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The Cambridge Companion to Balzac
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    The Cambridge Companion to Balzac
    • Online ISBN: 9781107588929
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107588929
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One of the founders of literary realism and the serial novel, Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) was a prolific writer who produced more than a hundred novels, plays and short stories during his career. With its dramatic plots and memorable characters, Balzac's fiction has enthralled generations of readers. 'La Comédie humaine', the vast collection of works in which he strove to document every aspect of nineteenth-century French society, has influenced writers from Flaubert, Zola and Proust to Dostoevsky and Oscar Wilde. This Companion provides a critical reappraisal of Balzac, combining studies of his major novels with guidance on the key narrative and thematic features of his writing. Twelve chapters by world-leading specialists encompass a wide spectrum of topics such as the representation of history, philosophy and religion, the plight of the struggling artist, gender and sexuality, and Balzac's depiction of the creative process itself.

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La Comédie humaine, eds Castex P.-G. et al., 12 vols (Paris: Gallimard, ‘Pléiade’, 1976–81).
Correspondance, eds Pierrot R. and Yon H., 2 vols (Paris: Gallimard, ‘Pléiade’, 2006–).
Lettres à Madame Hanska, ed. Pierrot R., 2 vols (Paris: Laffont, ‘Bouquins’, 1990).
Œuvres complètes de Honoré de Balzac, eds Bouteron M. and Longnon H., 40 vols (Paris: Conard, 1912–40).
Œuvres diverses, eds Castex P.-G., Chollet R. and Guise R., 2 vols (Paris: Gallimard, ‘Pléiade’, 1990–).
Premiers romans, ed. Lorant A., 2 vols (Paris: Laffont, ‘Bouquins’, 1999).
Le Faiseur, ed. Berthier P. (Paris: Flammarion, 2012).

Several attempts have been made to translate the entirety of La Comédie humaine into English, though all of these translations date from the nineteenth century. The most authoritative is The Human Comedy edited by George Saintsbury and translated by Clara Bell, Ellen Marriage, James Waring and R. S. Scott, 40 vols (London: Dent, 1895–99). However, this edition does not include Physiologie du mariage, Sarrasine, La Fille aux yeux d’or, Une passion dans le désert or Petites misères de la vie conjugale.

The thirty tales that Balzac completed for Les Cent Contes drolatiques appear under the title Droll Stories Collected from the Abbeys of Touraine translated by George R. Sims (London: Chatto & Windus, 1874).

The following key works from La Comédie humaine are also available in Oxford World’s Classics (OWC) and/or Penguin Classics (PC): La Peau de chagrin (OWC, PC), Eugénie Grandet (OWC, PC), Histoire des Treize (PC), Le Père Goriot (OWC, PC), César Birotteau (PC), Une ténébreuse affaire (PC), Ursule Mirouët (PC), La Rabouilleuse (PC), Illusions perdues (PC), Le Cousin Pons (PC), La Cousine Bette (OWC, PC) and Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes (PC).

Originally part of the trilogy Histoire des Treize, La Fille aux yeux d’or appears in Oxford World’s Classics accompanied by Sarrasine and Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu. A volume of Balzac’s short stories is also available in Penguin Classics and includes El Verdugo, La Paix du ménage, Étude de femme, Un épisode sous la Terreur, Le Réquisitionnaire, L’Auberge rouge, La Bourse, La Grande Bretèche, Un drame au bord de la mer, La Messe de l’athée, Facino Cane and Pierre Grassou.

Cosson A. L., Vingt ans de bibliographie balzacienne (1948–1967) (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Missouri, 1970).
Heathcote O., ‘État présent: Honoré de Balzac’, French Studies 64.4 (October 2010), 463470.
Royce W. H., A Balzac Bibliography: Writings Relative to the Life and Works of Honoré de Balzac (University of Chicago Press, reprint edition, 1969).
Vachon S., Les Travaux et les jours d’Honoré de Balzac: chronologie de la création balzacienne (Paris: Presses du CNRS and Presses universitaires de Vincennes; Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1992).
Waggoner M. W., Bibliography of Balzac Criticism, 1930–1990 (Encinitas: French Research Publications, 1990).
L’Année balzacienne publishes an annual ‘Bibliographie balzacienne’ listing new work in the field. A similar update on Balzac studies also appears in the annual special bibliography issue of the Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France.

