The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 3

The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 3

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The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 3

The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Albert Savarus, with its enshrined story of "L'Ambitieux par Amour" (something of an oddity for Balzac, who often puts a story within a story, but less formally than this), contains various appeals, and shows not a few of its author's well-known interests in politics, in affairs, in newspapers, not to mention the enumerations of dots and fortunes which he never could refuse himself. The affection of Savarus for the Duchesse d'Argaiolo may interest different persons differently. It seems to me a little fade. But the character of Rosalie de Watteville is in a very different rank. Here only, except, perhaps, in the case of Mlle. de Verneuil, whose unlucky experiences had emancipated her, has Balzac depicted a girl full of character, individuality, and life. It was apparently necessary that Rosalie should be made not wholly amiable in order to obtain this accession of wits and force, and to be freed from the fatal gift of candeur, the curse of the French ingénue. Her creator has also thought proper to punish her further, and cruelly, at the end of the book. Nevertheless, though her story may be less interesting than either of theirs, it is impossible not to put her in a much higher rank as a heroine than either Eugénie or Ursule, and not to wish that Balzac had included the conception of her in a more important structure of fiction.

Albert Savarus appeared in sixty headed chapters in the Siècle for May and June 1842, and then assumed its place in the Comédie. But though left there, it also formed part of a two-volume issue by Souverain in 1844, in company with La Muse du Département. "Rosalie" was at first named "Philomène. . . ."

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