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Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850)

A towering figure of modern French literature, Balzac was one of the progenitors of the nineteenth-century realist novel. His oeuvre consisted primarily of a sequence of novels, novellas and plays, totalling nearly 100, that he collected under the rubric La Comédie Humaine. Nearly all of Balzac’s work was devoted to depicting life in France in the decades following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the period of Balzac’s own life and career. After studies at the Sorbonne and a brief period working in law, Balzac devoted himself to a life of writing, achieving success in the 1830s. He conceived of La Comédie Humaine in 1832, shortly after the establishment of the July Monarchy in 1830 (to which Balzac lent qualified support). Among his most noted works are the novels Le Père Goriot (1835) and La Cousine Bette (1846). His novella Sarrasine (1830), which tells the story of its protagonist’s romantic and sexual desire for a castrato opera signer, is subjected to a Lacanian. reading by Jean Reboul. in volume seven of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. Reboul said his own article was inspired by remarks concerning the novella by Georges Bataille; Reboul’s piece, in turn, would inspire the famous analysis developed by Roland Barthes in S/Z (1973).

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse

Jean Reboul, ‘Sarrasine ou la castration personnifiée’, CpA 7.5 [HTML] [PDF] [SYN]

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