Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) may be best known as a novelist, yet he was also a prolific and skilled writer of short stories and novellas. His 1830 short story Sarrasine is today among the most iconic and widely-read of his récits, thanks in part to the publication in 1970 of Roland Barthes’ landmark book-length commentary on the novella, S/Z. In 1830, Balzac was establishing himself as an important author of novels, whether in a more historical vein (Le Dernier Chouan [1829]) or a more fantastical one (La Peau de chagrin [1830]). Sarrasine’s strange and outrageous premise did not destine it for immediate success, though the wealth of its symbolic imagery has made …

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Gerwin, Elisabeth. "Sarrasine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21924, accessed 25 May 2015.]