The Hated Son by Honoré de Balzac

L’Enfant Maudit
The Hated Son

This story promised more than it delivered, but I liked it nonetheless. It brought to mind an anecdote quoted by Orson Welles in his film Confidential Agent (aka Mr Arkadin):

“A scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked the frog to carry him. The frog refused because the scorpion would sting him. That would not be logical, explained the scorpion, because if he stung the frog they would both drown. So the frog agreed to carry the scorpion. Half way across, the frog felt a terrible pain – the scorpion had stung him. There is no logic in this, exclaimed the frog. I know, replied the scorpion, but I cannot help it – it is my nature.”

So it is with the Duc d’Herouville who, in effect, is responsible for the deaths of the two young lovers.


Read it here

Review by Jim, April 2008

2 comments on “The Hated Son by Honoré de Balzac

  1. guest says:

    That’s an apt reference.

    I’ve just skimmed the book. So far in Googling about it I can find only downloads of the book, not any commentary on it.


    • scamperpb says:

      There is a short commentary on this site. Click on “Saintsbury Criticism” at the upper right of the home page, then take a look at Volume VI, Part II.


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