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Balzac Honore de; Eugenie Grandet

SKU: Balzac Honore de AB041711-141 $24.95
Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac published by Librairie Grund Paris circa 1930. French text. Cream colored cloth boards with oval pictorial vignette of Eugenie on the front. Title and author on sun faded spine in black print. Publisher colophon on back board. Both boards show light toning at edges. 199 off-white pages without foxing spotting tear or loss. No interior marks or inscriptions. Binding is tight. No dust jacket. Volume measures: 13.8cm. x 18.8cm. (12mo.). Without the light toning and sun fade to spine this volume would be in as newcondition. Eugnie Grandet is a 1833 novel by Honor de Balzac about miserliness and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter Eugnie through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac all the characters in the novel are fully realized. Balzac conceived his grand project The Human Comedy while writing Eugnie Grandet and incorporated it into the Comdie by revising the names of some of the characters in the second edition. Plot summary Eugnie Grandet is set in the town of Saumur. Eugnie's father Felix is a former cooper who has become wealthy through both business ventures and inheritance (inheriting the estates of his mother-in-law grandfather-in-law and grandmother all in one year). However he is very miserly and he his wife daughter and their servant Nanon live in a run-down old house which he is too miserly to repair. His banker des Grassins wishes Eugnie to marry his son Adolphe and his lawyer Cruchot wishes Eugnie to marry his nephew President Cruchot des Bonfons. The two families constantly visit the Grandets to get Felix's favour and Felix in turn plays them off against each other for his own advantage. One day in 1819 Felix's nephew Charles Grandet arrives from Paris unexpectedly at their home having been sent there by his father Guillaume. Charles does not realise that his father has gone bankrupt and plans to takes his own life. Guillaume reveals this to his brother Felix in a confidential letter which Charles has carried. Charles is a spoilt and indolent young man who is having an affair with an older woman. His father's ruin and suicide are soon published in the newspaper and his uncle Felix reveals his problems to him. Felix considers Charles to be a burden and plans to send him off overseas to make his own fortune. However Eugnie and Charles fall in love with each other and hope to eventually marry. She gives him some of her own money to help with his trading ventures. Meanwhile Felix hatches a plan to profit from his brother's ruin. He announces to Cruchot des Bonfons that he plans to liquidate his brother's business and so avoid a declaration of bankruptcy and therefore save the family honour. Cruchot des Bonfons volunteers to go to Paris to make the arrangements provided that Felix pays his expenses. The des Grassins then visit just as they are in the middle of discussions and the banker des Grassins volunteers to do Felix's bidding for free. So Felix accepts des Grassins' offer instead of Cruchot des Bonfons'. The business is liquidated and the creditors get 46 percent of their debts in exchange for their bank bills. Felix then ignores all demands to pay the rest whilst selling the bank bills at a profit. By now Charles has left to travel overseas. He entrusts Eugnie with a small gold plated cabinet which contains pictures of his parents. Later Felix is angered when he discovers that Eugnie has given her money (all in gold coins) to Charles. This leads to his wife falling ill and his daughter being confined to her room. Eventually they are reconciled and Felix reluctantly agrees that Eugnie can marry Charles. In 1827 Charles returns to France. By now both of Eugnie's parents have died. However Charles is no longer in love with Eugnie. He has become very wealthy through his trading but he has also become extremely corrupt. He becomes engaged to the daughter of an impoverished aristocratic family in order to make himself respectable. He writes to Eugnie to announce his marriage plans and to break off their engagement. He also sends a cheque to pay off the money that she gave him. Eugnie is heartbroken especially when she discovers that Charles had been back in France for a month when he wrote to her. She sends back the cabinet. Eugnie then decides to become engaged to Cruchot des Bonfons on two conditions. One is that she remains a virgin and the other is that he agrees to go to Paris to act for her to pay off all the debts due Guillaume Grandet's creditors. Bonfons de Cruchot carries out the debt payment in full. This comes just in time for Charles who finds that his future father-in-law objects to letting his daughter marry the son of a bankrupt. When Charles meets Bonfons de Cruchot he discovers that Eugnie is in fact far wealthier than he is. During his brief stay at Saumur he had assumed from the state of their home that his relatives were poor. Bonfons de Cruchot marries Eugnie hopeful of becoming fabulously wealthy. However he dies young and at the end of the book Eugnie is a very wealthy widow having now inherited her husband's fortune. However she is also very unhappy and tells her servant Nanon: ''You are the only one who loves me''. She lives in the miserly way in which she was brought up though without her father's obsession for gold. Honor de Balzac (French pronunciation: [ ''In ''E d balzak]: 20 May 1799 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comdie humaine which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoleon I in 1815. