Honoré de Balzac: La Peau de chagrin [The Wild-Ass's Skin]

(2041 words)

Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) wrote this important novel—the first he signed with his own name—between 1830 and 1831. With it, he confirmed his growing artistic reputation and launched his career as a mature writer. Part of the novel’s success was no doubt due to Balzac’s conscious decision to generate promotional hype: he published early fragments in widely-known literary journals (La Caricature, La Revue des Deux Mondes and La Revue de Paris), he gave readings in literary salons, and he rallied his contacts in the press. But the appeal of this early novel lies principally with Balzac’s modern guising of a classic supernatural tale: that of the desperate young man who bargains his life in exchange for …

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Gerwin, Elisabeth. "La Peau de chagrin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2015
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11195, accessed 30 September 2016.]