Honoré de Balzac

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pages: 251 words: 44,888

The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart: 1200 Essential Words Every Sophisticated Person Should Be Able to Use by Bobbi Bly

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Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Anton Chekhov, British Empire, Columbine, Donald Trump, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, John Nash: game theory, Network effects, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, school vouchers, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

temporal (tem-PORE-uhl), adjective Relating to time. “Science is the language of the TEMPORAL world; love is that of the spiritual world.” – Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright temporize (TEHM-puh-rize), verb To gain time by being evasive or indecisive. When an officious socialite tries to get too close to us, we do not feel the need to TEMPORIZE with our response; we simply remind her of her place. tenacious (tuh-NAY-shuss), adjective Persistent, stubborn, obstinate. “Women are TENACIOUS, and all of them should be TENACIOUS of respect; without esteem they cannot exist; esteem is the first demand that they make of love.” – Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright tendentious (ten-DEN-she-us), adjective Describes statements or actions designed to promote one’s beliefs or point of view.

 

pages: 559 words: 174,054

The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug by Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K. Bealer

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British Empire, clean water, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Haight Ashbury, Honoré de Balzac, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Lao Tzu, placebo effect, spice trade, trade route, traveling salesman

Cole concludes with what may be the first attempt to link cardiovascular pathology with chronic caffeine use: If it be true, as it has been held, that the continued disturbance of the function of an organ will induce change of structure, what are we to expect from the use of tea twice a day, when it deranges the function of the heart for three or four hours after each time of its being taken? If the answer be, that it may be expected to induce some structural disease, there arises this other question,—May not the greater prevalence of cardiac disease of late years have been considerably influenced by the increased consumption of coffee and tea?58 Les Cafêomanes: Honoré de Balzac and the Pleasures and Pains of Caffeine Coffee is an affair of fifteen or twenty days; just the right amount of time to write an opera. —Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (1792–1868) to Balzac Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), one of the greatest and most prolific storytellers in history, was unquestionably a drug addict. His drug of choice was caffeine. Because he was unacquainted with the chemical itself, Balzac, like many other caffeine enthusiasts before him, equated the effects of caffeine with those of its primary vehicle, coffee.

In 1905, Starling coined the term hormone, from the Greek “hormon,” or “impelling,” and originated the conception of hormones as chemical messengers, carried by the bloodstream to sites where they control bodily processes. In consequence of Starling’s idea, dynamic metabolic theories progressively supplanted earlier diasthentic theories of pathology, which had referred illness to permanent structural or constitutional predispositions or tendencies of the body, either hereditary or acquired, that rendered it liable to certain special diseases. 59. Honoré de Balzac, Traité des Excitants Modernes, unpublished translation by Robert Onopa. 60. Arnaud Baschet, Honoré de Balzac: Essai sur l’Homme et sur l’Oeuvre, Paris: Giraud et Dagneau, 1852; Geneva: Slatkin, 1973. Quoted in Graham Robb, Balzac: A Biography, p. 401. CHAPTER 8 postscript 1. We know that, in the context of religious devotions, the Buddhists of China and the Sufis of Arabia had each relied on their own caffeinated beverage to help them conform to the discipline of prayer and meditation.

 

pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, very high income, We are the 99%

To be sure, it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of the intuitive knowledge that everyone acquires about contemporary wealth and income levels, even in the absence of any theoretical framework or statistical analysis. Film and literature, nineteenth-century novels especially, are full of detailed information about the relative wealth and living standards of different social groups, and especially about the deep structure of inequality, the way it is justified, and its impact on individual lives. Indeed, the novels of Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac paint striking portraits of the distribution of wealth in Britain and France between 1790 and 1830. Both novelists were intimately acquainted with the hierarchy of wealth in their respective societies. They grasped the hidden contours of wealth and its inevitable implications for the lives of men and women, including their marital strategies and personal hopes and disappointments. These and other novelists depicted the effects of inequality with a verisimilitude and evocative power that no statistical or theoretical analysis can match.

