The Country Doctor; The Country Parson (pt 1)

The Country Doctor; The Country Parson (pt 1)

Read FREE!

The Country Doctor; The Country Parson (pt 1)

The Country Doctor; The Country Parson (pt 1)

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In hardly any of his books, with the possible exception of Eugénie Grandet, does Balzac seem to have taken a greater interest than in Le Médecin de Campagne; and the fact of this interest, together with the merit and intensity of the book in each case, is, let it be repeated, a valid argument against those who would have it that there was something essentially sinister both in his genius and in his character.

The Médecin de Campagne was an early book; it was published in 1833, a date of which there is an interesting mark in the selection of the name "Evelina," the name of Mme. Hanska, whom Balzac had just met, for the lost Jansenist love of Benassis; and it had been on the stocks for a considerable time. It is also noteworthy, as lying almost entirely outside the general scheme of the Comédie Humaine as far as personages go. Its chief characters in the remarkable, if not absolutely impeccable, répertoire of MM. Cerfberr and Christophe (they have, a rare thing with them, missed Agathe the forsaken mistress) have no references appended to their articles, except to the book itself; and I cannot remember that any of the more generally pervading dramatis personæ of the Comedy makes even an incidental appearance here. The book is as isolated as its scene and subject--I might have added, as its own beauty, which is singular and unique, nor wholly easy to give a critical account of. The transformation of the crétin- haunted desert into a happy valley is in itself a commonplace of the preceding century; it may be found several times over inMarmontel Contes Moraux, as well as in other places. The extreme minuteness of detail, effective as it is in the picture of the house and elsewhere, becomes a little tedious even for well-tried and well-affected readers, in refer- ence to the exact number of cartwrights and harness-makers, and so forth; while the modern reader pure and simple . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

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.