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters which are complex morally ambiguous and fully human. His writing influenced many famous authors including the novelists Marcel Proust A percentmile Zola Charles Dickens Edgar Allan Poe Fyodor Dostoyevsky Gustave Flaubert Marie Corelli Henry James William Faulkner Jack Kerouac and Italo Calvino as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or inspired films and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers filmmakers and critics alike. An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school Balzac was an apprentice in a law office but he turned his back on law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer he attempted to be a publisher printer businessman critic and politician. He failed in all of these efforts. La Comdie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties and includes scenes from his own experience. Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Haka his longtime love: he died five months later. Biography Family Honor Balzac was born into a family which had struggled nobly to achieve respectability. His father born Bernard-FranAois Balssa was one of eleven children from a poor family in Tarn a region in the south of France. In 1760 the elder Balzac set off for Paris with only a louis coin in his pocket determined to improve his social standing: by 1776 he had become Secretary to the King's Council and a Freemason. (He had also changed his name to that of an ancient noble family and added without any official cause the aristocratic-sounding de.) After the Reign of Terror (1793 94) he was sent to Tours to coordinate supplies for the Army. Balzac's mother born Anne-Charlotte-Laure Sallambier came from a family of haberdashers in Paris. Her family's wealth was a considerable factor in the match: she was eighteen at the time of the wedding and Bernard-FranAois fifty. As British writer and critic V. S. Pritchett explained ''She was certainly drily aware that she had been given to an old husband as a reward for his professional services to a friend of her family and that the capital was on her side. She was not in love with her husband.'' Honor (so named after Saint Honor of Amiens who is commemorated on 16 May four days before Balzac's birthday) was actually the second child born to the Balzacs: exactly one year previous Louis-Daniel had been born but he lived for only a month. Afterwards a third child was born named Simone deHudsone. Honor's sisters Laure and Laurence were born in 1800 and 1802 and his brother Henry-FranAois in 1807. Early life Immediately after his birth Balzac was sent to a wet-nurse: the following year he was joined by his sister Laure and they spent four years away from home. (Although Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's influential book A percentmile convinced many mothers of the time to nurse their own children sending babies to wet-nurses was still common among the middle and upper classes.) When the Balzac children returned home they were kept at a frigid distance by their parents which affected the author-to-be significantly. His 1835 novel Le Lys dans la Valle features a cruel governess named Miss Caroline modeled after his own care-giver. At the age of eight Balzac was sent to the Oratorian grammar school at VendAme where he studied for seven years. His father seeking to instil the same hardscrabble work ethic which had gained him the esteem of society intentionally sent very little spending money to the boy. This made him the object of ridicule among his much wealthier schoolmates. Balzac had difficulty adapting to the rote style of learning at the school. As a result he was frequently sent to the ''alcove'' a punishment cell reserved for disobedient students. (The janitor at the school when asked later if he remembered Honor replied: ''Remember M. Balzac? I should think I do! I had the honour of escorting him to the dungeon more than a hundred times!'') Still his time alone gave the boy ample freedom to read every book which came his way. Balzac worked these scenes from his boyhood as he did many aspects of his life and the lives of those around him into La Comdie Humaine. His time at VendAme is reflected in Louis Lambert his 1832 novel about a young boy studying at an Oratorian grammar school at VendAme. The narrator says : ''He devoured books of every kind feeding indiscriminately on religious works history and literature philosophy and physics. He had told me that he found indescribable delight in reading dictionaries for lack of other books.'' But although his mind was receiving nourishment the same could not be said for Balzac's body. He often fell ill finally causing the headmaster to contact his family with news of a ''sort of a coma''. When he returned home his grandmother said: ''VoilAdonc