Peter Brooks taught for many years at Yale, where he was Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature. He has written about Balzac in a number of books, including The Melodramatic Imagination, Reading for the Plot, Henry James Goes to Paris, and Enigmas of Identity. He is currently Andrew W. Mellon Scholar at Princeton and is at work on Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris.
These vivid stories—of crime, sexuality, and artistic creation—demolish the idea that Balzac’s best work is to be found in his long, elaborate novels. In these new translations we see Balzac drawing on the tradition of oral storytelling, and the results are fresh, startling and delightful.
“I was desperately in love with the comtesse de —. I was twenty years old and I was naive. She deceived me, I got angry, she left me. I was naive, I missed her. I was twenty years old.” So begins this seductive tale of seduction and the endless ambiguities of desire.