  • Kazuo Kiriu’s vocabulary database ‘Le Vocabulaire de Balzac’ can be accessed via www.v2asp.paris.fr/commun/v2asp/musees/balzac/kiriu/concordance.htm.

  • Twelve volumes of Balzac’s works are now available in the series ‘Les Romans de Balzac’ edited by Andrew Oliver and published by Éditions de l’originale. Each volume is accompanied by a CD-ROM containing critical resources. The most recent additions to the series include Les Cent Contes drolatiques (2011), Le Médecin de campagne (2012), Eugénie Grandet (2013) and a collection of stories from the Scènes de la vie de province (2013). The series website can be found at www.debalzac.com/collection2.htm.

  • An electronic edition of La Comédie humaine (‘Explorer La Comédie humaine’) was published on CD-ROM by Acamédia in 1999.

Adamson D., ‘Le Père Goriot devant la critique anglaise’, AB 1986, 261279.
Armstrong A. H., Genesis and Development of the Hero Figure in Honoré de Balzac’s Early Novels: A Study in Patterns of Creativity (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, 1993).
Aubert N., ‘En attendant les barbares: La Cousine Bette, le moment populaire et féminin de La Comédie humaine’, Women in French Studies, 8 (2000), 129–37.
Barbéris P., Aux sources de Balzac (Paris: Les Bibliophiles de l’Originale, 1965).
Barbéris P., Balzac et le mal du siècle: contribution à une physiologie du monde moderne, 2 vols (Paris: Gallimard, 1970).
Bardèche M., Balzac romancier (Paris: Plon, 1940).
Barel-Moisan C. and Diaz J.-L. (eds), Balzac avant Balzac (Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: Christian Pirot, 2006).
Baron A.-M., Balzac ou les hiéroglyphes de l’imaginaire (Paris: Champion, 2002).
Baron A.-M., Balzac et la Bible: une herméneutique du romanesque (Paris: Champion, 2007).
Baron A.-M., ‘Balzac au cinéma: La Duchesse de Langeais de Balzac à Rivette’, AB 2007, 523–27.
Baron A.-M., ‘Balzac à l’écran’, AB 2009, 349355.
Baron A.-M., Honoré de Balzac à vingt ans: l’esclave de sa volonté (Paris: Au Diable Vauvert, 2012).
Bellos D., Balzac Criticism in France 1850–1900: The Making of a Reputation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976).
Bellos D., Balzac: ‘La Cousine Bette’ (London: Grant and Cutler, 1980).
Bellos D., Honoré de Balzac: ‘Old Goriot’ (Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Bérard S. J., La Genèse d’un roman de Balzac: ‘Illusions perdues’, 2 vols (Paris: Armand Colin, 1961).
Bertault P., Balzac et la religion (Paris: Boivin, 1942).
Bertini M. and Oppici P. (eds), Autour de ‘Wann-Chlore’: le dernier roman de jeunesse de Balzac (Bern: Peter Lang, 2008).
Bordas É., Balzac, discours et détours: pour une stylistique de l’énonciation romanesque (Toulouse: Presses universitaires du Mirail, 1997).
Borel J., Personnages et destins balzaciens: la création littéraire et ses sources anecdotiques (Paris: Corti, 1958).
Brooks P., The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976).
Brooks P., Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative (New York: Vintage Books, 1985).
Charpateau I., Le Fantastique balzacien: réflexions sur l’art (Bordeaux: [N.P.], 1997).
Cheyne M., ‘No Longer Simply Black and White: Adaptation and the Representation of Female Vulnerability in Balzac’s Le Nègre’, Lingua Romana, 11.1 (Fall 2012), 78102.
Chollet R. and Vachon S., À l’écoute du jeune Balzac (Montreal and Paris: Presses universitaires de Vincennes, 2012).
Chollet R., Balzac journaliste: le tournant de 1830 (Paris: Klincksieck, 1983).
Citron P., Dans Balzac (Paris: Seuil, 1986).
Darnton R., Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).
Diaz J.-L., Devenir Balzac: l’invention de l’écrivain par lui-même (Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: Christian Pirot, 2007).
Dickinson L. E., Theatre in Balzac’s ‘La Comédie humaine’ (Amsterdam: Rodopi, ‘Faux-Titre’, 2000).
Diethelm M.-B., Balzac et le roman de la jeune fille: scènes de la vie privée avant ‘La Comédie humaine’ (thèse de doctorat, Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2002) [microfiche available from the Atelier National de la Reproduction des Thèses].
