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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dimensions of Vautrin Shaw, Penelope Angela Holmes 1974-01-22

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DIMENSIONS OF VAUTRIN by PENELOPE ANGELA HOLMES SHAW B.A., CARLETON UNIVERSITY, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of FRENCH We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MAY, 1974 i In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely avai lable, for referance and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his represen tative? It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Abstract This thesis is concerned with the early stirrings of Vautrin in Balzac's consciousness, his sources both literary and historical and the shaping of these early beginnings into the mesmeric figure as we know him today. Our aim will be to present a coherent and succinct view of the dominating forces which the master novelist has interwoven in his charac ter. The first chapter traces the dominant literary trends relevant to Vautrin'sscreation. Mood and personality of the character as well as their meaning in the context of romantic literature are explored. An important question is whether Vautrin has a prototype. Answers to this question precede discussion of the extent to which Vautrin is Balzac's creation.. u Upon establishing Vautrin's sources in literature, we next consider his historical and contemporary roots. Thus, an attempt is made to look beyond literary influences to :• people and events which influenced Balzac's perception of his world and, therefore, the development of his character. The extent to which Balzac found his literary inspiration in the people and the events of contemporary society, and the extent to which he related these observations to previous literary trends will be weighed. Turning from a factual study to a literary one, we take a loqkat the dominating forces in Vautrin himself. The first concern of Chapter Two will be to evaluate the impact of these forces in the character on the reader. Balzac tried to evoke a particular aura around Vautrin and a study of the authorss presentation of his charac ter is designed to provide clues as to his success. We will also look at Balzac's method of developing an aura surround ing Vautrin, his past and present sources of wealth and pres tige, among the underwold. Consideration of Vautrin's power, his own awareness of it and how he uses it will be a central ? focal point in this chapter. With the discovery of Vautrin's essence, we shall see how it complements and even motivates his dominating passion. Thus the third chapter, being the pivotal one in this study, attempts not only to depict the reasons behind his determin ation to revolt and the results thereof, but is largely concerned with linking the character to his creator, literal ly and philosophically. It is deemed especially important to convey that Vautrin is well able to stand on his own con victions, though the evident parallels with Balzac's own social consciousness are openly discussed. ©ur fourth chapter focuses on a chink in Vautrin's otherwise impervious facade: his overwhelming need of love. Partly because of its revolutionary spirit, partly in spite of it, Vautrin's need for love is not satisfied in convention al terms. The ambiguity of the love he feels for Theodore Calvi, Eugene de Rastignac and then Lucien de Rubempre', absorbs our interest in this chapter. Most important however, is the view of this need for love in light of his own down fall as a figure of revolt. To what extent did Balzac pre dict it? Could Vautrin have succeeded if he had been cap able of a more conventional love? The human side of this calculating figure is revealed to us through these questions. Our final chapter turns its focus back to the author. In his use of realism and allegory, Balzac adds a greater di mension to this already powerful figure. Our ability to participate as actively as we do in the characterization is s seen in terms of Balzac's mastery of these two literary for mulae. iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENT In preparing this thesis the direction of Dr. David J. Niederauer has been most helpful. Professor Niederauer's enthusiasm and encouragement through all stages of my work have been most appreciated. I would also like to thank Dr. Edward Matte for his reading of the manuscript and his many helpful suggestions. While study of Balzac alone is bound to have its rewards, the supervision of Dr.s. Niederauer and Matte has been particularly conducive to heightening the pleasures and reducing the pains of literary inquiry. Lovingly dedicated to Dod, Mum, Oho and Paul. -v-TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Title Page ii AbstractAcknowledgements i v Table of Contents :... vi Chapter One: I: Is Vautrin An Innovation? - Introduction 1 - Romantic Roots- Physical and Metaphysical 2 - Character Types 4 II. Vautrin1s Historical Roots - Vidocq 11 - Coignard 2 - Conclusion 15 Chapter Two: Mystery and Power - Introduction 16 - Mysterious Vautrin 1- Powerful Vautrin 21 •? The Physiognomy of Vautrin .... 