Author(s): Honoré de Balzac
Illusions perdues was written by the French writer Honor de Balzac between 1837 and 1843. It consists of three parts, starting in the provinces, thereafter moving to Paris, and finally returning to provincial France. Thus it resembles another of Balzac's greatest novels, La Rabouilleuse (The Black Sheep), in that it is set partly in Paris and partly in the provinces. It is, however, unique among the novels and short stories of the Com die humaine by virtue of the even-handedness with which it treats both geographical dimensions of French social life. Lucien Chardon, the son of a lower middle-class father and an impoverished mother of remote aristocratic descent, is the pivotal figure of the entire work. Living at Angoul me, he is impoverished, impatient, handsome and ambitious. His widowed mother, his sister ve and his best friend, David S chard, do nothing to lessen his high opinion of his own talents, for it is an opinion they share.