Anna Barker’s next reading project:
10 Days of Balzac’s Colonel Chabert

The Charging Chasseur, or An Officer of the Imperial Horse Guards Charging, 1812, by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)

After two years of leading community reading projects around The Decameron, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Paradise Lost, War and Peace, and The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Barker has turned her sights to France.”

Get your French berets and baguettes!” she says. “We are off to the land of post-Napoleonic societal collapse, greed, avarice, moral decay and spiritual degradation. FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR! By the end of 2022 you will be begging for lofty skies, luminous eyes, Tolstoy – AND Anna Karenina, which we will tackle in the spring of 2023!

But before we read Tolstoy’s most European novel – we need to engage with a few European novels and acquaint ourselves with Tolstoy’s predecessors!”

This year of French stories begins March 1 with a short novella by Honore de Balzac, Colonel Chabert. Barker will lead “10 Days of Balzac’s Colonel Chabert” from March 1-10. Join the conversation on the Facebook group. Anna will post preliminary notes from March 1-7, with the reading of this short work scheduled for March 8-10.

There is no preferred translation for the book. The Carol Cosman translation is available locally in Iowa City through Prairie Lights Books. The reading will close with a Zoom talk with Anna on March 10.

From there, Anna will lead readers through Stendhal’s The Red and the Black (Spring 2022), Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo (Summer 2022), Hugo’s Les Misérables (Fall 2022), and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (Winter 2023).


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