Dosi F., Trajectoires balzaciennes dans le cinéma de Jacques Rivette: ‘Out 1’, ‘La Belle Noiseuse’, ‘Ne touchez pas la hache’ (La Madeleine: LettMotif, 2014).
Dufour P., Le Réalisme (Paris: Presses universitaires de France), 1998.
Falconer G. (ed.), Autour d’un cabinet de lecture (Toronto: Centre d’Études du XIXe siècle, 2001).
Farrant T., Balzac’s Shorter Fictions: Genesis and Genre (Oxford University Press, 2002).
Frappier-Mazur L. (ed.), Bordas É. (intr.), Genèses du roman: Balzac et Sand (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004).
Gaillard F., ‘La Stratégie de l’araignée’ in van Rossum-Guyon F. and Brederode M. (eds), Balzac et ‘Les Parents pauvres’ (Paris: SEDES/CDU, 1981), pp. 179187.
Ginsburg M. (ed.), Approaches to Teaching Balzac’s ‘Old Goriot’ (New York: MLA, 2000).
Guise R., ‘Un grand homme du roman à la scène ou les illusions reparaissantes de Balzac’, AB 1966, 171216; AB 1967, 177214; AB 1968, 337368, and AB 1969, 247280.
Guyon B., La Création littéraire chez Balzac (Paris: Armand Colin, second edition, 1969).
Heathcote O., Balzac and Violence: Representing History, Space, Sexuality and Death in ‘La Comédie humaine’ (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009).
Heathcote O., ‘Balzac and Theory, Balzac as Theory’, Paragraph, 32.2 (2009), 197213.
Hemmings F. W. J., The Theatre Industry in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Hulme P., ‘Balzac’s Parisian Mystery: La Cousine Bette and the Writing of Historical Criticism’, Literature and History, 11.1 (1985), 4764.
Hutcheon L., A Theory of Adaptation (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2006).
Jameson F., ‘La Cousine Bette and Allegorical Realism’, PMLA, 86.2 (1971), 241254.
Jameson F., The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981).
Kanes M., ‘Père Goriot’: Anatomy of a Troubled World (New York: Twayne, 1993).
Kelly D., Fictional Genders: Role and Representation in Nineteenth-Century French Narrative (Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1980).
Knight D., Balzac and the Model of Painting. Artist Stories in ‘La Comédie humaine’ (London: Legenda, 2007).
Labouret M., ‘Méphistophélès et l’androgyne: les figures du pacte dans Illusions perdues’, AB 1996, 211230.
Le Yaouanc M., Nosographie de l’humanité balzacienne (Paris: Maloine, 1959).
Lee S., Traces de l’excès: essai sur la nouvelle philosophique de Balzac (Paris: Champion, 2002).
Lefebvre A.-M., ‘Fleurs du mal balzaciennes’, AB 1997, 91132.
Lucey M., The Misfit of the Family: Balzac and the Social Forms of Sexuality (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2003).
Lukács G., Studies in European Realism: A Sociological Survey of the Writings of Balzac, Stendhal, Zola, Tolstoy, Gorki, and Others (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1964).
Lukács G., Balzac et le réalisme français, trans. Laveau P., pref. Gengembre G. (Paris: La Découverte, 1999 [1967]).
Macherey P., A Theory of Literary Production (London: Routledge, 1978).
Mahieu R., ‘Une insertion problématique: Le Lys dans la vallée et les Scènes de la vie de campagne’ in Duchet C. and Tournier I. (eds), Balzac, Œuvres complètes. Le ‘Moment’ de ‘La Comédie humaine’ (Saint-Denis: Presses universitaires de Vincennes, 1993), pp. 191202.
Massonnaud D., Faire vrai: Balzac et l’œuvre-monde (Geneva: Droz, 2014).
McCall Saint-Saëns A., ‘De la haine épistolaire ou “la fatale puissance de la lettre” dans les Lettres à Madame Hanska’ in Frappier-Mazur L. and Roulin J.-M. (eds), L’Érotique balzacienne (Paris: SEDES, 2001), pp. 4150.
McCormick J., Popular Theatres of Nineteenth-Century France (London and New York: Routledge, 1993).
McCracken S., ‘Cousin Bette: Balzac and the Historiography of Difference’, Essays and Studies, 44 (1991), 88104.
McGuire J. R., ‘The Feminine Conspiracy in Balzac’s La Cousine Bette, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 20.3–4 (1992), 295304.
Mehta B. J., ‘La Prostitution ou cette triste réalité du corps dans La Cousine Bette’, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 20. 3–4 (1992), 305316.
