Le Cousin Pons

Honoré de Balzac

Le Cousin Pons () is one of the last of the 94 works of Honoré de Balzac’s Comédie humaine, which are in novel and short story form. Begun in 1846 as a novella or long-short story, it was envisaged as one part of a diptych, Les Parents pauvres (The Poor Relations), the other part of which was La Cousine Bette (Cousin Bette). The book was originally published as a serial in Le Constitutionnel. The novella grew in 1847 into a full-length novel, with a male poor relation, Pons, as its subject, whereas La Cousine Bette describes the female aspect of that subordinate relationship. The novels form a dyptych. Le Cousin Pons was classified by Balzac as the second episode of Les Parents pauvres, the first episode being La Cousine Bette. Especially admired by Paul Bourget, it is one of the very greatest of his novels.