Read Catherine De Medici by Honoré de Balzac Online

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Title : Catherine De Medici
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781419112317
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Catherine De Medici Reviews

  • Lisa
    2019-03-29 01:20

    Ok, first of all, some info about Catherine de' Medici because Balzac begins by taking issue with her reputation, and I don't know much about her (even though I've visited the Château de Chenonceau from which she ruled, and admired her bedroom.)So, to Wikipedia: Catherine de' Medici (13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was born in Florence, Italy. Her parents, Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, died soon afterwards. She was placed in convents while The Powers That Be decided how best to use her, and in 1533, when she was only 14, she was married off to Henry, second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. She was Queen consort of France as his wife from 1547 to 1559 but Henry excluded Catherine from state affairs and instead was influenced by his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. (Who usurped Catherine's wish to have the chateau and Catherine didn't get it back until after Henry's death). When he died, as Catherine's frail young sons died one-by-one, she exercised great power as regent. So in an age when most women were powerless and dependent, Catherine de' Medici This period was one of constant civil and religious war in France. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Protestants, (Huguenots) but later she resorted to repressive measures including the notorious St Bartholomew's Day massacre when 1000s of Hugenots were killed. Historians now think that her ruthlessness was motivated by the need to keep the Valois throne intact when it was at serious risk of decline. She spent a fortune on the arts to enhance the prestige of the throne, but to no avail. Her death meant the end of the Valois dynasty.Ok, now I'm ready to read what Balzac has to say about her...Well, the first section is pretty much facts and figures about Catherine, and Balzac seems to be at pains to rescue her historical reputation. He seems rather liverish about the current post revolutionary state of affairs, describing France as 'a country occupied exclusively with material interests, without patriotism, without conscience' where 'brute force' is used to suppress popular violence and individualism will kill the family. I ended up confused. Balzac says he's out to rescue her reputation, and then he makes a point of showing how she put power ahead of her family, how she was ruthless and cruel. This may have been my fault for not paying proper attention, because I lost interest in it completely and only finished it out of sheer stubborness.

  • Andra Nicoara
    2019-04-25 23:08

    I hate sounding like a uncultured swine, but my god this was boring. I've never really liked Balzac much (bored me out of my mind back in school, and he still does apparently) but I really wanted to read about Catherine de Medici to find out more about her. Unfortunately, this book didn't really satisfy my curiosity. I'm not saying it doesn't have its charm, all those pages filled with descriptions of nature and France in general were great, but it lacked any sort of spirit. I know it isn't a proper novel, more like a historic account, but I still felt a bit deceived.

  • Bonnie Luckey
    2019-04-06 07:36

    I have been fascinated with Catherine De Medici for years and have read many books that referenced her many "supposed" crimes and misdemeanors. I was hoping for a fresh look at her life and an unbiased view of her motives as a power-broker, politician, wife and mother. I suppose I got a hint of that with this book but it was a struggle! I could barely get through the introduction. It was like reading a very poor translation of a convoluted history lesson. There were lots of very long names (which changed that person was given a new title) and it was difficult to stay focused. Once I got past the introduction, it improved a bit but began with a story about a young man who was caught up in a Calvinist conspiracy. It wasn't until well into the young man's tale that the connection to Catherine de Medici became more clear. Much of the book was about other people who lived at that period of history and how they percieved Catherine's motives. I learned some new things but it was a struggle and not what I would classify as an enjoyable read!

  • Dylan Lockhart
    2019-03-27 03:12

    Balzac nous présente trois histoires indépendantes et inégales sur le personnage de Catherine de Médecis : j’ai nettement préféré la première, Le Martyr Calviniste, très historique et émouvant avec des intrigues de cour. Les deux suivantes sont plus mystiques, pas vraiment immersives… mais toutes ont le même but : défendre Catherine de Médicis et la rendre plus humaine. Et ça, Balzac y est parvenu.[chronique complète à venir]

  • Anastasia
    2019-04-14 00:23

    Even though the book is half story, half political essay (written in completely different styles), I really enjoyed it. People say it's not really about Caterina de Medici but that's certainly not true. It might be a bit confusing because Balzac tries to explain the political and historical context of that time, and that took a while. However, in essence, I learned a lot about Caterina and her world and I understood her a bit better.

  • Inkling
    2019-04-13 04:24

    it was ok but, for a book on Catherine, she only appears once or twice in the book. And that is a bit disappointing because the author describes her as this fascinating character, but doesn't bring her into the story almost at all. Most of the book is about what other secondary characters do and EXTENSIVE (i cannot stress this word enough) descriptions of valleys and castles.Word of advice: please read on the Medicis family before you read the book. You might get lost in all the details about politics and relationship between the characters.

  • Ciobanu Petru
    2019-04-01 02:27

    Pretty hard book to read, but still i like the philosophical load it has and the approach the author took to combine history by demonstrating his point by narrating a situation at individual level and also on the grand scale.

