A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

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A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

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Excerpt

The central part of Illusiones Perdues, which in reason stands by itself, and may do so ostensibly with considerably less than the introduction explanatory which Balzae often gives to his own books, is one of the most carefully worked out and diversely important of his novels. It should, of course, be read before Splendeurs et Misères des Courtesanes, which is avowedly its second part, a small piece of "Eve et David" serving, as the link between them. But it is almost sufficient by and to itself. Lucien de Rubeinpré ou le Journalisme would be the most straightforward and descriptive title for it, and one which Balzac in some of his moods would have been content enough to use.

The story of it is too continuous and interesting to need elaborate argument, for nobody is likely to miss any important link in it. But Balzac has nowhere excelled in finesse and success of analysis, the double disillusion which introduces itself at once between Madame de Bargeton and Lucien, and which makes any rediniogratio amoris of a valid kind impossible, because each cannot but be aware that the other has anticipated the rupture. It will not, perhaps, be matter of such general agreement whether he has or has not . . .

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