29 - Satanic Soul 33 - ConclusionChapter Three: Spirit of Revolt - Introduction . * 40 - Balzac the Anti-Socialist 41 - Vautrin the Anarchist 49 •s Balzac and Vautrin 56 - Vautrin the Anti-Hero 58 - Conclusion 65 Chapter Four: Paternal or Homosexual? - Introduction 66 - Warnings by Balzac Exemplified by Vautrin-vi-TABLE OF CONTENTS - CONT'D Page Chapter Four: Cont'd - Vautrin1s Duality ........... 71 - The Unmaking of Vautrin 81 - Conclusion 84 Chapter Five: The Master's Touch - Introduction 86 •? Balzac's Use of Realism 86 - Balzac and Symbolism 101 - Conclusion 105 Chapter Six: Concluding Notes 107 Bibliography 11Appendix 124 -vii CHAPTER ONE: I: IS VAUTRIK AN INNOVATION? Introduction Vautrin is not a mere creation of Balzac's imagin ation. Literary models inspired him as did living ones and he was particularly influenced by the trends in eighteenth-century literature. These included the gothic novel typical ly shrouded in mystery and terror as well as exhibiting a taste for rebellious natures. A brief survey of such promi nent writers as Lord Byron, Goethe and Schiller and their evil creations will indicate some of Vautrin's most obvious phys ical and spiritual sources. The aforementioned creators of that violent type from which Vautrin was to spring were, in turn inspired by the romans noirs of Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Lewis and Charles Maturin. These novels of black literature combined revolutionaries, gloomy settings and tales of horror. Ghosts, bloody nuns and damsels in distress became the indispen sable features surrounding the romantic bandit. A closer look at the traditional physique of the heroes and an over view of the various types of popular rebels will illustrate Balzac's debt to the romantic movement. Romantic Roots One need only read Le Pere Goriot and Splendeurs et -2-miseres des courtisanes to be impressed by a striking fig ure endowed with great strength and an uncomfortably pierc ing eye. Comparison with his romantic predecessors, their emanations of evil power, their herculean strength and the scowls that darken and furrow their faces, reveals a close similarity of external features andddistinguishing moods in Balzac's Vautrin. Physical and Metaphysical The physical aspect of the heroes in Romantic liter ature is carefully developed to evoke the metaphysical: predominantly fear and uneasiness. The earliest example of this development is found in Ann Radcliffe's Schedoni. This striking figure of The Italian or The Confessional of the  Black Penitent,(1797), is described as being tall, and: •" ...as he stalked along, wrapt in the black garments of his order, there was something terrible in the air; something almost super human.'?.! His cowl, too, as it threw a shade over the livid paleness of his face, encreas-ing its severe character, and gave it an effect to his large, melancholy eye, which approached to horror... an habitual gloom and severity prevailed over the deep lines of his counte nance; and his eyes were so piercing that they seemed to penetrate, at a single glance, into the hearts of men, and to read their'most secret thoughts; few persons could support their scrutiny, or even endure to meet them twice." 1. Such arresting features, particularly the expression of the eye, are evident in Balzac's description of Vautrin. Fur-1. Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony (New York:Meridian,1956),p.59. -3-thermore, Byron's creation of Conrad and the Giaour is de rived from Ann Radcliffe's work and both characters show a direct relationship to Schedoni in physical characteristics. Byron's heroes arid Schedoni share the same powerful gaze instilled with a sinister power, also a characteristic of Vautrin. Byron says of Conrad: " There breathe but few whose aspect might defy The full encounter of his searching eye; He had the skill, when Cunning's gaze would seek To probe the heart and watch his changing cheek, • • • • There was a laughing devil in his sneer, 2 That raised emotions both of rage and fear." The giaour, in his monk's habit, mirrors Schedoni: " Dark and unearthly is the scowl That glares beneath his dusky cowl. • • • • Oft will his glance the gazer rue, For in it lurks that nameless spell, Which speaks, itself unspeakable." 