When such problems arise, the least imperfect method of measuring the capital share of income may be to apply a plausible average rate of return to the capital/income ratio. At this stage, the orders of magnitude given above (β = 600%, α = 30%, r = 5%) may be taken as typical. For the sake of concreteness, let us note, too, that the average rate of return on land in rural societies is typically on the order of 4–5 percent. In the novels of Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac, the fact that land (like government bonds) yields roughly 5 percent of the amount of capital invested (or, equivalently, that the value of capital corresponds to roughly twenty years of annual rent) is so taken for granted that it often goes unmentioned. Contemporary readers were well aware that it took capital on the order of 1 million francs to produce an annual rent of 50,000 francs. For nineteenth-century novelists and their readers, the relation between capital and annual rent was self-evident, and the two measuring scales were used interchangeably, as if rent and capital were synonymous, or perfect equivalents in two different languages.

I will consider various forms of wealth (land, buildings, machinery, firms, stocks, bonds, patents, livestock, gold, natural resources, etc.) and examine their development over time, starting with Great Britain and France, the countries about which we possess the most information over the long run. But first I want to take a brief detour through literature, which in the cases of Britain and France offers a very good introduction to the subject of wealth. The Nature of Wealth: From Literature to Reality When Honoré de Balzac and Jane Austen wrote their novels at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the nature of wealth was relatively clear to all readers. Wealth seemed to exist in order to produce rents, that is, dependable, regular payments to the owners of certain assets, which usually took the form of land or government bonds. Père Goriot owned the latter, while the small estate of the Rastignacs consisted of the former.

 

pages: 401 words: 108,855

Cultureshock Paris by Cultureshock Staff

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Anton Chekhov, clean water, haute couture, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Louis Pasteur, QWERTY keyboard, Skype, telemarketer, urban renewal, young professional

Private school with an international population of students from two to six years old. 17e: La Petite École Bilingue; 8 place de la Porte de Champerret; tel: 01.43.80.25.34; fax: 01.43.80.37.40; website: http://petiteecolebilingue.free.fr. For children from preschool to fifth grade, offers education in French/ English and French/ Russian. Bilingual Elementary/High Schools 7e: Collège-Lycée International de Paris Honoré de Balzac; 118 boulevard Bessières; tel: 01.53.11.12.13; website: http://lyc-balzac.scola.ac-paris.fr/ Public French school that offers free bilingual education, adapted to the needs of international students. 15e: École Active Bilingue Jeannine-Manuel; 70 rue du Théâtre; tel: 01.44. 37.00.80; website: http://www.eabjm.com. Preparations for the American SAT, French or International Baccalaureate, with most substantive courses taught in English.

English words such as ‘weekend’ and ‘snack’ have also made their way into daily usage, producing ‘le weekend’ and ‘le snack’. And a bus driver who drives too quickly is routinely called ‘un cowboy’. Parlez-vous Francais? 295 L’Académie Française To be elected as one of the ‘40 immortals’ of the French Academy is one of the highest honours a person can receive. Among the approximately 300 former Academy members are Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas (the son), Honoré de Balzac, François-René de Chateaubriand, Eugène Ionesco, Alexis de Tocqueville and, surprisingly, the French-born American writer Julien Green who lived in Paris and wrote in French. Green was the first non-French national to be elected. It was not until 1980 that a woman, novelist Marguerite Yourcenar, was elected. HISTORY OF FRENCH The first written example of early French—not the version we know today—dates as far back as 862.

 

pages: 142 words: 5,823

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller

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half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Honoré de Balzac

Not all children of narcissistically deprived mothers have to suffer from such a disturbance. The siblings can usually obtain a certain freedom when one child has already accepted this role. Children who have a nurse or another stranger caring for them from the beginning are usually freer to develop in their own way because they are less often the object of narcissistic cathexis. In his novel Le Lys dans la vallée, Honoré de Balzac described his childhood. His mother preferred his brother, gave Honoré first into the care of a nurse and then sent him away to school. He suffered greatly and all his life courted his mother in the guise of different women. But perhaps he was fortunate that this mother did not use him as a glorification of herself. The very hopelessness of his wooing gave him the possibility of developing his own emotional wealth and the ability to freely develop his ex31 ceptional capacity for suffering.