  • Sally
    2019-04-14 05:17

    I read this just after completing Frieda's excellent biography on Catherine, and was glad to have a familiarity with her history. This, however, is not another biography or treatise on the lady.The first (main) section is a narrative of an idealistic young Calvinist who eagerly participates in a dangerous scheme to gain access to Catherine with communications from the Prince de Conde's faction. The descriptions of 16th century Paris and of court life are entrancing although Balzac had a very different take on certain situations from Frieda; he portrays her and her daughter-in-law Mary (later Queen of Scots) as antagonistic, so much so that she refuses her eldest son a life-saving trepanning operation in order to rid herself of Mary's hated Guise relatives (Frieda argues that the two women were quite close and dismisses the idea of Catherine letting her son die as propaganda.The second part of the book is a few years later; Catherine's second son, Charles IX, is now king- an unhappy and unwell young man, ever distrustful of his mother and her poisons. He brings in her alchemists, the Ruggieris, for questioning and here we have an explanation (went largely over my head) of their craft. The final short section is set at an aristocratic party in 1786. One of the guests claims to have seen and spoken with Catherine, where she explained her actions. 'To leave two hostile principles at work in a government with nothing to balance them is a crime...it is sowing the seed of revolutions'... 'A revolution' said she with a look of deep meaning, which is still progressing and which you may achieve- yes, YOU, who hear me'.Only in the last sentence do we learn that the two men are Robespierre and Marat.

  • Steve Schoenbeck
    2019-04-24 04:35

    This is essentially four stories, with the preface rather heavy on the history, and the last one rather a stretch to call it "about" Catherine De Medici. The principal story, though, "The Calvinist Martyr" is a riveting story.

  • Andu Ogodai
    2019-04-07 01:22

    This book should have been called the wall or the alleyway or the desk. Because it has literally more words about those objects than about Catherine de medici. But then again. I kinda enjoyed it in a weird way. Left me asking for more. And ended up studying the whole medici family history... So guess I'm thankful for that. I hate u Balzac. With all my burning passion I hope someone will first describe u the hell they re gonna send u and after a whole eternity has passed u realised that that was your hell to begin with. Feel so much better now

  • Haley
    2019-03-26 03:07

    Full review here...plus some Music Man! http://ilayreading.com/2015/11/23/cat...Apparently, this was released in several parts, and it is a collection of stories. Maybe when Balzac originally wrote it, the format made more sense. But as it is now–one moment there will be a section of semi-intriguing dialogue with a plotline. Then…BOOM…you run smack into a biography wall of boringness. And then you’re back into dialogue again in a different plotline with no introduction.

  • Leslie
    2019-04-13 04:07

    Last fall I visited Florence and Chenonceaux, the chateau King Henry II gave to his mistress, Diane. After Henry's death, Queen Catherine took back the castle. So I wanted to learn more about the story. I had almost forgotten what effort it is to read old classics., Balzac uses an excessive amount of words!I have set this book aside in favor of easier and more relevant reading... for now.

  • Erin-kate Sousa
    2019-04-11 06:34

    This was not an unenjoyable read but the personage it is suppose to be written about is not much present in the story the way one would expect of a bio. Plus I'm pretty sure the ending casts the book into questionable historical-fiction territory.

  • Cristina
    2019-04-26 00:37

    An interesting read if you like historical fiction.But at some times I just wanted to rush through all the historical facts, and at some points I was really intrigued and could not wait to see what happens next. And this is why I say "it was ok" .

  • Bogdan
    2019-04-16 04:23

    This is an interesting novel, but you need a lot of patience to go through the detailed description of places and events that only set the context. I am usually a patient reader, but others might not like this.

  • Maura
    2019-04-03 23:15

    Read this one night after not finding any unread books in the house and became captivated by the story. Good bad and ugly all of us can judge but to live in a time like that...wow you had to be resourceful or you lost your head... Literally.

  • Steve Gordon
    2019-04-16 02:08

    Though all the historic figures in this one can make your head spin at times, I still found it a good jaunt through a few episodes of dear Catherine's life. The novel bounces, at times rather anarchically, between "history," "historical fiction," and in the final chapter, "fiction."

  • Rachel
    2019-04-04 05:15

    This was neat. Not Balzac at his best, but an interesting take on what Catherine might have been like and the kind of intrigues she (and all rulers at that time) were up against.

  • Patricia
    2019-04-04 03:23

    I did enjoy this book and I like Balzac's style of writing. I would recommend it to those who like historical fiction.

  • Doreen Petersen
    2019-04-23 02:17

    Was a more enjoyable read than that of the Borgias but still a very disfunctional family.

  • Dagny
    2019-04-15 05:26

    Contains three individual studies, only one of which I enjoyed. Both historical and imaginary characters are presented.

  • Nick Park
    2019-04-10 05:30

    Absolute tripe. A 'biography' of one nasty piece of work, written by another nasty piece of work, in the form of a bad novel.

  • Lyndin
    2019-04-17 23:27

    For some reason I have an obsession with this woman!

  • Mihaela
    2019-03-31 06:14

    not my kind of book....

  • Ali
    2019-03-26 01:37

    در مورد بالزاک؛https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...