Honoré de Balzac


For most things Balzac, please visit La Comédie Humaine Blog.

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Love in a Mask

LoveForgottenBooksDinoByChabordThe manuscript of Love in a Mask, a gift to Princess Dorothea of Courland (Duchess of Dino, Duchess of Talleyrand, Duchess of Sagan), was first published over sixty years after Balzac’s death.

(Portrait of Princess Dorothea of Courland by Joseph Chabord circa 1830.)


In her book Women in the Life of Balzac, Juanita Helm Floyd wrote:

Balzac had met her in the salon of Madame Appony, but had never visited her in her home until 1836, when he went to Rochecotte to see the famous Prince de Talleyrand, having a great desire to have a view of the “witty turkeys who plucked the eagle and made it tumble into the ditch of the house of Austria.” Several years later, on his return from St. Petersburg, he stopped in Berlin, where he was invited to a grand dinner at the home of the Count and Countess Bresson. He gave his arm to the Duchesse de Talleyrand (ex-Dino), whom he thought the most beautiful lady present, although she was fifty-two years of age.

The Duchesse has left this appreciation of the novelist:

. . . his face and bearing are vulgar, and I imagine his ideas are equally so. Undoubtedly, he is a very clever man, but his conversation is neither easy nor light, but on the contrary, very dull. He watched and examined all of us most minutely.

Notwithstanding that the beautiful Dorothea did not admire Balzac, he was sincere in his appreciation of her. A novel recently brought to light, L’Amour Masque, or as the author first called it, Imprudence et Bonheur, was written for her. Balzac had been her guest repeatedly; he had recognized in her one of the rare women, who by their intelligence and, as it were, instinctive appreciation of genius can compensate to a great incompris like Balzac for the lack of recognition on the part of his contemporaries; one of those women near whom, thanks to tactful treatment, a depressed man will regain confidence in himself and courage to go on.


Title Page and A Note

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

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Thanks to Marc and Free Literature, this edition of Love in a Mask is now available in numerous formats at Project Gutenberg.


10 comments on “Honoré de Balzac

  1. Hey Dagny… This seems so interesting. Is the book in markets now? or is it only for some countries?
    Please tell me as you’ve really piqued my curiosity for this book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] The novel can be read online on Dagny’s blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BookerTalk says:

    I’m puzzled by the title of the book – A Hitherto Unpublished Novel …. a Hamm. Any idea what a Hamm is??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dagny says:

      I almost couldn’t find that “a Hamm.” Finally I noticed it on the cover image. That’s not the cover of the edition I have. Mine is just a plain navy-blue cover with Love in a Mask — Honoré de Balzac on the cover. There are no other contents in my edition.

      The cover indicates a “Classic Reprint Series” and it appears there may be an additional story included. But how odd if that is so that it’s just indicated in that manner, if that is even the case.


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