 

pages: 564 words: 153,720

Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast

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business climate, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Honoré de Balzac, land reform, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, open economy, out of africa, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

In 1710, rather than boiling coffee, the French first made it by the infusion method, with powdered coffee suspended in a cloth bag, over which boiling water was poured. Soon they also discovered the joys of sweetened “milky coffee.” The Marquise de Sévigné declared this form of coffee “the nicest thing in the world,” and many French citizens took to café au lait, particularly for breakfast. French writer Honoré de Balzac did not trifle with such milky coffee, though. He consumed finely pulverized roasted coffee on an empty stomach with virtually no water. The results were spectacular. “Everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop.”

See also Beer Alien Property Act All About Coffee (Ukers) Allen, Frederick Lewis Almeida Prado, Francisco Augusto American Can Company American Coffee Corporation American Psychiatric Association American Retail Federation American Sugar Refining Company Amin Amos ‘n’ Andy radio show Anderson, Jack Anderson, Thomas Angelico, Irene Angola Anti-chain legislation Appendicitis Arabs Arbenz Guzmán, Jacobo Arbuckle, John and Charles premium program of Arduino, Teresio Arévalo, Juan José Argentina Argus (Albany, New York) Arnold, Benjamin Arnold, Edwin Lester Aro Coffee Aron, J. Aronson, Steve Asner, Ed Assassinations Associated Coffee Industries of America Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPG) Atha, Frank P. Atrocities. See also Death squads; Massacres Attala, Jorge Wolney Automobiles Avicenna (Arabian physician) Baba Budan Baby boomers Bach, Johann Sebastian Baldwin, Jerry Balzac, Honoré de Balzac, Richard Bankruptcies Banks Barillas, Lisandro Baristas Barnouw, Erik Barrios, Justo Rufino (General) Beecham, R. K. (Captain) Beekman, Bert Beer Beeson, Emmet Beethoven, Ludwig van Belgian Congo Benitez, Sandra Benton and Bowles agency Bentz, Melitta Berlin, Irving Bernardes, Artur da Silva Bersten, Ian Bezzera, Luigi B. Friele & Sons B. G. Arnold & Company Bible Bickford, Clarence Biedak, Bernie Billings, John Biodiversity Birds Bitter Grounds (Benitez) Black, William Blackburn, Joseph E.

 

pages: 225 words: 189

The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War by Robert D. Kaplan

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Berlin Wall, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, edge city, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Peace of Westphalia, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unemployed young men, Yom Kippur War

And yet it is a principle function of social science to accumulate information precisely on what people are not afraid to talk about in front of a researcher's tape recorder (which is also why conventional journalism is often the most deceptive form of reporting on a society). Literature, alas, may be the only salvation for the policy elite, because in the guise of fiction a writer can more easily tell * See Diani's introduction to Honoré de Balzac, The Bureaucrats (Evanston, 111.: Northwestern University Press, 1993). C O N R A D ' S NOSTROMO A N D THE T H I R D W O R L D / 159 the truth. And in literature's vast canon there is no book of which I am aware that both defines and dissects the problems with the world just beyond our own as well as Joseph Conrad's Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard, a 1904 novel about Westerners and indigenous inhabitants of an imaginary South American country, Costaguana.* Nostromo is neither overly descriptive and moodily vague like Conrad's Heart of Darkness, nor is its ending entirely unhappy.

 

pages: 230 words: 62,294

The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry From Crop to the Last Drop by Gregory Dicum, Nina Luttinger

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California gold rush, clean water, corporate social responsibility, cuban missile crisis, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, European colonialism, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, land reform, land tenure, open economy, price stability, Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place

Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of wit start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder. —HONORÉ DE BALZAC, Treatise on Modern Stimulants (1852) Preface COFFEE IS AN ANCIENT COMMODITY that weaves together a mosaic of histories dating back more than a millennium and stretching all the way around the world. Its story extends from the bustling cafés of sixteenth-century Cairo to the human misery of eighteenth-century Dutch colonial slavery, from the booming growth of Brazil in the nineteenth century to the modern-day coffeehouse imperialism of Starbucks.

