Honoré de Balzac: Les Chouans [The Chouans] (1325 words)

Heather Williams (University of Wales)
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This is an early novel by the father of French Realism that has received relatively little critical attention. Set during the French Revolution, an event still within living memory at the time of publication, it shows historical fiction shifting away from stories set in the distant past to a focus on more recent political events, and away from a schematized story of good versus evil (in this case Royalists versus Revolutionaries) to an investigation of the effects of belief or loyalty on individuals, and the role of “masks” (in the case of Marie de Verneuil here) and treason.

Balzac began the novel in September 1828 near Fougères, where the action is set and where he was staying with the Général d…

Citation: Williams, Heather. "Les Chouans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4034, accessed 07 May 2021.]

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