comme le collAge nous renvoie les jolis que nous lui envoyons!'' (''Look how the academy returns the pretty ones we send them!'') Balzac himself attributed his condition to ''intellectual congestion'' but his extended confinement in the ''alcove'' was surely a factor. (Meanwhile his father had been writing a treatise on ''the means of preventing thefts and murders and of restoring the men who commit them to a useful role in society'' in which he heaped disdain on prison as a form of crime prevention.) In 1814 the Balzac family moved to Paris and Honor was sent to private tutors and schools for the next two and a half years. This was an unhappy time in his life during which he attempted suicide on a bridge over the Loire River. In 1816 Balzac entered the Sorbonne where he studied under three famous professors. FranAois Guizot who later became prime minister was Professor of Modern History. Abel-FranAois Villemain a recent arrival from the CollAge Charlemagne delivered lectures on French and classical literature to packed audiences. And most influential of all Victor Cousin's courses on philosophy encouraged his students to think independently. Once his studies were completed Balzac was persuaded by his father to follow him into the law: for three years he trained and worked at the office of Victor Passez a friend of the family. It was during this time that he began to understand the vagaries of human nature. In his 1840 novel Le Notaire Balzac wrote that a young person in the legal profession sees ''the oily wheels of every fortune the hideous wrangling of heirs over corpses not yet cold the human heart grappling with the Penal Code.'' In 1819 Passez offered to make Balzac his successor but his apprentice had had enough of the law. He despaired of being ''a clerk a machine a riding-school hack eating and drinking and sleeping at fixed hours. I should be like everyone else. And that's what they call living that life at the grindstone doing the same thing over and over again. I am hungry and nothing is offered to appease my appetite.'' He announced his intention to be a writer. The loss of this opportunity caused serious discord in the Balzac household although Honor was not turned away entirely. Instead in April 1819 he was allowed to live in the French capital as English critic George Saintsbury describes it ''in a garret furnished in the most Spartan fashion with a starvation allowance and an old woman to look after him'' while the rest of the family moved to a house twenty miles [32 km] outside Paris. First literary efforts Balzac's first project was a libretto for a comic opera called Le Corsaire based on Lord Byron's The Corsair. Realizing he would have trouble finding a composer however he turned to other pursuits. In 1820 he completed the five-act verse tragedy Cromwell. Although it pales in comparison to later works some critics consider it a quality text. When he finished Balzac went to Villeparisis and read the entire work to his family: they were unimpressed. He followed this effort by starting (but never finishing) three novels: Stnie Falthurne and Corsino. In 1821 Balzac met the enterprising Auguste Lepoitevin who convinced the author to write short stories which Lepoitevin would then sell to publishers. Balzac then quickly turned to longer works and by 1826 he had written nine novels all published under pseudonyms and often produced in collaboration with other writers. For example the scandalous novel Vicaire des Ardennes (1822) banned for its depiction of nearly-incestuous relations and more egregiously of a married priest was attributed to a 'Horace de Saint-Aubin'. These books were potboiler novels designed to sell quickly and titillate audiences. In Saintsbury's view ''They are curiously interestingly almost enthrallingly bad. He indicates that Robert Louis Stevenson tried to dissuade him from reading these early works of Balzac's. American critic Samuel Rogers however notes that ''without the training they gave Balzac as he groped his way to his mature conception of the novel and without the habit he formed as a young man of writing under pressure one can hardly imagine his producing La Comdie Humaine.'' Biographer Graham Robb suggests that as he discovered the Novel Balzac discovered himself. Also during this time Balzac wrote two pamphlets in support of primogeniture and the Society of Jesus. The latter regarding the Jesuit order illustrated his life-long admiration for the Catholic Church. Later in a preface to La Comdie Humaine he wrote: ''Christianity and especially Catholicism being a complete repression of man's depraved tendencies is the greatest element in Social Order.'' ''Une bonne spculation'' In the late 1820s Balzac also dabbled in several business ventures a penchant his sister blamed on the temptation of an unknown neighbor. The first of these was a publishing enterprise which turned out cheap one-volume editions of French classics including the works of MoliAre. This business failed miserably with many of the books ''sold as waste paper''. Balzac had better luck publishing the memoirs of Laure Junot duchesse d'AbrantAs with whom he also had an affair. Borrowing money from his family and other sources he tried again as a printer and then