 

pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Within a generation, we were no longer unconscious of the unconscious: the ground of unacknowledged motivations became the central figure for a culture in thrall to 43 CHAPTER 3 psychoanalysis. It is not that artists before Freud were oblivious to inexplicable motivations and hidden meanings—think of Macbeth’s dammed spot—but rather that after Freud, those factors that formed the ground for artists from Aeschylus to Shakespeare to Honoré de Balzac were transformed into the very figure of the work. Uncovering the unconscious in postFreud art and culture was easier than fishing with dynamite. Just think of the way that Alfred Hitchcock treated poor Jimmy Stewart in film after film: crippled, castrated, and frustrated. If you go looking for the unconscious in Rear Window, Rope, and Vertigo, how could you not find it? Psychologists call this “selective perception.”

 

pages: 373 words: 80,248

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cal Newport, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, statistical model, uranium enrichment

English professors, who see novels as divorced from society, speak in the obscure vocabulary of deconstructionism, disempowering and emasculating the very works they study. Writers from Euripides to Russell Banks have used literature as both a mirror and a lens, to reflect back to us, and focus us on, our hypocrisy, moral corruption, and injustice. Literature is a tool to enlighten societies about its ills. It was Charles Dickens who directed the attention of middle-class readers to the slums and workhouses of London. It was Honoré de Balzac who, through the volumes of his Human Comedy, ripped open the callous heart of France. It was Sinclair Lewis who took us into the stockyards and shantytowns of Chicago in The Jungle. In the hands of academics, however, who rarely understand or concern themselves with the reality of the world, works of literature are eviscerated and destroyed. They are mined for obscure trivia and irrelevant data.

 

pages: 304 words: 96,930

Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture by Taylor Clark

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Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deskilling, Edmond Halley, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, McJob, McMansion, Naomi Klein, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route

Once the thinkers of the Enlightenment caught on to the bean’s powers, the Western world’s rich tradition of tweaking on coffee began in earnest. Artists, writers, and intellectuals came to see the drink as the key to their success, and they treated it with a corresponding level of obsession. Every day, Beethoven counted out exactly sixty beans for his ideal cup. Voltaire threw mugs of it back by the dozen, and the French novelist Honoré de Balzac reputedly drank as many as sixty cups daily — a claim that sounds absurd until one reads his acid-trip account of coffee’s effect on his mental faculties: “Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. . . . Forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink — for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water.”

 

pages: 287 words: 93,908

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee, Randy Frost

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Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, dumpster diving, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, impulse control, McMansion

Hoarding in Literature Hoarding has a distinguished literary history. Literature from as far back as the fourteenth century makes reference to hoarding. Dante reserved the fourth circle of hell for "hoarders" and "wasters" in his Inferno. Charles Dickens created several hoarders, including Krook, a Bleak House (1852–1853) character whom Dickens described as "possessed of documents" in a shop where "everything seemed to be bought and nothing to be sold." Honoré de Balzac's Cousin Pons (1847), a collector of "bric-a-brac," was thought to be loosely based on Balzac himself. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was described by his accomplice Watson as having "a horror of destroying documents," to the extent that "every corner of the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript." The Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol described a classic hoarding case in Dead Souls, written in 1842.

 

pages: 309 words: 87,414

Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke

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clean water, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, rent control, trade route

Môquet is famous for the patriotic letter he wrote on the eve of his death, which is regularly read out in schools. The tragic irony is that he was only in prison because he had been arrested by French policemen for distributing Communist leaflets in the métro, at Gare de l’Est. Varenne, which is close to the Musée Rodin, and appropriately decorated with sculptures on the platforms. As well as Rodin’s famous Penseur (The Thinker), there is a cast of his wonderful sculpture of the writer Honoré de Balzac, who looks as though he regrets agreeing to be sculpted dressed only in his bathrobe. Ligne 14: Saint-Lazare–Olympiades The Parisians’ favourite, this new line rockets across the centre of Paris in what feels like milliseconds. Young execs don’t even have time to start a new game of phone Tetris between getting on at Saint-Lazare and shooting out into the squeaky-clean office district around the Bibliothèque Nationale.

