Conclusion: Balzac's Shorter Fictions
This chapter presents some concluding thoughts. The first half of Balzac's career was a general movement from conte to novel; the remainder, a development of the conte alongside and within the novel. But, in absolute terms, there is no end to Balzac's brevities. They are present in the contes and nouvelles of the Comédie; in innumerable articles and scenes; and in the bite-sized units of even his longest works. The relation between petit and grand, between shorter and longer fiction, lies at the heart of his opus. Short fiction, far from being a transient phenomenon, is the cradle and crucible of Balzac's enterprise: it is the Urform of his creation as a whole.
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