as a typefounder. But as with the publishing business Balzac's inexperience and lack of capital caused his ruin in these trades. He gave the businesses to a friend (who made them successful) but carried the debts for many years. In April 1828 he owed his own mother 50000 francs. This penchant for une bonne spculation never left Balzac. It resurfaced painfully much later when as a renowned and busy author he traveled to Sardinia in the hopes of reprocessing the slag from the Roman mines in that country. Toward the end of his life he became captivated by the idea of cutting 20000 acres (81 km2) of oak wood in Ukraine and transporting it for sale in France. La Comdie Humaine and literary success La Comdie Humaine In 1832 (after writing several novels) Balzac conceived the idea for an enormous series of books that would paint a panoramic portrait of ''all aspects of society.'' When the idea struck he raced to his sister's apartment and proclaimed: ''I am about to become a genius.'' Although he originally called it Etudes des Mrs it eventually became known as La Comdie Humaine and he included in it all of the fiction he published in his lifetime under his own name. This was to be Balzac's life work and his greatest achievement. After the collapse of his businesses Balzac traveled to Brittany and stayed with the de Pommereul family outside FougAres. It was here that he drew inspiration for Les Chouans (1829) a tale of love gone wrong amid the Chouan royalist forces. A supporter of the crown himself Balzac paints the counter-revolutionaries in a sympathetic light even though they are the center of the book's most brutal scenes. This was the first book Balzac released under his own name and it gave him what one critic called ''passage into the Promised Land''. It established him as an author of note (even if the surface owes a debt to Walter Scott) and provided him with a name outside the pseudonyms of his past. Soon afterwards around the time of his father's death Balzac wrote El Verdugo about a 30-year-old man who kills his father (Balzac was 30 years old at the time). This was the first work signed ''Honor de Balzac''. Like his father he added the aristocratic-sounding particle to help him fit into respected society but it was a choice based on skill not birthright. ''The aristocracy and authority of talent are more substantial than the aristocracy of names and material power'' he wrote in 1830. The timing of the decision was also significant. Robb frames it this way: ''The disappearance of the father coincides with the adoption of the nobiliary particle. A symbolic inheritance.'' Just as his father had worked his way up from poverty into respectable society Balzac considered toil and effort his real mark of nobility. When the July Revolution overthrew Charles x in 1830 Balzac declared himself a Legitimist supporting Charles' House of Bourbon but with qualifications. He felt that the new July Monarchy (which claimed widespread popular support) was disorganized and unprincipled in need of a mediator to keep the political peace between the King and insurgent forces. He called for ''a young and vigorous man who belongs neither to the Directoire nor to the Empire but who is 1830 incarnate.'' He planned to be such a candidate appealing especially to the higher classes in Chinon. But after a near-fatal accident in 1832 (he slipped and cracked his head on the street) Balzac decided not to stand for election. 1831 saw the success of La Peau de Chagrin (The Wild Ass's Skin) a fable-like tale about a despondent young man named RaphaAl de Valentin who finds an animal skin promising great power and wealth. He obtains these things but loses the ability to manage them. In the end his health fails and he is consumed by his own confusion. Balzac meant the story to bear witness to the treacherous turns of life its ''serpentine motion.'' In 1833 Balzac released Eugnie Grandet his first best-selling novel. A story about a young lady who inherits her father's miserliness it also became the most critically acclaimed book of his career. The writing is simple yet the individuals (especially the bourgeois title character) are dynamic and complex. Le PAre Goriot (Old Father Goriot 1835) was his next big success in which Balzac transposes the story of King Lear to 1820s Paris in order to rage at a society bereft of all love save the love of money. The centrality of a father in this novel matches Balzac's own position not only as mentor to his troubled young secretary Jules Sandeau but also the fact that he had (most likely) fathered a child Marie-Caroline with his otherwise-married lover Maria Du Fresnay. In 1836 Balzac took the helm of the Chronique de Paris a weekly magazine of society and politics. He tried to enforce strict impartiality in its pages and a reasoned assessment of various ideologies. As Rogers notes ''Balzac was interested in any social political or economic theory whether from the right or the left.'' The magazine failed but in July 1840 he founded another publication called the Revue Parisienne. It lasted for only three issues. These dismal business efforts and his misadventures in Sardinia provided an appropriate milieu in which to set the two-volume Illusions Perdues (Lost