Synopses & Reviews
Bette, a poor relation of the beautiful Adeline, nurses a terrible grudge against her cousin's family, on whom she depends. That family is slowly being ruined by the uncontrollable sexual appetites of Adeline's husband, Baron Hulot--and it is this weakness that will give the cunning Cousin Bette an opportunity to exact her vengeance. A profound examination of obsessive passion, this masterpiece exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac's "huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality." One of Balzac's "scenes of Parisian life," Cousin Bette offers a hypnotic vision of the infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, and scandalous era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints that pass before us blaze with an unsurpassed vividness and energy.