Honoré de Balzac, Le Curé de Tours [The Curé of Tours]

Peter Wagstaff (University of Bath)
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In this short novel a well-intentioned but naïve provincial priest, Abbé François Birotteau, the eponymous Curé de Tours, finds his hopes confounded and his life ruined by the cynicism, hypocrisy and selfishness of those around him. It is an early example of Balzac’s acute psychological penetration, and of his exploration of the ways in which individuals’ lives are determined by and reflected in their environment. Although it was written in the spring of 1832, it was not until Balzac began to assemble his novels under the collective heading of

La Comédie humaine

in 1843 that he settled on the title of

Le Curé de Tours


The Vicar of Tours

]. He had previously considered

La Vieille fille


The Old Maid

] from an earlier fragment, decided instead on

Les Célibataires


The Celibates


3133 words

Citation: Wagstaff, Peter. "Le Curé de Tours". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 November 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11194, accessed 22 April 2024.]

11194 Le Curé de Tours 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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