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Savage Noble: The Setting In The Girl With The Golden Eyes

Time for something different..

My take on The Girl With the Golden Eyes (Honoré de Balzac – 1835) in Issue 10 of Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature is a meditative overview that focuses not on the novel’s plot, but on its setting:

19th-century Paris.

Life is in upheaval. The city of Paris is a hub of interactivity where its inhabitants experience the full spectrum of life. Success, triumph, catastrophe, redemption; love, obsession, adventure; poverty, opportunity, privilege, reform – all of it is in play, giving its people a chance to seize the moment or die trying… much like one does in today’s big cities.

Evidently, not much has changed in two hundred years, which is both a good and a bad thing, depending on how you approach it. Life in the cities remains challenging, driven by desire and fury, culture and enterprise. The best and worst of humanity gather in our grandest urban settings to play a game of high stakes, reaching for something attainable only in vibrant, cosmopolitan, capital centers that flirt with the heavens while consorting with hell.

It’s a bizarre kind of intimacy that leads to an array of outcomes, some of them ethereal, some of them tragic.

And life goes on.