Lost Illusions: Two Poets


Read by Bruce Pirie

(4.5 stars; 14 reviews)

Two Poets (1837) is the first book in Balzac’s Lost Illusions trilogy, which is part of his sweeping set of novels collectively titled La Comédie Humaine. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France, when the new bourgeoisie was jostling for position alongside the old aristocracy. We meet Lucien Chardon, a young provincial who romantically aspires to be a poet, and his friend David Séchard, who struggles to manage his father’s printing shop and falls in love with Lucien’s sister Ève. The picture of provincial life that emerges is laced with greed, ambition, and duplicity. Balzac’s work was hugely influential in the development of realism in fiction, and indeed in creating our sense of 19th-century European culture. Oscar Wilde archly said, “The 19th century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac’s.” The Lost Illusions trilogy is one of his greatest achievements, and is named in the reference work 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The two other volumes in the trilogy are A Distinguished Provincial at Paris (1839) and Ève and David (1843). (Summary by Bruce Pirie)

Other volumes in this series:
Lost Illusions: A Distinguished Provincial At Paris
Lost Illusions: Ève and David

(6 hr 22 min)

Chapters

Chapter 1 32:39 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 2 26:58 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 3 26:47 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 4 38:48 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 5 24:41 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 6 22:42 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 7 25:53 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 8 28:30 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 9 35:59 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 10 30:32 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 11 23:35 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 12 29:06 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 13 36:26 Read by Bruce Pirie

Reviews

Marvelous

(5 stars)

I've yet to finish listening to this most marvelous piece of Balzac's Lost Illusions trilogy. However, this is because, even though I know there are two more novels waiting for me after this fascinating first, I cannot bring myself to listen to the final chapter. My doing so is purely affirmative of its quality, though, as I want to be able to savor the 'finale' of Two Poets with a length of time appropriate to that of as one would take prior to a dessert after a dinner as sublime as reality itself. I also must add that Bruce Pirie's narration is also a joy.

Lost Illusions Two Poets

(5 stars)

Fantastic Book, Fantastic Reading! I can't wait to begin the Second book of the trilogy. As good a story as any modern one I have read. Every character became so real to me that I felt I knew them well not long into the story in fact, found myself forming prejudices towards some and deep reverence for others. By far my favorite reader yet! Thank you!