Relative Values, 1838–1839
This chapter shows that between 1838 and 1841, Balzac published nine brief but no less central stories of La Com é die humaine. Virtually all these texts were first conceived, and, in the case of La Torpille, first published, as short fiction. This, the nucleus of what is now part one of Splendeurs et misères, was originally briefer than La Maison Nucingen, as were, in their initial conception or realization, many of Balzac’s longest novels. And virtually all spring from a common source in the early 1830s, at the height of Balzac’s story-writing career, reformulating for the present common themes of creation, invention, and commerce.
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