The human Comedy
the human Comedy is a whole of works of Honore de Balzac, composed of 137 works including/understanding of the Romance S Réaliste S, Fantastique S, or Philosophique S. But also of the Conte S, of the Essai S, the study S Analytique S, of the Nouvelle S sometimes gathered under only one title according to the editions. The texts are classified by social environments, geographical places, or psychological categories ( Scènes of the private life , Scènes of the life of province ) joined together in generic units ( Études of manners , analytical Études , philosophical Études ). The writing of the unit spreads out 1831, with the Shagreen , with 1850, with the works unfinished with its death and supplemented by Charles Rabou: the Deputy of Arcis (1854), Small middle-class men of Paris , (1856), the Count de Sallenauve , (1856), and also the Peasants published in 1854 by its widow, Evelyne Hanska.
The ambition of the author was to describe in an quasi-exhaustive way the company which surrounded it, thus building a building which could to compete with the civil statue . He wanted to lock up all his time in his human Comédie . However, in 1837, the title which it considers for its work is social Études , which will become the Human Comedy in 1842, in reference to Dante.
DevelopmentThe idea to connect between them the accounts while making revive the protagonists of each Romance or Nouvelle comes in Balzac only in 1835 with the Father Goriot where one sees reappearing for the second time important the Eugene de Rastignac already presented in 1832 in Étude of woman and Another study of woman then published under the title a conversation between eleven hours and midnight inserted in the brown Contes . Balzac was often charmed in its classifications, and its titles. It could attach the Message to Large Bretèche , then to publish the two texts in an autonomous way. the Colonel Chabert appears in its final form only in 1844 after a first version published in 1832, under the title the Transaction . the House of the cat-which-ball was initially entitled Gloire and Malheur in first publication 1830 and the text knew 4 other editions and as many rehandlings to the Furne last edition which was it even corrected indefinitely and which appeared under the title: the House of the cat-which-ball . There will be an idea of the multiplicity of the misadventures of the elements of the human Comedy by consulting the notes of each title and the history of each publication, with the innumerable rehandlings that Balzac brought until being ruined in expenses of printing works for the revision of the goods to draw. Balzac could certainly write quickly, much and inlassablement. It is told that it is in only one night, in his/her friend Zulma Carraud with the Powder mill of Angouleme, that he wrote Grenadière and according to Zulma Carraud: Grenadière, this pretty pearl, was written while playing billiards. It left the play, asking me to excuse it, and griffonnait on a corner of table, then returned to the part to leave it soon
The structureAs of 1834, Balzac conceives the structure of the human comedy like a building in three parts: at the base of the building: the Études of manners represent the social effects. The second sitted one is the philosophical Études , because, after the effects the causes will come. Then, after the effects and the causes, must seek the principles. Manners are in the spectacle, the causes are in the slides and the machines. The principles, it is the author, but, as work gains in spirals the heights of the thought, it is measured and condense. However, in each work of the Human Comedy , the effects, the causes and the principles are unceasingly mixed as if each novel were built on the principle of the general building. In the Lily in the valley , the history of love of Henriette de Mortsauf and Felix de Vandenesse is held in the plan of effects , the analysis of the causes of the apparent failure of this love refers to principles drawn from the painting of the childhood conceived like character and destiny.
The Études of manners offer the general history of the company, But the philosophical Études made up of novels, of fantastic tales of news are for Balzac the key which makes it possible to include/understand the whole of its work. It attached an enormous importance to them and it is not by chance if great success arrived to him with the Shagreen . According to him: This work connected the studies of manners to the philosophical studies by the ring of an almost Eastern imagination where the life itself is taken with the Desire, principle of all passion.
The writing and the Balzac talentHonore de Balzac employs a method that Marcel Proust called retrospective lighting namely: the past of a character is revealed only a long time after its presentation, which gives a breath of life and a supplement of mystery to its novels and news. Jacques Hake, appeared in the Father Goriot , is specified under the name of the abbot Carlos Herrera in Splendeurs and miseries of the courtesans . The viscountess de Beauséant which one sees the sad failure in the abandoned Woman will have been a seductresses throughout the human Comedy . The princess of Cadignan (otherwise called duchess of Maufrigneuse in Secrecies of the princess of Cadignan ), does not cease being specified, shown from every angle, even that most generous and unexpected in the Cabinet of the Antiques .