Illusions 1843). The novel concerns Lucien de Rubempr a young poet trying to make a name for himself who becomes trapped in the morass of society's darkest contradictions. Lucien's journalism work is informed by Balzac's own failed ventures in the field. Splendeurs et misAres des courtisanes (The Harlot High and Low 1847) continues Lucien's story. He is trapped by the Abb Herrera (Vautrin) in a convoluted and disastrous plan to regain social status. The book undergoes a massive temporal rift: the first part (of four) covers a span of six years while the final two sections focus on just three days. Le Cousin Pons (1847) and La Cousine Bette (1848) tell the story of Les Parents Pauvres (The Poor Relations). The conniving and wrangling over wills and inheritances reflects the expertise gained by the author as a young law clerk. Balzac's health was deteriorating by this point making the completion of this pair of books a significant accomplishment. Many of his novels were initially serialized like those of Dickens. Their length was not predetermined. Illusions Perdues extends to a thousand pages after starting inauspiciously in a small-town print shop whereas La Fille aux yeux d'or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes 1835) opens with a broad panorama of Paris but becomes a closely plotted novella of only fifty pages. Work habits Balzac's work habits are legendary he did not work quickly but toiled with an incredible focus and dedication. His preferred method was to eat a light meal at five or six in the afternoon then sleep until midnight. He then rose and wrote for many hours fueled by innumerable cups of black coffee. He would often work for fifteen hours or more at a stretch: he claimed to have once worked for 48 hours with only three hours of rest in the middle. He revised obsessively covering printer's proofs with changes and additions to be reset. Balzac sometimes repeated this process during the publication of a book causing significant expense for both himself and the publisher. As a result the finished product was frequently quite different from the original book. While some of his books never reached a finished state some of those such as Les employs (The Government Clerks 1841) are nonetheless noted by critics. Although Balzac was ''by turns a hermit and a vagrant'' he managed to stay connected to the social world which nourished his writing. He was friends with Thophile Gautier and Pierre-Marie-Charles de Bernard du Grail de la Villette and he knew Victor Hugo. Nevertheless he did not spend as much time in salons and clubs as did many of his characters. ''In the first place he was too busy'' explains Saintsbury ''in the second he would not have been at home there. He felt it was his business not to frequent society but to create it.'' He would however often spend long periods staying at ChAteau de Sach near Tours the home of his friend Jean de Margonne his mother's lover and father to her youngest child. Many of Balzac's tormented characters were conceived in the small second-floor bedroom. Today the ChAteau is a museum dedicated to the author's life. Marriage and later life In February 1832 Balzac received a letter from Odessa lacking a return address and signed only by ''L'A percenttrangAre'' (''The Foreigner'') expressing sadness at the cynicism and atheism in La Peau de Chagrin and its negative portrayal of women. He responded by purchasing a classified advertisement in the Gazette de France hoping that his secret critic would find it. Thus began a fifteen-year correspondence between Balzac and ''the object of [his] sweetest dreams'': Ewelina Haka. She was wed to a man twenty years older than herself: Wacw Haki a wealthy Polish landowner living in Kiev: it was a marriage of convenience to preserve her family's fortune. In Balzac Ewelina found a kindred spirit for her emotional and social desires with the added benefit of feeling a connection to the glamorous capital of France. Their correspondence reveals an intriguing balance of passion propriety and patience: Robb says it is ''like an experimental novel in which the female protagonist is always trying to pull in extraneous realities but which the hero is determined to keep on course whatever tricks he has to use.'' When Wacw Haki died in 1841 his widow and her admirer finally had the chance to pursue their affections. Competing with the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt Balzac visited her in St. Petersburg in 1843 and impressed himself on her heart. After a series of economic setbacks health problems and prohibitions from the Tsar the couple was finally able to wed. On 14 March 1850 with Balzac's health in serious decline they drove from her estate in Wierzchownia (village of Verkhivnia) to a church in BerdyczAw (city of Berdychiv today in Ukraine) and were married. The ten-hour journey to and from the ceremony took a toll on both husband and wife: her feet were too swollen to walk and he endured severe heart trouble. Although he married late in life Balzac had already written two treatises on marriage: Physiologie du Mariage and ScAnes de la Vie Conjugale. These works suffered from a lack of first-hand knowledge: Saintsbury points out that ''Cebs cannot talk of [marriage] with