The Harlot's Progress (Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes) - Vol. 1

The Harlot's Progress (Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes) - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

The Harlot's Progress (Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes) - Vol. 1

The Harlot's Progress (Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes) - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"Splendeurs et Misères des Courtisanes" has the interest (which it shares with only one or two others of Balzac's works), if not exactly of touching the two extremities of his prosperous career, at any rate of stretching over a great part of it. It also exemplifies the very uncertain and fortuitous scheme of the Comédie and its component scenes. At first nothing of it appeared but the first part, and only half of that, under the title of "La Torpille" (Esther Gobseck's nickname), which was published, together with "La Femme Supérieure," the first form of "Les Employés," and "La Maison Nucingen," in 1838. Five years later it appeared in a newspaper as Esther, ou Les Amours d'un vieux Banquier, the first part being now completed, and the second added. It was not till 1846 that Ou mènent les mauvais Chemins appeared, and this book itself had different titles. Finally, in Balzac's very last period of writing at the end of 1846, or the beginning of 1847--for he and his bibliographer are at issue on that point,--"La dernière Incarnation de Vautrin" was added as a fourth part, making the book, already one of the longest, now by far the longest of all. But the four were not published together till the "édition définitive," many years after Balzac's death.

It would in any case have been necessary to devote two of these volumes to so great a mass of matter, and I have taken the liberty of separating Vautrin from the rest for the purposes of introduction. The truth is that the book ends much more artistically with Ou mènent les mauvais Chemins; and if Balzac really intended to make La dernière Incarnation de Vautrin a continuation, this, as well as the great length of the book, would lead me to imagine that he had in mind rather a . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.