Balzac uses also the principle of the narrator, as if the author of the novel reproduced the account which someone else would have made him. That at the same time allows a setting in prospect for several places thus widening the panorama with stories in the history (accounts enchased S). Balzac leaves the immediate environment the narrator (living room, inn, countryside), and it unrolls the wire of its account with returns and questions posed with the narrator by the characters which surround it, introducing philosophical suspense or remarks. The doctor Horace Bianchon is the narrator of Large Bretèche , the journalist and writer Emile Blondet is pilot and intermittent narrator in the Cabinet of the Antiques , Hermann, a German trader, is the narrator and the decoder of the crime of the red Inn .
Balzac is also scenographer, costumier, manager. Meticulous descriptions of the furnishing of a house, costumes of the characters until in depth (Balzac employs the most precise terms that it is for passementerie, the fabrics, the architecture of interior or outside) are those of a scenographer. The author of the human Comedy plant its decorations with a care almost maniac what explains the passion of the directors for its texts, often adapted to the screen (television and cinema) (see Films based on the work of Honore de Balzac).
Exploration of the human ComedyIf it is true that one can separately read to appreciate each work of the human Comedy and it like such, there remains certain that each one takes its depth and its backgrounds of significance only if one replaces it in the context of whole Work
The innumerable ones explorers human Comedy which followed one another since Charles de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul our days, of Ethel Prestonà Marcel Bouteronde S.Rogersà Maurice Bardèche of Pierre-Georges Castex with Michel Butor, and those which continue to do it, do not finish any discovering all the resources of the immense one tell what represents this unit, one poem comparable with those of Homère and, of course of Dante.
One a long time was mistaken on Balzac by taking it for example for a realistic novelist only , because one believed capacity to judge some according to three or four masterpieces isolated from the unit. It was an error, because it is possible to approach its secrecy only if one penetrates in the vastness of total work and if it is explored very whole. It then takes its true proportions and this character visionary that Baudelaire was the first to be announced.
The Comedy human, spontaneously born and subjected afterwards to one program is well a single building, a kind of labyrinth arrow where each character indicates the direction of another to us. This nonlinear course can be followed during a time, given up, and taken again a long time later. It accompanies a whole life.
The Company of the Human Comedy
See also: Characters of the human Comedy
Balzac reviewed about all the social layers of its time, establishing a kind of reasoned catalog of human types representative of their medium. According to the definition of Bernard Pingaud in his introduction to the Back of the modern history , Romance Petri of plots: The human Comedy is itself produces it of a plot warped supremely by the author during these nights of day before where it had the impression to reign on the world and whose direction hidden appeared to him when it had the idea to create imaginary association characters who allows their return of a book the other. From this, one could build a whole theory of the fiction and show that the Balzac Romance hardly resembles the amalgam of dish realism and romantic unslung which one often hears under this name. But it would be another history, not less secret, something like back of a work.
One can enumerate the principal figures of the Balzac world, of the human types which one will see often reappearing, forming of the portraits of groups in drive out-crossed erudite. and
History of the editionsThere exist several collections of works of Balzac in multiple formats in various editors. By chronological order, one can quote the editions Levasseur and Urbain Canel (1829), Mame-Delaunay (1830), Gosselin (1832) Mrs Charles-Béchet (1833), Werdet (1837), Charpentier (1839). An illustrated edition of Charles Furne (20 volumes, in-8, of 1842 with 1852) joined together the entirety of the human Comedy in partnership with Houssiaux then Hetzel, Dubochet and Paulin.
The human ComedyThis list is based on the edition of Pléiade the human Comedy . It follows divisions that Balzac installation itself--> which follows the order of publication of Balzac.
