Excerpt from At the Sign of the Cat and Racket: La Maison Du Chat-Qui-Pelote
Racket' itself, quite examples of putting the best foot foremost. Le Ba] de Sceaux,' with its satire on contempt for trade, is in some ways more like Balzac's young friend and pupil Charles de Bernar... d than like himself; andi believe it attracted English notice pretty early. At least I seem, when quite a boy, and long before I read the Coméa'z'e Humaine, to have seen an English version or paraphrase of it. 'la Bourse,' though agreeable, is a little slight and La Vendetta might have been written on so well known a donnée by many persons besides Balzac. It happens, moreover, to contrast most un fortunately with the terrible and exquisite perfection of Mérimée's 'mateo Falcone.' I should rank 'madame F irmiani' a good deal higher than any of these three, though it too is a little slight, and though it is not in Balzac's most characteristic or important manner. Rather, perhaps, does it remind us of the Physiologies' and the other social 'skits' and sketches which he was writing for the Caricature and other papers at the time. Still, the various descriptions of the heroine have a point and sparkle which are almost peculiar to the not quite mature work of men of genius and the actual story has a light ness which, perhaps, would have disappeared if Balzac had handled it at greater length.
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