Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) produced a huge collection of novels, novellas and short stories, earning him recognition as a great master of the novel, as well as one of the creators of literary realism. He collected and arranged his works under the name "La Comédie humaine", which he then divided into eight major topics. "Eugénie Grandet" was..
placed in the section titled, "Scenes from Provincial Life".
The story takes place in the French town of Saumur, where a miserly, but respected, man called old Grandet lives with his wife, servant, and daughter, Eugénie. Greedy and power-hungry, Grandet is a dominant force in the novel, as he is in his community and home.
Unable to entirely overcome the genetic and learned behaviors inherited from her father, Eugénie Grandet is a wonderfully human character, and her ability to draw sympathy without imposing judgments on the reader is testimony to Balzac's artistic skill as a novelist.