"Lost Illusions" | A Reading Group with Ken Knabb

Please join us in reading and discussing Balzac's great novel Lost Illusions. We will be gathering every other Sunday at 4:30-7:00 p.m. around the Big Table in the back of the bookstore for six meetings (March 17 & 31, April 14 & 28, May 12 & 26), then we'll move on to the next works in our series.*

We will be using the translation by Kathleen Raine (Modern Library paperback). The bookstore has copies for purchase.

Participation is free, but donations of $10 or so per meeting are suggested to help support the bookstore, which provides us with a pleasant meeting space and complimentary wine, sandwiches, and cookies.

For more information, please contact Ken Knabb -- knabb@bopsecrets.org.

* * *

"Balzac is the epic poet of the barbarous age of industrial commercial civilization, what Marx called the period of primitive accumulation.

"[Both authors] even have certain emotional and personality traits in common. Both are daemonic writers driven by prophetic fury into rebellion against the human condition. This is overt in Marx, but is always there, just below the surface, in Balzac, ready to erupt in caustic analysis of human motivation. . . .

"Balzac’s daemonic possession distinguishes him from all other novelists. In the twenty years of his productivity he wrote more than any other major writer in history. Very little of it is hasty or slipshod, but it is all driven, and it drives the reader. His narrative method takes possession of you in a way that would not be seen again until the full development of the cinema. A novel by Balzac is an obsession which you are at liberty to adopt for a few hours." (Kenneth Rexroth) Visit bopsecrets.org/rexroth/cr/8.htm#Balzac for the full quote,

*"Exploring the Classics" is an ongoing group, led by Ken Knabb and hosted by University Press Books. During the past three years we have been reading and discussing Montaigne's Essays, Cervantes's Don Quixote, Fielding's Tom Jones, and several other classic works from 1500-1800. During the next three years we will be exploring some great novels and poems of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including works by Stendhal, Balzac, Marx, Flaubert, Blake, Whitman, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, D.H. Lawrence, Ford Madox Ford, and Doris Lessing. Following that, we will drop the exclusively European focus and embark on a journey through a wide range of earlier classics from all over the world.

Event date: 
Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 4:30pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
2430 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Lost Illusions (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
By Honoré de Balzac, Kathleen Raine (Translated by), Richard Howard (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780375757907
Availability: Ships from Warehouse, Usually in 1-8 Days
Published: Modern Library - November 13th, 2001

Those Halcyon Days

Even though the store takes a hiatus, it’s easy to imagine that long conversation amongst the great minds continuing around the Great Table, in our fancy, if not in Eternity, though we can agree to disagree about that.

How many can you identify?

Some are pretty obvious, others a little obscure. If educated outside the U.S. you might have an advantage in naming two or three. One makes for a fancy pose, but he’s actually a blockhead.

All have made significant contributions, even when shown demonstrably wrong. Nonetheless, we continue to argue with them because even when we argue with them, more often than not, we find them productively wrong.

We look forward to the time when you too can rejoin the conversation.

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Since our founding, we've added quality fiction and creative non-fiction to our selection, without drfiting from our mission to showcase top new texts introduced by university presses.

Order from us. Visit us. Let well-wrought words churn and burn within.