Adieu and A Passion in the Desert

By Honoré de Balzac.

Two great short tales. A Passion in the Desert quite different from Balzac’s usual stories – but still very entertaining. Some commentators have said that it is Balzac trying his hand at Orientalism. Adieu also involves an army officer but his passion is the wife of one of his superior officers and not a tiger in the desert. Both involve nature and adventure and are a departure from Balzac’s usual way of doing things. It is possible that the shorter tales were a ground for experimentation. Here is one of the final exchanges from A Passion in the Desert:

‘In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing.’ ‘Yes, but explain—-‘  ‘Well,’ he said, with an impatient gesture, ‘it is God without mankind.’





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