3. Ann Radcliffe then, is at the roots of the literary fad of mixing romanticism, mysticism and pseudo-science in physio gnomy. It was she who created the hero who was to haunt literature for a long time: handsome, gloomy, proud, with mysterious and terrible.passions darkly suggested by his piercing, black eyes. Byron, Scott, Lewis and Maturin under went Radcliffe's influence as, through them, as well as dir ectly, so did Balzac. Not only in physique and mood is Vautrin's debt to the Romantic literary movement visible, but also in the various types of rebels and heroes that dom-"2. Lord Byron, The Works Of Lord Byron (London:John Murray,1904), Vol.3, 234-235: 3. Ibid., p.125. -4-inated literature. Character Types The philosophy behind this new breed of villainous rebel is best expressed by the following: 11 Ces miserables brigands, l'objet du degout et de l'horreur des nations, en aeviendront les arbitres et les e"chafauds se changeront en autels. Dieu a revetu d'une mission particuli^re ces hommes de sang et de terreur qui usent, qui brisent les ressorts de l'etat social pour le recommencer." 4. Their mission then, is to tear down the old, making way for a new society based on greater equality. From the mere phys ical attributes, let us turn to study the different strains of rebels who chose this passive or active destruction as their mission. For example, active revolt characterizes the rebel, the social misfit and the hero-villain, while the melancholic misfit finds solace in escape from the painful realities of society. The character Conrad, from The Corsair,(1814), lies in the second category and best exemplifies Byron's rebel. Conrad, the leader of a band of pirates, has deliberately chosen evil. Depicted as bloody in crime and vice, shunned and feared, alone and mysterious, he is an entirely sinister and overpowering figure. He valued the fear which he inspir ed above everything except his love for Medora, upon whose 4. Honore" de Balzac, Histoire des Treize tome xiii, preface, pp. 7-8. death: 11 He left a Corsair's name to other times, ^ Linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes." * This man of destiny, to a certain degree at the cross-roads and disenchanted with life, faces either active revolt against society or a hyper-sensitive passivity. Conrad chooses the former in opposition to the quiet desperation of Byron's other famous rebel, Manfred. Vautrin too, having weighed the advantages of active and passive revolt, as witnessed in Le Pere Goriot, chooses the path of anarchy, crime and vice. The social misfit is best exemplified by Karl Moor, the leader of Schiller's Me Rauber,(1781),,Moor is a fusion of the influence of Rousseau; the idea that natural man, kind and harmless, can be changed by society into a vicious criminal. Moor is presented as the ideal youth in search of liberty and at war with tyranny, yet imbued with the tender feelings of love and melancholy. Never able to control the disorder of his will and his actions, his exist ence is marred by murder and injustice. By his defiance of God and man, he destroys the world of justice and morality which he so much wanted to save, and for which reason he became an avenger of all violence and injustice. In compar ison with Vautrin, Balzac barely dwells on the latter's original ..innocence. However, one can certainly see in him 5. Ibid., p.296. Moor's tender feelings of love and his harsh defiance of God, justice and morality. Vautrin, however, is stronger in pur pose than Moor and is not beset by the same conflicts of will and action. In addition to the type of rebel who cannot content himself to live conventionally in a society which refuses to recognize his individuality, there is the type who, instead of rising in open revolt against society,,prefers to with draw from it and lead a life tormented by a deep melancholy and filled with sighs of ennui. Characters of this type are the dreamers as opposed to men of action. They either commit suicide or end their days in a typically romantic, exotic country, where they feel akin to nature, away from the corrupting influences of civilization. Two such rebels in flicted with the mal du siecle are Werther and Rene. Certain ly Vautrin exhibited similar dreams of escape to idealistic plantations in America as revealed in Le Pere Goriot. As well as active rebels and melancholic misfits, the Romantic movement also produced epic heroes in an epic liter ature preoccupied with the theme of revolt and of man and his destiny. The greatest of these is Milton's Satan, whom M Mario Praz ascribes as the source for Conrad, Giaour and Karl Moor. Satan is a being, proud of his rebellion, who, even though defeated, refuses to repent. R.J.Z. Werblowsky sees Satan in part: -7-" ...as rebel against a rather passive God's immutable decrees,(he) becomes the symbol of the power-carrier who strains every muscle, fibre and nerve against a supreme and unrelenting and ipso facto cold and hostile fate." 6. Praz also draws a parallel between the physical features of Milton's "Fallen Angel" and the later Romantic rebels. Satan personifies the sadness, death, diabolical charm and sinister air of the ''sublime criminal" who was to appear at the end of the eighteenth century. Alongside theRomantic rebel and the melancholic hero then, there existed the