much authority.'' In late April the newly married couple set off for Paris. His health deteriorated on the way and Ewelina wrote to her daughter about Balzac being ''in a state of extreme weakness'' and ''sweating profusely''. They arrived in the French capital on 20 May his fifty-first birthday. Five months after his wedding on 18 August Balzac died. His mother was the only one with him when he expired: Mme. Haka had gone to bed. He had been visited that day by Victor Hugo who later served as pallbearer and eulogist at Balzac's funeral. He is buried at the CimetiAre du PAre Lachaise in Paris. ''Today'' said Hugo at the ceremony ''we have a people in black because of the death of the man of talent: a nation in mourning for a man of genius.'' The funeral was attended by ''almost every writer in Paris'' including Frdrick LemaAtre Gustave Courbet Dumas pAre and Dumas fils. Later Balzac became the subject of a monumental statue by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin which stands near the intersection of Boulevard Raspail and Boulevard Montparnasse. Rodin featured Balzac in several of his smaller sculptures as well. Writing style The Comdie Humaine remained unfinished at the time of his death Balzac had plans to include numerous other books most of which he never started. He frequently moved between works in progress and ''finished'' works were often revised between editions. This piecemeal style is reflective of the author's own life a possible attempt to stabilize it through fiction. ''The vanishing man'' writes Pritchett ''who must be pursued from the rue Cassini to Versailles Ville d'Avray Italy and Vienna can construct a settled dwelling only in his work.'' Realism Balzac's extensive use of detail especially the detail of objects to illustrate the lives of his characters made him an early pioneer of literary realism. While he admired and drew inspiration from the Romantic style of Scottish novelist Walter Scott Balzac sought to depict human existence through the use of particulars. In the preface to the first edition of ScAnes de la Vie prive he writes: ''The author firmly believes that details alone will henceforth determine the merit of works.'' Plentiful descriptions of dcor clothing and possessions help breathe life into the characters. For example Balzac's friend Hyacinthe de Latouche had knowledge of hanging wallpaper. Balzac transferred this to his descriptions of the Pension Vauquer in Le PAre Goriot making the wallpaper speak of the identities of those living inside. Some critics consider Balzac's writing exemplary of naturalism a more pessimistic and analytical form of realism which seeks to explain human behavior as intrinsically linked with the environment. French novelist A percentmile Zola declared Balzac the father of the naturalist novel. Elsewhere Zola indicated that whereas Romantics saw the world through a colored lens the naturalist sees through a clear glass precisely the sort of effect Balzac attempted to achieve in his works. Characters Balzac sought to present his characters as real people neither fully good nor fully evil but fully human. ''To arrive at the truth'' he wrote in the preface to Le Lys dans la valle ''writers use whatever literary device seems capable of giving the greatest intensity of life to their characters.'' ''Balzac's characters'' Robb notes ''were as real to him as if he were observing them in the outside world.'' This reality was noted by playwright Oscar Wilde who said: ''One of the greatest tragedies of my life is the death of [Illusions Perdues protagonist] Lucien de Rubempr. It haunts me in my moments of pleasure. I remember it when I laugh.'' At the same time the characters represent a particular range of social types: the noble soldier the scoundrel the proud workman the fearless spy and the alluring mistress among others. That Balzac was able to balance the strength of the individual against the representation of the type is evidence of the author's skill. One critic explained that ''there is a center and a circumference to Balzac's world.'' Balzac's use of repeating characters moving in and out of the Comdie's books strengthens the realist representation. ''When the characters reappear'' notes Rogers ''they do not step out of nowhere: they emerge from the privacy of their own lives which for an interval we have not been allowed to see.'' He also used a realist technique which French novelist Marcel Proust later named ''retrospective illumination'' whereby a character's past is revealed long after she or he first appears. A nearly infinite reserve of energy propels the characters in Balzac's novels. Struggling against the currents of human nature and society they may lose more often than they win but only rarely do they give up. This universal trait is a reflection of Balzac's own social wrangling that of his family and an interest in the Austrian mystic and physician Franz Mesmer who pioneered the study of animal magnetism. Balzac spoke often of a ''nervous and fluid force'' between individuals and RaphaAl Valentin's decline in La Peau de Chagrin exemplifies the danger of withdrawing from the company of other people. Place Representations of the city countryside and building interiors are es