 

pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

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8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional

Cramp it and empty it of developmental meaning, and the result will be ugly. Working-class ‘leisure careers’ have been lost (MacDonald and Shildrick, 2007), due not simply to lack of money but to an erosion of social institutions. In the United Kingdom, these included working men’s clubs and public spaces, which fell victim to the neo-liberal radicalism of Thatcherism. In France, the bistros, which Honoré de Balzac described as ‘the parliament of the people’, are disappearing. Impoverished working-class education and leisure careers create an environment for criminality and drug use, to fill time and gain status in some form. Petty crime may provide a thrill that feels better than simply hanging around. The neo-liberal mantra that success is measured by consumption is 130 THE PRECARIAT conducive to shoplifting and theft, a tiny surge of achievement in a long spell of deprivation, of failure.

 

pages: 281 words: 86,657

The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt

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anti-communist, big-box store, British Empire, crack epidemic, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Frank Gehry, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, manufacturing employment, McMansion, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, Richard Florida, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, white flight, working poor, young professional

Nor is there any reason to be nostalgic for the conditions of working-class Vienna, in which hundreds of thousands of immigrant factory workers lived in the shadow of the textile mills and chemical plants where they worked, many of them seven days a week, at jobs whose nonexistent health and safety standards all but guaranteed them frequent illnesses and short life spans. Similarly, the most passionate advocate of urban density would be wary of the physical environment of even middle-class Paris flats, where, as historian Sharon Marcus wrote, paraphrasing the cultural criticism of Honoré de Balzac, “Apartment houses destroy private life by making each apartment simultaneously function as an observatory, theater, and mirror in which the residents of one apartment spy on those of another, provide unwitting spectacles for each other, and see their own lives reflected or inverted in their neighbors’.” So let us stipulate one point right away: To admire London, Paris, or Vienna in 1900 is not to admire squalid tenements, lethal working conditions, or the absence of privacy.

 

Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications

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banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

ON THE TRAIL OF ARTISTS & WRITERS While the fantastical history and high jinks of French royalty gets top billing in the Loire, the valley has also played host to a stream of Europe’s greatest artists and thinkers. Mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, poet Pierre de Ronsard and writer and doctor François Rabelais were all born in the Loire; Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life here; and luminaries from sculptor Alexander Calder to novelist Honoré de Balzac lived and created in this region. Some, like Jean Gênet, were imprisoned here. Then there were those, like Alexandre Dumas, who were simply inspired here. Top 5 Activities for Kids » Be razzle-dazzled by magic and illusion at Maison de la Magie ( Click here ) in Blois. » Prowl through ancient cave dwellings ( Click here ) near Saumur and Doué-la-Fontaine. » Celebrate comic book character Tintin with cracks of lightning and pounding thunder at Cheverny ( Click here ). » Peer into itsy-bitsy châteaux or play in the parks around a pointy pagoda at Amboise ( Click here ). » Relive the tale of Sleeping Beaut y as told by wax mannequins in period costume at Château d’Ussé ( Click here ).

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau Romantic, moat-ringed Azay-le- Rideau ( 02 47 45 42 04; http://azay-le-rideau.monuments-nationaux.fr/en; adult/child €8.50/free; 9.30am-6pm Apr-Sep, to 7pm Jul & Aug, 10am-5.15pm Oct-Mar) is wonderfully adorned with slender turrets, geometric windows and decorative stonework, wrapped up within a shady landscaped park. Built in the 1500s on a natural island in middle of the River Indre, the château is one of the Loire’s loveliest: Honoré de Balzac called it a ‘multifaceted diamond set in the River Indre’. Its most famous feature is its open loggia staircase, in the Italian style, overlooking the central courtyard and decorated with the salamanders and ermines of François I and Queen Claude. The interior is mostly 19th century, remodelled by the Marquis de Biencourt from the original 16th-century château built by Gilles Berthelot, chief treasurer for François I.

Trains run three to eight times daily to Tours (€5.40, 25 to 30 minutes) and Chinon (€4.80, 20 minutes). MUSÉE BALZAC Meander down the Indre Valley along the tiny D84, passing mansions, villages and troglodyte caves, and 7km east of Azay-le-Rideau you come to sweet Saché. Once home to American sculptor Alexander Calder (one of his mobiles sits in the town square), it still celebrates the life of long-time inhabitant Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), author of La Comédie Humaine. The lovely Musée Balzac ( 02 47 26 86 50; www.musee-balzac.fr; adult/child €5/4; 10am-6pm daily Apr-Sep, 10am-12.30pm & 2-5pm Wed-Mon Oct-Mar) inhabits the town’s château where Balzac was a habitual guest of his parents’ friend, Jean Margonne. On a quiet slope in the lush river valley, the castle features original furnishings, manuscripts, letters and first editions.