hero-villain. He appears as the epitome of all that is evil and is instilled with an eerie, supernatural power. The qualities which comprise in part the Romantic rebel also apply to the villain of the gothic nove1: " ...mysterious(but conjectured to be exalted) origin, traces of burnt-out passions, suspicion of ghastly guilt, melancholy habits, pale face, unforgettable eyes." 7. Satan, Vautrin and, as we shall see, Melmoth and Ferragus share the villainous qualities mentioned above. Melmoth is a striking example of the Gothic hero-villain. The nature of this type is two-fold; he is a power ful being, capable of exercising great self-control and is a marked criminal. Although his character is presented larger than life, its negative side is accentuated in order for 6. Zwi Werblowsky, Lucifer and Prometheus (London:Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.,1952;, p.79. 7. Praz, Op. cit.,p.59. -8-the reader to sense fully the atmosphere of impending doom so necessary to the Gothic tale. He is a symbol of moral rebellion in an orthodox society, 11 ...whose evil is the result of a clash between his passionate nature and powerful individual will and the unnatural restraints of convention, orthodoxy or tradition."8. Indeed, a similar clash with parallel results is visible in Vautrin, though an atmosphere of doom is not an integral part of Balzacas novels. The character of the hero-villain who was to emerge, after much painful trial and error, in Vautrin, was preceded, in Balzac's own writings, by Ferragus. In 1833, while keeping within the limits of the roman noir literary tradition, Bal zac created, in his Histoire des Treize, Ferragus. He created a secret society of adventurers and nobles, " ...tpus fatalistes, gens de coeur, et de poe'sie, mais ennuye's de la vie plate qu'ils menaient, entraings vers de jouissances asiatiques." 9. a society, " ...contre laquelle l'ordre social serait sans de"fense,£ quijrenverserait les obstacles, foudroierait les volontes et donnerait a -,Q chacun d?eux le pouvoir diabolique de tous." In this early work, one can already discern the hostility towards society that was to mark Vautrin. Like Ferragus, 8. Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer (Lincoln, Nebraska:Bison, 1961),P.x. 9, Balzac, Treize tome xiii, preface pp. 7,8. 10. Ibid., pp.7,8. -9-Vautrin was a former convict who headed "Les Grands Fanandels" and "La Societe des Dix-Mille", " .. .un monde a. part dans le monde, hostile au monde, n'en reconnaissant aucune loi, ne se soumettant qu'a. la conscience de sa necessite et n'obiissant qu'a un deVouement." 11. Balzac was learning to synthesize the Romantic influence with his own creativity: the literary precedent had been set and one third of Vautrin1s make-up determined. The rest of him was to be drawn from Balzac's creative genius and the real world where Balzac could exercise his talents in a bare ly explored area: the underworld. 11. Ibid., pp.7,8. -10-CHAPTER ONE: II. VAUTRIN *S HISTORICAL ROOTS Continuing our pursuit of Vautrin's sources, we now turn to prominent people whose lives or physique bear a strong resemblance to Vautrin's. Two contemporaries of Balzac's who could have served as models for his character are Francois Vidocq and Pierre Coignard. Both were con victed villains who turned their knowledge of the criminal world to the benefit of society and rose to fame in the police force. A comparison of life patterns and physical appearances with Vautrin's will show how much Balzac owed his inspiration to them. The conclusive proof that Balzac did use real life models is in a letter to Hippolyte Castille, dated October 11, 1846. In it, Balzac alluded to his creation of Vautrin: " Ce personnage qui repre'sente la corruption, le bagne, le mal social dans, toute son horreur, n'a rien de gigantesque. Je puis vous assurer que le module existe, qu'il est d'une epouvantable grandeur et qu'il a trouve' sa place dans le monde de notre temps. Cet homme etait tout ce qu'e'tait Vautrin, moins la passion que je lui ai pretee. II etait le g£nie du mal, utilise' d'ailleurs." 12. From Francois Vidocq then, the elusive and by now legendary convict who became police commissioner and who published his Me'moires in 1827, Balzac borrowed the bodily traits and some occurences.. 