Studies of manners
Scenes of the private life
- the House of the cat-which-ball , 1830, (Mame-Delaunay), 1839, (Carpenter), 1842 (Furne)
- the Ball of Seals , 1830, (Mame and Delaunay-Valley), 1842 (Furne)
- Memories of two young grooms 1842 (Furne)
- the Stock Exchange , 1830, (Mame-Delaunay), 1835, (Béchet), 1839, (Carpenter), 1842 (Furne)
- Nice Modeste , 1844
- a beginning in the life , 1844 (1e ED.), 1845 (Furne).
- Albert Savarus , 1842, (1e ED. Furne)
- the Vendetta , (idem)
- a double family , 1830, (1e ED.), 1842 (Furne)
- the Peace of the household , 1830, (1e ED.), 1842, (5th ED. Furne)
- Mrs Firmiani , 1832, (1e ED. Gosselin), 1835, (ED Béchet), 1839, (Carpenter) 1842, (Furne)
- Study of woman , 1831, (1e ED. Gosselin, 1842, (4th ED. Furne)
- the False mistress , 1842, (1e ED. Furne)
- a daughter of Eve , 1839, (Sovereign) then in the Furne edition of 1842
- the Message (1833) Mame-Delaunay editions.
- the abandoned Woman , 1833, (1e ED. Béchet)
- Béatrix , 1839
- Gobseck , 1830, (1e edition), 1842 (Furne)
- Woman the thirty year old , 1834 (ED. Charles-Béchet), 1842, (Furne)
- the Father Goriot , 1835
- the Colonel Chabert , 1835
- the Mass of the atheist , 1836
- Prohibition , 1836
- the Marriage contract , 1835, (1e ED.), 1842, (Furne- Hetzel)
- Another study of woman , 1839 - 1842
Scenes of the life of province
- Ursule Mirouët
- Eugenie Grandet , 1833
- In the single people
- the Priest of Turns , 1832
- Rabouilleuse , entitled at the origin a household of boy , 1842
- In the Parisian ones in province
- Famous Gaudissart , 1833 and 1843
- the MUSE of the department
- In the competitions
- the Old maid , 1836
- the Cabinet of the Antiques , 1839
- lost Illusions , 1836 with 1843 including/understanding:
Scenes of Parisian life
- History of the Thirteen , including/understanding:
- César Birotteau , 1837 ( History of the size and the decline of César Birotteau )
- the House Nucingen , 1838
- Splendors and miseries of the courtesans , 1838, (Werdet), 1844 - 1846 , (Furne)
- How love the girls
- With how much the love is allocated to the old men
- Where carry out the bad ways
- the Last Incarnation of Vautrin
- the Secrecies of the princess of Cadignan
- Facino Cane , 1837
- Sarrasine , 1831
- Pierre Grassou
- a business man (Draft of business man according to nature) , 1844 with the editions Hetzel
- a prince of Bohemian the 1840, 1844 Potter edition, 1846, edition Furne
- Gaudissart II
- Employees or the higher Woman , 1838, (Werdet), 1844, (Furne)
- Actors without the knowledge
- the Small Middle-class men (unfinished), finished and published by Charles Rabou in 1856 - 1854
- the Back of the modern history , 1848
- Madam of Chanterie
- the Initiate
Scenes of the political life
- an episode under Terror
- a mysterious business , 1843, (Sovereign and Lecou), 1846, (Furne).
- the Deputy of Arcis (unfinished), finished and published in 1854 by Charles Rabou, according to the promise which it had made in Balzac little before his death. The text is composed of three parts:
- # the Election . 1847
- # the Count de Sallenauve (unfinished), finished and published by Charles Rabou in 1856
- # the Family Beauvisage 1854 - 1855
- Z. Marcas
Scenes of the military life
Scenes of the life of countryside
- the Peasants , (unfinished). Published in 1854 by the countess Evelina Hanska, Madam de Balzac.
