Posts Tagged ‘stefan sweig’

The reading of Cromwell didn’t please any. The new Sophocles in the Balzac family was a mirage. Balzac was more determined than ever to cut himself adrift from parental control. The two trial years stipulated in the contract with his father were not yet up and he insisted on his bond. On the 15th November his parents gave notice that the room in the rue Les diguières would be vacated. It was at such moments of extreme hopelessness that the tempter approaches his victim with a view to purchase his soul. It was at that time Le Poitevin a young man with well cut dress and ideas approached him with an offer. He already had a team set in place and with their close links with the theater and Publishing world their venture was bound t be a success. It was easy enough to make a potboiler and a fast buck. He was sure Balzac’s misfortune as owing to an excess of literary ambition. All that he wanted was a partnership in the novel production. The price demanded thus was his very soul, his artistic conscience. Balzac begun thus apprenticeship in Parisian literary pig-swill where no type of literary production ,no commission, no association was beneath his dignity between his twenty second and thirtieth years. His swift pen could churn out thirty or forty pages a day and was to be had cheaply and anonymously by whoever was prepared to pay for it. As in the tales of Baron Munchausen who on one occasion drew himself from the swamp by his own pigtail he did raise himself from hackwork. The lack of scruple demanded by literary prostitution- in accepting excesses of sentimental insincerities, improbable plots that lay concealed in verbiage of purple prose did clung to the greatest novelist of the age. Later Balzac had to admit his years of careless writing had made him slovenly. Even after five years despite the care he took in polishing his style he knew his error. While sending a copy of ‘Le Dernier Chouan’ he wrote to Baron Gerard thus: ‘Do what I will, I am afraid the hand of the novice will always be recognizable.’


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