Edited By Marta L. Wilkinson
Balzac’s Cane by Delphine de Girardin
PREFACE There was in this novel…. “But it’s not a novel.” In this work… “But it isn’t a work.” In this book… “It is even less so a book!” In these pages then…. There was a particularly biting chapter entitled: THE CABINET OF MINISTERS The author was told: “Be careful! There will be complaints, certain persons will be recognized; do not publish this chapter.” And the timid author omitted the chapter. There was another entitled: A DREAM OF LOVE It was a very tender love scene, just as a scene of passion should be in a novel. The author was told: “It is not suitable that you publish a book in which passion plays such a large role; this chapter is not necessary, take it out.” And the timid author omitted that second chapter. There were yet in those pages two lines of verse: PREFACE PREFACE 4 BALZAC’S CANE One was a satire. The other, an elegy. The satire was found too biting. The elegy was found too sad, too intimate. The author sacrificed them…but was left with the conviction that a wom- an who lives in the world should not write since she will not be permitted to publish a book unless it is perfectly insignificant. Fortunately, this one here contains a letter from M. de Chateaubriand, a bill from Béranger, some verses from Lamartine, it has as patron M. de Balzac. These should all serve to vouch for the work. 1836. · 1 · A FATAL GIFT There...
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