„Cousin Pons” is one of the last and greatest of Balzac’s novels of French urban society: a cynical, pessimistic but never despairing consideration of human nature. The book tells the story of Sylvain Pons, a poor moderately successful musician who is swindled by his wealthy relatives when they learn that his collection of art and antiques is worth a fortune. In contrast to his counterpart Cousin Bette, who seeks revenge against those who have humiliated her, Cousin Pons suffers passively as his health deteriorates and he eventually dies. The forces that come into play as Pons’ end approaches reveal the worst sides of the people around him, and give Balzac ample room to show the rougher side of his Parisians. The author shows how a person without means can be crushed by a society that has no values except material ones.