By Harold Bloom

Bloom's sleek severe perspectives

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Additional info for Honore De Balzac (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)

Sample text

Why does Clara cross over the boundary of significance, entering the devalorized first section to introduce romantic implications for Victor? Once we recognize that the course of the narrative diverts our attention from the first part of the text, and more specifically, from Clara’s role within it, it becomes clear that what has been called the “real” story is in fact the manifest story; this story is important, but it should not prevent us from asking where and what is the latent story. I wish to approach these questions through a rather enigmatic comment on “El Verdugo” made by Félix Davin, commonly recognized as Balzac’s spokesman.

On the other hand,” he goes on, 26 WILLIAM W. STOWE nothing comes home more … to the observer of English manners than the very moderate degree in which wise arrangement, in the French sense of a scientific economy, has ever been invoked; a fact indeed largely explaining the great interest of their incoherence, their heterogeneity, their wild abundance. The French, all analytically, have conceived of fifty different proprieties, meeting fifty different cases, whereas the English mind, less intensely at work, has never conceived of but one—the grand propriety, for every case, it should in fairness be said, of just being English.

The successful interpreter, Mr. Longdon, an elderly gentleman and former admirer of Mrs. Brookenham’s mother, is at present marveling at the phenomenon of that lady’s daughter, a girl who, at the awkward unmarried age of eighteen, is by necessity emerging from the security of the nursery and schoolroom just as he is by choice emerging from the security of his country retreat. Mr. Longdon finds London’s new, breezy informality awkward at best, in comparison with the customs of an earlier age. ’” Nanda looked at him with all her honesty.

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