"Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is,
as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying," wrote V. S. Pritchett. A
late masterpiece in Balzac's "La Comedie Humaine, Cousin Bette is
the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful
upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions
against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as
Balzac's "huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of
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