Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Balzac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balzac. Show all posts

26 July, 2015

Honore de Balzac, "La Grande Breteche"

Balzac's 1832 story told in first-person is a frame-story, a nested story, an outside story framing interior stories. A doctor, Dr. Bianchon, is intrigued by a derelict house, visiting it each day and even trespassing, until he is asked to abstain by the lawyer, "notary of Vendome," for the woman who used to live there. Dr. Bianchon sets out to find out the story behind it. He elicits three versions from other people and retells those versions to a group of ladies and holds them under a spell during the telling. "La Grande Breteche" becomes a story about telling stories.

There's an allusion to Laurence Sterne's Tristam Shandy, Trim (Toby's servant). "At this moment I understood the whole bearing of Sterne's charming passion, and had a perfect idea of the delight with which my uncle Toby, encouraged by Trim, bestrode his hobby-horse."

There's an informative blog entry by Charles E. May at Reading the Short Story. 

I'm not sure who translated by copy of the story so I can't give credit for that here, unfortunately.