Honoré de Balzac, Sarrasine

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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 it an important text for twentieth-century semiotic and psychoanalytic readings. It also shows significant features of…

1462 words

Citation: Gerwin, Elisabeth. "Sarrasine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2013 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21924, accessed 22 April 2024.]

21924 Sarrasine 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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