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Subversions of VerisimilitudeReading Narrative from Balzac to Sartre$
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Lawrence R. Schehr

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231355

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231355.001.0001

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Balzac: Enallages and Twists

Balzac: Enallages and Twists

(p.11) 1. Balzac: Enallages and Twists
Subversions of Verisimilitude

Lawrence R. Schehr

Fordham University Press

The two-lesser known works by Balzac, as well as the now famous “Sarrasine” all part of his Comédie humaine, are examined as what appears at first to be a simple rhetorical device, the enallage of person until it begins to understand that this device undercuts the creation of a stable identity for characters. Balzac's realist need for a character to be himself or herself, because of the laws of verisimilitude, is countered by the figural play of language. One of these works, La Maison Nucingen, purports to be the success story of Eugène de Rastignac, the protagonist of Le Père Goriot. This plays a lot of narration and plot devices and in the end explains Rastignac's success. The final part of the chapter revisits certain aspects of the now-familiar “Sarrasine.”

Keywords:   Balzac, Sarrasine, rhetorical device, verisimilitude, language, enallage, Eugène de Rastignac, La Maison Nucingen, Le Père Goriot

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