montauran. In the beginning we are not at all sure about the loyalties of the other characters. Marie de Vermeuill has been sent by Paris to seduce Montauran and so subdue the rebellion, and she's been paid , francs to do it.

She is accompanied by her maid Francine, whose lover is Marche a Terre, the leader of the Chouans i. Though it's not clear if she still loves Marche a Terre, later on when Marie is in peril, this maid draws on his love for her to protect her mistress. Anyway, although Balzac's story includes military operations, it's not really about the Chouans - the focus is really a love story about a treacherous woman who loses her heart to a man on the opposite side of the political fence, and it epitomises the human cost of the revolutionary period in France.

At the start of the story the Chouans in support of the Royalists attack the Republicans led by Commander Hulot and they attract many of the local peasants to their cause.

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This infuriates Hulot a stolid old soldier who serves the government of the day whoever it is but likes to have his military judgement respected and he resigns, but he has to come back when his replacement Captain Merle is shot in an act of treachery caused by Mme de Gua. Marie meets up with this Madame de Gua at an inn on the road, and is immediately entranced by her 'son' who, as it turns out, is the leader of the Royalists, Montauran i. Mme de Gua is instantly suspicious of Marie, not to mention extremely jealous. She's travelling disguised as the mother of 'Le Gars' but she's obviously much too young to be his mother The story sometimes verges on farce as the plot twists and turns.

This was Balzac's first serious story but the melodramatic influence of his previous pot-boilers shows in his style. Marie makes her way to Viveterre where she is supposed to have safe passage after 'Le Gars' gave her his grey glove. But Mme de Gua is there, and she suspects Marie. A rumour that she was a Parisian courtesan circulates, and Montauran goes cold on her. Marie denies the rumours but she has to flee and the suspicion of treachery leads to the massacre of 65 of Hulot's men by the Chouans. Inevitably they meet up again and resolve the issue but the reader isn't sure who is duping whom.

Marie hides out in the house of a miser and witnesses his torture at the hands of Marche a Terre's cruel offsider Pille-Miche. She's so beautiful that after she pretends to be a ghost and the other men flee! Naturally she refuses but he helps her anyway and sends her off to the hovel of Galope-Chopin, a local whose help can be bought by either side. Hiding there, Marie is surprised by the Comte de Bauvac, also hiding out.

Anyway, he gives her safe passage to go to a Ball that Montauran is holding which seems a little odd in the middle of a war but I guess that's why the aristocrats lost the battle, eh? So off goes Marie, makes up with Montauran and confesses that yes, she is the illegitimate daughter of the Marquis de Vermeuill and has been forced by circumstances to fend for herself. After her mother went into a nunnery to absolve her shame and then died, her father the marquis took her in and left her money in his Will.

But when he died his son challenged the Will and - having become used to a life of luxury - Marie went to live with an elderly gent of 70 who became her guardian. Paris society of course thought that she was his courtesan and he left Paris in embarrassment, leaving her penniless. Imprudently she then married Danton, rival of Robespierre, but had to embark on her life of intrigue when he died leaving her again penniless.

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Montauran decides to overlook all this and to marry her so they agree to meet at Marie's house in Fougeres. He sets off to organise the priest and witnesses but meanwhile the hunt for him is on. Corentin, Fouche's wily spy, manages to find out about his whereabouts from Barbette, the wife of Galope-Chopin, who doesn't realise she's dealing with the Blues Republicans because Corentin has disguised himself as a Chouan.

It doesn't help the confusion that Balzac keeps using different names for his characters and the opposing sides. After Corentin has left, Galope-Chopin comes home, and discovers what Barbette has done. He's furious and sends her away, but it's too late. Marche a Terre and Pille-Miche arrive and behead him as a traitor. Barbette comes back to find his head swinging from the door and tells her son to serve the Blues to avenge his father's death. She actually makes the child wear his father's bloodied boot! So now Barbette's allegiance really swings to the Republicans and she goes off to tell Hulot and Corentin about the smoke signal that will reveal Montauran's arrival at Fougeres.

