Study of a Woman and The Elixir of Life

By Honoré de Balzac.

Another two brief stories. The Elixir of Life is based on a Hoffman story about Don Juan that Balzac advises never made it into his collected works and so he has no qualms of conscience in borrowing. This omission may have been rectified by now. The story is more magical and fantastic that what Balzac usually writes. It is very intriguing and melancholy though. Study of a Woman contains characters from some of Balzac’s other novels. It is a snapshot of an episode that may occur in one of his full books. In the Elixir of Life Balzac references Rabelais which apparently he does in more than twenty of his novels:

…eyes were growing dull, and drunkenness, in Rabelais’ phrase, had “taken possession of them down to their sandals.”

 

 

 

 

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