To celebrate the New York Review of Books’ reprint of Balzac’s The Human Comedy, we’re excerpting the introductory essay by Peter Brooks which discusses the frame narrative, exploring sexuality through a panther, and “the debt of dishonor.”
Honoré de Balzac is known for immensity, excess, all-night writing sessions in his monk’s robe sustained by countless cups of coffee, producing more than ninety novels and tales in the space of some twenty years. Rodin’s great, looming sculpture suggests a visionary who wanted to capture the whole of French society of his time, and more: the forces that animated it, the principles that made its wheels spin.
Well worth reading the entire introduction. It’s a great piece of analysis.