Méra B., Balzac et la figure mythique dans ‘Les Études philosophiques’ (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004).
Michel A., Le Mariage chez Honoré de Balzac: Amour et féminisme, 4 vols (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1978).
Mikhalevitch A., Balzac et Bianchon (Paris: Champion, 2014).
Miller D. A., ‘Balzac’s Illusions Lost and Found’, Yale French Studies, 67 (1984), 164181.
Monteilhet V., ‘Les Adaptations balzaciennes sous l’Occupation: un cinéma de collaboration ou de résistance?’, AB 2002, 327347.
Mortimer A. K., ‘Balzac and Poe: Realizing Magnetism’, Dalhousie French Studies, 63 (2003), 2230.
Mortimer A. K., For Love or for Money: Balzac’s Rhetorical Realism (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011).
Moscovici C., Gender and Citizenship: The Dialectics of Subject-Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture (Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).
Mounoud-Anglés C., Balzac et ses lectrices: L’affaire du courrier des lectrices de Balzac: Auteur/lecteur, l’invention réciproque (Paris: Indigo and Côté-Femmes, 1994).
Mozet N., Balzac au pluriel (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1990).
Mura-Brunel A., Silences du roman: Balzac et le romanesque contemporain (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004).
Neefs J., ‘Illusions perdues: Représentations de l’acte romanesque’ in Le Huenen R. and Perron P. (eds), Le Roman de Balzac: Recherches critiques, méthodes, lectures (Montreal: Didier, 1980), pp. 119130.
Nesci C., La Femme, mode d’emploi: Balzac, de la ‘Physiologie du mariage’ à ‘La Comédie humaine’ (Lexington, KY: French Forum, 1992).
Paraschas S., The Realist Author and Sympathetic Imagination (London: Legenda, 2013).
Parent-Lardeur F., Lire à Paris au temps de Balzac: Les cabinets de lecture à Paris, 1815–1830, second revised edition (Paris: Éditions de l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1999).
Pasco A., Balzacian Montage: Configuring ‘La Comédie humaine’ (University of Toronto Press, 1991).
Péraud A., Le Crédit dans la poétique balzacienne (Paris: Garnier, 2012).
Petrey S., Realism and Revolution: Balzac, Stendhal, Zola, and the Performance of History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).
Peylet G., ‘De la manie à la mélancolie: les souffrances du créateur balzacien dans la correspondance et dans les romans de 1830’, Eidôlon, 52 (1999), 147160.
Pierrot R., Ève de Balzac (Paris: Stock, 1999).
Prendergast C., The Order of Mimesis: Balzac, Stendhal, Nerval, Flaubert (Cambridge University Press, 1986).
Reid R., Families in Jeopardy: Regulating the Social Body in France, 1750–1910 (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1993).
Robb G., Balzac (London: Picador, 1994).
Rothfield L., Vital Signs: Medical Realism in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Princeton University Press, 1995).
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Schehr L. R., ‘Fool’s Gold: The Beginning of Balzac’s Illusions perdues’, Symposium, 36.2 (1982), 149165.
Schehr L. R., ‘A Queer Theory Approach: Gender and Genre in Old Goriot’ in Ginsburg M. P. (ed.), Approaches to Teaching Balzac’s ‘Old Goriot’ (New York: MLA, 2000), pp. 118125.
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Spang R. L., Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 173183, 190194.
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Swahn S., Balzac et le merveilleux: étude du roman balzacien 1822–1832 (Lund University Press, 1991).
Szypula E., ‘An Aesthetics of Indirection in Novels and Letters: Balzac’s Communication with Évelina Hanska’ in Sell R., Borch A. and Lindgren I. (eds), The Ethics of Literary Communication: Genuineness, Directness, Indirectness (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2013), pp. 229246.
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Watts A., Preserving the Provinces: Small Town and Countryside in the Work of Honoré de Balzac (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007).
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