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Cousin Betty - Honore de Balzac

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Cousin Betty

by Honore de Balzac

Translated by James Waring


  To Don Michele Angelo Cajetani, Prince of Teano.

  It is neither to the Roman Prince, nor to the representative of
  the illustrious house of Cajetani, which has given more than one
  Pope to the Christian Church, that I dedicate this short portion
  of a long history; it is to the learned commentator of Dante.

  It was you who led me to understand the marvelous framework of
  ideas on which the great Italian poet built his poem, the only
  work which the moderns can place by that of Homer. Till I heard
  you, the Divine Comedy was to me a vast enigma to which none had
  found the clue--the commentators least of all. Thus, to understand
  Dante is to be as great as he; but every form of greatness is
  familiar to you.

  A French savant could make a reputation, earn a professor's chair,
  and a dozen decorations, by publishing in a dogmatic volume the
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