- the Country doctor , 1833
- the Priest of village , 1841
- the Lily in the valley , 1836
- the Shagreen , 1830, 1834, 1837, Furne: 1846
- Jesus-Christ in Flanders
- Melmoth reconciled , continuation of Melmoth, the man wandering , Romance Gothic of Charles Robert Maturin
- the unknown Masterpiece , 1831, 1837, (Furne: 1846)
- Gambara , 1837
- Massimilla Doni , 1837
- the Research of the absolute , 1834, 1839, 1845
- the cursed Child
- Good-bye , 1830
- El Verdugo
- a drama at the edge of the sea , 1834, 1835, 1843, 1846
- Main Cornélius , 1832, 1836, 1846
- the red Inn
- On Catherine de Médicis , 1836 - 1844
- the Martyr calvinist
- Confidence of Ruggieri
- the Two Dreams
- Elixir of long life , 1831, 1834, 1846
- Proscribed the , 1831
- Louis Lambert
- Physiology of the marriage , 1829 (Levasseur), 1846, (Furne)
- Small miseries of the married life
- Pathology of the social life including/understanding:
- # Treated elegant life
- # Theory of the step
- # Treated exciting modern
Outlines attached to the human Comedy
See also: Outlines attached to the human Comedy
The Ébauches attached to the human Comedy are Conte S, Nouvelle S, Fragment S of history or Essai S which make it possible to reconstitute the literary course of Balzac and to clarify the remote regions of them. In that, they have an important historical value, and sometimes, an unexpected literary value. But it is especially by what she teach us on Balzac and her manner of writing that they are invaluable. The whole of the manuscripts scattered with died of the author could be joined together thanks to the patient work of collector of the Viscount Charles de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, and after him with literary archeologists who worked to give in order, to interpret the direction of these texts while seeking what attached them to the human Comedy .
- Hundred tales drolatic
- brown Tales , 1832 in participation with Philarète Chasles and Charles Rabou.
- Heartbreaks of an English and other Scenes of private life and public she-cat of the animals - Studies of manners. 1844 and 1845. Editions Hetzel. theatrical adaptation of Alfredo Arias 1977 and 1978 - Opera in 2 acts (1983 and 1984)
- Test on the slang , 1844 inserted in the fourth part of Splendors and miseries of the courtesans .
Geography of the human ComedyBalzac had a predilection for France, its province, its campaigns which it sometimes describes with lyricism, and which it observed with a care maniac. Balzac visited much the places which he wanted to describe and he spoke itself with many people who will become his human types. Moreover, it was immersed in the knowledge of the subjects which its characters in their conversation will tackle. In this manner, the reader with the impression which the author is on his ground. But its realism did not go until the simple description of things seen . All was finally recreated with bits of added places the ones with the others like an impressionist table. The Burgundy described in the Peasants resembles extremely a campaign far from distant from Paris, moreover the characters make the return ticket unceasingly there. Balzac had also recourse to further information when it estimated not to know a place enough: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (originating in Douai) brought the elements to him to supplement its table of the city and the life of a middle-class family in the Research of the absolute. If the province takes an undeniable place in the geography of the human Comedy, in particular the Touraine and the Pays of the Loire, the true theater of the work of the author remains Paris where it returns unceasingly, even when it left there: the MUSE of the department, Rabouilleuse, Béatrix.
Paris, almost autonomous character, who seem to work any protagonist arriving of anywhere (Lucien de Rubempré, Rastignac), a character who saw, which breathes, which acts: It is in Paris certain streets dishonoured as much as can the being a guilty man of infamies; then there exist noble streets, then simply honest streets, then of young person streets on the morality of which the public was not made yet of opinion, then streets assassinate, of the streets older than old dowagers are not old. This labyrinthian city where one passes from the gilded living rooms of the Holy Suburb German (Splendeurs and miseries of the courtesans), with the muddy streets (the Cousin White beet) has something of dantesque. In the introduction of the Girl to the eyes of gold, Balzac presents the Parisian world under five aspects who are as many spheres traversed by upward movement of the money , five circles of the Hell.
It is perhaps this contrast between misery and size which will allure Charles Dickens and Fédor Dostoievski which also makes them evolve/move their characters in cities - labyrinths, brook with the palates.
The other country of predilection and inspiration of Balzac was the Italy, in particular Rome, Venice, where it located works having a relationship with art (painting sculpture) or Ferrare which is the theater of a Balzac version of Don Juan: Elixir of long life
Gallery of the human Comedy
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