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

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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


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 mysterious powers. In this case, the hero Raphaël de Valentin acquires the…

2041 words

Citation: Gerwin, Elisabeth. "La Peau de chagrin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2015 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11195, accessed 22 April 2024.]

11195 La Peau de chagrin 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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