 

pages: 401 words: 122,457

Salt by Mark Kurlansky

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British Empire, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, domestication of the camel, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, Honoré de Balzac, invention of movable type, Mahatma Gandhi, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route

He reinstated the gabelle but without an exemption for Brittany. Their salt no longer having a competitive advantage, the paludiers, instead of being slightly better off than the average French peasant, were now among the poorest. They continued to wear large, floppy, three-cornered hats in the style of eighteenth-century peasants. Visitors found this a picturesque part of Brittany. Novelist Honoré de Balzac abandoned poetic restraint in his description of the paludiers and their treeless salt marsh, writing that they had “the grace of a bouquet of violets” and asserting that it “was something a traveler could see nowhere else in France.” He compared the area to Africa, and in the age of French colonialism many followed, comparing the impoverished Breton paludiers to Tuaregs, Arabs, and Asians.

 

pages: 366 words: 117,875

Arrival City by Doug Saunders

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agricultural Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, call centre, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Hernando de Soto, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kibera, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, megacity, microcredit, new economy, pensions crisis, place-making, price mechanism, rent control, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, working-age population

What she found was the first great arrival city of the modern world: not the largest one, since London and Manchester had by then far exceeded Paris in size, scope, density, activity, and horror, but certainly the most explosive. It was in Paris that governments made the first grave mistakes of managing the great migration, mistakes that are being repeated today. And it was in Paris that the arrival city became a political force capable of changing nations. Jeanne descended into a maze of streets that native-born Parisians dared not enter, streets that the works of Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, and Eugène Sue had transformed into popular bywords for filth, depravity, murder, disease, and ruination, streets that had already been the main stages of violent and history-altering uprisings and revolutions in 1789, 1830, 1832, 1848, and 1871. In the popular imagination, these neighborhoods were the repositories of the fallen, the hideouts of failed urbanites, the dwelling grounds for the animalistic ruins of humanity.

 

pages: 618 words: 159,672

Fodor's Rome: With the Best City Walks and Scenic Day Trips by Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.

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call centre, Donald Trump, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mason jar, Murano, Venice glass, urban planning, young professional

In honor of a diplomatic visit by the king of Spain, the hillside was transformed by architect Francesco de Sanctis to link the church of Trinità dei Monti at the top with the Via dei Condotti below. In an allusion to the church, the staircase is divided by three landings (beautifully banked with azaleas from mid-April to mid-May). For centuries, the scalinata and its neighborhood have welcomed tourists, dukes, and writers in search of inspiration—among them Stendhal, Honoré de Balzac, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Byron, along with today’s enthusiastic hordes. Bookending the bottom of the steps are two monuments to the 18th-century days when the English colonized the area: to the right, the Keats-Shelley House, to the left, Babington’s Tea Rooms, both beautifully redolent of the Grand Tour era. For weary sightseers, there is an elevator at Vicolo del Bottino 8 (next to the adjacent Metro entrance).

 

pages: 740 words: 161,563

The Discovery of France by Graham Robb

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Brownian motion, deindustrialization, Honoré de Balzac, Louis Pasteur, New Economic Geography, Peace of Westphalia, price stability, trade route, urban sprawl

On post-roads, Quimper was five hundred and forty miles from Varennes, which means that the news reached this remote and poorly served part of France at an average speed of almost 11 mph, maintained for two days and two nights. This is faster even than the news of the Battle of Waterloo brought by fleeing soldiers. At Villers-Cotterêts, the young Alexandre Dumas found their speed of a league and a half an hour (just over 4 mph) quite extraordinary: ‘It seems that the messengers of misfortune have wings.’ The century’s greatest expert on gossip and pre-industrial telecommunications, Honoré de Balzac, suggested that rumour could travel at about 9 mph. The following passage from Les Marana refers to the sleepy provincial island in the heart of Paris, whose silence was preserved by toll bridges until the mid-nineteenth century: Do not ask after the whereabouts of that mysterious telegraph which transmits to all places at once, in the wink of an eye, a story, a scandal or a piece of news.