Now aware of Marie's treachery, Corentin plots her downfall using guile to do it. He arranges for her to receive a letter purporting to be a love-letter from Montauran to Mme de Gua. Marie is furious, denounces him to Hulot and then sets off to confront him. When they meet, of course, she realises the letter was from Corentin and bitterly regrets her actions.

They marry, spend a blissful night together and then try to flee. Marie disguises herself in Montauran's clothes to try to draw fire away from him while he, dressed as a Chouan, climbs down a ladder provided by Marche a Terre but he is shot and they die in each others arms as Corentin and Hulot squabble about the dishonourable way the deed was done.

So, things went badly awry for Marie. She fell for Montauran and ended up double-crossing herself and everyone else.

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Les Chouans is an novel by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (–) and included in the Scènes de la vie militaire section of his. The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising or counter-revolution in 12 of the western In guerilla warfare, Chouans in groups of a few score or a few hundred men ambushed military detachments, couriers and stagecoaches carrying.

She abandoned Corentin, her co-conspirator from Paris and because she couldn't stand the rough-and-ready Chouans, she came up with her own plan - to marry their leader, i. Corentin retaliated by fooling her into believing that Montauran loved her rival Mme de Gua and so Marie ordered Hulot to destroy the rebels. She found out the truth too late, and she couldn't save Montauran. They died, the day after they were married. Well, what else could Balzac do?

The Chouans, by Honoré de Balzac « La Comedie Humaine by Balzac

History was already written, and he couldn't have a Royalist leader and his traitorous bride live happily ever after, eh? At one point even a mustache is twirled! I will say it might have been helpful for one of fhe allied planners to have read this before DDay because Balzac gives a very detailed description of the Norman field system and the difficulty of military units passing through, let alone fighting in, the Bocage. But with Les Chouans that changed. While this novel, written in the style of Sir Walter Scott, was not well-reviewed at the time of its publication, it set the stage for what was to follow, plus works by one of the most prolific of writers, who would come to be viewed as the father of Realism in literature and a major literary influence of the 19th century, the man who inspired Proust, Marx and Engels, Henry James, Charles Baudelaire, Flaubert and countless others.

Set in the days after the French Revolution this novel tells the story of the Chouans, Breton peasants who sided with the Royalists over the Republicans and fought to restore the throne in the days after the 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon to power. Will Marie betray Montauran? Does Montauran really love Marie as he says he does? Does his heart really belong to the woman who poses as his mother, Madame du Gua? Can the vile spy Corentin woo Marie and win her over Montauran?

Balzac plays with these ideas back and forth, like a cat swatting a ball of yarn to and fro between its paws, to the point of tedium.

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The novel could have easily been a novella or could have been strengthened with richer subplots. This historical novel was enough to give Balzac his start and the rest is history. Mar 06, Casey rated it liked it Shelves: Be prepared for every character, place, and group in this book to be referred to by multiple names, even in the same paragraph. The Royalists are uprising against Bonaparte, and even though he has granted them amnesty for all past wrong-doings, the Royalists will not stand down.

Mademoiselle Marie de Verneuil, and her accomplice Francine, have been sent by Bonaparte to seduce Marquis de Montauran to undermine the Royalist uprising - to hand over The Gars to the Republicans.

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Verneuil meets Montauran in an inn by chance and she does not immediately know who he is, although she quickly concludes who he must be. Verneuil and Francine join Montauran on his travels because Verneuil and Montauran have an instant attraction to each other.

Du Gua becomes fiercely jealous of Verneuil and suspects her of treachery. Verneuil begins to truly fall in love with Montauran and is faced with a crisis; Montauran is aware of what Verneuil has been sent to do, but he cannot help but have feelings for her as well. Parallel to this romance is Francine and Marche-a-Terre who are also in love under the same predicament.

Madame du Gua spends her time declaring Verneuil a strumpet and plotting her downfall. One instance actually involves physically attacking Verneuil to get a letter out of her corset.