The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 8

The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 8

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The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 8

The Works of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 8

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Written, as it was, for Countess Anna de Hanska, Balzac's step-daughter of the future, while she was still very young, Pierrette partakes necessarily of the rather elaborate artificiality of all attempts to suit the young person, of French attempts in particular, and it may perhaps be said of Balzac's attempts most of all. It belongs, in a way, to the Arcis series--the series which also includes the fine Ténébreuse Affaire and the unfinished Député d'Arcis--but is not very closely connected therewith. The picture of the brother and sister Rogron, with which it opens, is in one of Balzac's best-known styles, and is executed with all his usual mastery both of the minute and of the at least partially repulsive, showing also that strange knowledge of the bourgeois de Paris which, somehow or other, he seems to have attained by dint of unknown forgatherings in his ten years of apprenticeship. But when we come to Pierrette herself, the story is, I think, rather less satisfying. Her persecutions and her end, and the devotion of the faithful Brigaut and the rest, are pathetic no doubt, but tend (I hope it is not heartless to say it) just a very little towards sensiblerie. The fact is that the thing is not quite in Balzac's line.

Pierrette, which was earlier called Pierrette Lorrain, was issued in 1840, first in the Siècle, and then in volume form, published by Souverain. In both issues it had nine chapter or book divisions with headings. With the other Célibataires it entered the Comédie as a Scène de la Vie de Province in 1843.

G.S.

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