 

pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

This was for Poe a bridge between science and the occult, between the rational mind and the savant.♦ To analyze cryptography—“a serious thing, as the means of imparting information”—required a special form of mental power, a penetrating mind, and might well be taught in academies. He said again and again that “a peculiar mental action is called into play.” He published as challenges to his readers a series of substitution ciphers. Along with Poe, Jules Verne and Honoré de Balzac also introduced ciphers into their fiction. In 1868, Lewis Carroll had a card printed on two sides with what he called “The Telegraph-Cipher,” which employed a “key-alphabet” and a “message-alphabet,”♦ to be transposed according to a secret word agreed on by the correspondents and carried in their memories. But the most advanced cryptanalyst in Victorian England was Charles Babbage. The process of substituting symbols, crossing levels of meaning, lay near the heart of so many issues.

 

France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams

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active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Return to beginning of chapter CHTEAU D’AZAY-LE-RIDEAU Conjure up a classic French château and chances are it will be close to Azay-le-Rideau ( 02 47 45 42 04; adult/18-25yr €7.50/4.80; 9.30am-7pm Jul & Aug, 9.30am-6pm Apr-Jun & Sep, 10am-12.30pm & 2-5.30pm Oct-Mar), a wonderful moat-ringed mansion decorated with geometric windows, ordered turrets and decorative stonework, wrapped up within a shady landscaped park. Built in the 1500s on a natural island in the River Indre, the château is one of the Loire’s loveliest – Honoré de Balzac called it a ‘multi-faceted diamond set in the River Indre’. The most famous feature is its open loggia staircase, overlooking the central courtyard and decorated with the salamanders and ermines of François I and Queen Claude; the interior is mostly 19th century, remodelled by the Marquis de Biencourt from the original 16th-century château built by Gilles Berthelot, a tax collector and chief treasurer for François I.

From the square in front of the cathedral a monumental staircase, the Montée St-Maurice, leads down to the river. GALERIE DAVID D’ANGERS Angers’ most famous son is the sculptor Pierre-Jean David (1788–1856), often just known as David d’Angers. Renowned for lifelike busts and sculptures, his work adorns public monuments all over France, notably at the Panthéon, the Louvre and Père Lachaise cemetery (where he carved many tombstones, including Honoré de Balzac’s). His work forms the cornerstone of the Galerie David d’Angers ( 02 41 05 38 90; 33bis rue Toussaint; adult/student/under 18yr €4/3/free; 10am-7pm daily mid-Jun–mid-Sep, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Tue-Sun mid-Sep–mid-Jun), housed in the converted 12th-century Toussaint Abbey, flooded with light through a striking glass-and-girder roof. MUSÉE JEAN LURÇAT ET DE LA TAPISSERIE CONTEMPORAINE Providing an interesting counterpoint to Angers’ other famous piece of needlework, the Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine ( 02 41 24 18 45; 6 bd Arago; adult/under 18yr €4/free; 10am-7pm daily Jun-Sep, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Tue-Sun Oct-May) collects major 20th-century tapestries by Jean Lurçat, Thomas Gleb and others inside the Hôpital St-Jean, a 12th-century hospital founded by Henry Plantagenet.

 

pages: 1,336 words: 415,037

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index fund, indoor plumbing, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, NetJets, new economy, New Journalism, North Sea oil, paper trading, passive investing, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, zero-coupon bond

Finally, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who launched the investigation, resigned only a month after the defendants in the AIG trial were convicted, following revelations that he patronized the prostitutes of an escort service called the Emperor’s Club. Notes Chapter 1 1. This quote, or its variation, “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime,” is cited endlessly without a specific source: for example, in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and in commentary on The Sopranos and on the Internet bubble. This pithier version condenses what Honoré de Balzac actually wrote in Father Goriot: “The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed.” Chapter 2 1. Herbert Allen made an exception for Ken Auletta, the first and only time a writer was allowed to attend and write about Sun Valley. “What I Did at Summer Camp” appeared in the New Yorker, July 26, 1999. 2.