Catherine de Medici by Honoré de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley

By Honoré de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Philosophical reports from The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine). includes The Calvinist Martyr, The Ruggieri's mystery and the 2 desires. by means of the French writer, who, besides Flaubert, is mostly considered as a founding-father of realism in ecu fiction. His huge output of works, jointly entitled The Human Comedy (La Comedie Humaine), involves ninety five entire works (stories, novels and essays) and forty eight unfinished works. His tales are an try and understand and depict the realities of lifestyles in modern bourgeois France. they're put in numerous settings, with characters reappearing in a number of tales.

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The product of liberty of will, religious liberty, and political liberty (not, observe this, to be confounded with civil liberty) is the France of to-day. What is the France of 1840? A country occupied exclusively with material interests,--without patriotism, without conscience; where power has no vigor; where election, the fruit of liberty of will and political liberty, lifts to the surface none but commonplace men; where brute force has now become a necessity against popular violence; where discussion, spreading into everything, stifles the action of legislative bodies; where money rules all questions; where individualism--the dreadful product of the division of property /ad infinitum/--will suppress the family and devour all, even the nation, which egoism will some day deliver over to invasion.

When we study the march of events and that of men in this curious sixteenth century, we ought never to forget that public policy had for its element a perpetual craftiness and a dissimulation which destroyed, in all characters, the straightforward, upright bearing our imaginations demand of eminent personages. In this, above all, is Catherine's absolution. It disposes of the vulgar and foolish accusations of treachery launched against her by the writers of the Reformation. This was the great age of that statesmanship the code of which was written by Macchiavelli as well as by Spinosa, by Hobbes as well as by Montesquieu,--for the dialogue between Sylla and Eucrates contains Montesquieu's true thought, which his connection with the Encyclopedists did not permit him to develop otherwise than as he did.

Were no injury to the Calvinists, and therefore the causes of these two events remained in their secret sphere, and were never suspected either by the writers of the people of that day; they were not divined except by de Thou, l'Hopital, and minds of that calibre, or by the leaders of the two parties who were coveting or defending the throne, and believed such means necessary to their end. Popular songs attacked, strangely enough, Catherine's morals. , singing, as he did so, a song in which the queen was grossly insulted.

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