12. Albert Prioult, Balzac avant 'La Comedie humaine' (Paris: Courville, 1936),p.365. -11-Vidocq In his life pattern, for example, one can detect manyr tsimilarities to Vautrin1s. Vidocq was born at Arras in 1775. He stole money from his father and ran away from home, hoping to go to America. He took to the roads in France, however, and for several years travelled with a circus He joined, then deserted, the French army. He was condemned by army courts for forgery and sent to Brest on an eighteen-year sentence of forced labour. Stubborn and physically stron he escaped threeeor fmir times, only to be recaptured and put into irons. In 1809, he offered his services to Baron Pasquier in the police department. Vidocq felt that as he had personal knowledge of the criminal way of life, he could' be invaluable in tracking down criminals. The proposition appealed to Pasquier who recognized genius in Vidocq, and he agreed to the plan, on condition that Vidocq spend two years training with the force to teach the jargon of the criminal world. Vidocq became chief of the 'police de la surete'. In 1827-1828 he helped produce his Mjmoires. A brief outline of Vautrin's life and criminal record follows, paralleling that of Vidocq and later, Coignard. Vautrin was born Jacques Collin in 1779, and was brought up by his aunt, Jacqueline Collin, who had him educated by the Fathers of the Oratory. After his education was completed, she put him to work in a bank, where he was charged with a -12-forgery committed by his friend, Franchessini. He escaped from prison while serving the five-year term and went to Paris as Vautrin. From 1815-1820, he stayed at the 'Pension Vauquer', where he was arrested by Bibi-Lupin. Sent to Rochefort, Vautrin lost little time in making his escape and went to Spain. In Spain, he killed the Abbe Carlos Herrera, took on his identity, and returned to Paris. Later, in his role of Vautrin, he became assistant to Bibi-Lupin, and in 1830, he succeeded him as the head of the 'police de la surest!', a position which he held until 1845. As V/idocq expressed the romantic theme of the rebel and the criminal re-established in the world of society, so does Vautrin represent the same theme in Balzac's world of the 'Comedie humaine8. Both are men who began in opposition to the law and worked against it and who finally became recon ciled with the law and worked for it, using their experiences to help law conquer the very malevolence which they once personified. However, though the Me'moires of Vidocq caused somewhat of a sensation in 1828-1829, he was not the only con vict who had become police chief. Pierre Coignard's adven tures were quite similar, as we shall see. Coignard Coignard, born in Toulon in 1785, was imprisoned for robbery and, after his escape, went to Spain where he took the name of Count Saint-Helene. After fighting in the Span--13-ish army, he joined the French army in which he rose to Major. He was decorated with the Cross of Saint Louis and the Legion of Honour in 1815, and was named commander of the Paris pol ice. He was betrayed by one of his former prison mates and sent to prison in Toulon where he died. Resemblances in life patterns are very strong between the two Frenchmen and Vautrin. It is possible to recognize their common bod ily traits that incorporate and develop some of the prom inent features of Vautrin's literary predecessors. The eyes, the build and the spiritual qualities in particular are as evident in Radcliffe's heroes as they are in Vidocq, Coignard and Vautrin. Le'on Gozlan described Vidocq as he appeared in 1844 as: " ...un homme a figure bovine, large au front, bestiale du bas, solide, inquietant, d'un caractere etrange. cheveux autrefois rouges assurement, aujourd hui gris d'hiver. Ensemble;complexe, rustique et subtil, d'une expression peu facile a definir, d'un mot, d'un trait, du premier coup; et calme cependant, mais calme a la mani&re redoutable des sphinx egyptiens." 13. Gozlan continued his description by drawing attention to Vidocq's massive chest and his hand- feline, yet authori tative, preventing Gozlan from getting a full view of his face. He seemed to express an air of power and a strong will in his whole being. Similarities spring to mind at the introduction of Vautrin in Le P&re Goriot where Balzac presents him to us 13. Jules Bertaut, 'Le P£re Goriot' de Balzac (Paris:SF'ELT, 1947), p.132. -14-as a man of about forty years old, with: 11 ...les gpaules larges, le buste bien developpe, les muscles apparentes, des mains 'epaisses, carres et fortement marquees aux phalanges par des bouquets de poils touffus et d'un roux ardent. Sa figure, rayle par des rides pre'mature'es, off rait des signes de duret^ qui de'mentaient ses mani^res souples et liantes." 14. The most striking feature of Vautrin are his eyes. He gave a feeling of resolution and imparted an unesy sensation in a glance that seemed to,penetrate the inner being of whom soever he beheld. He was not to be crossed, no matter how pleasant or friendly he appeared to be. He made it his business to know the affairs of everyone around him, although no one knew anything about his personal life. Thus it has been noted that physical similarities in both literary and his historical figures abound, as do parallels in life patterns. Nevertheless, neither Vidocq nor Coignard, during their life as outlaws, considered themselves rebels against soc iety as a whole and, even less were they the grandiose incar nation of revolt that Vautrin was in ' La Come^die humaine. In part, these dimensions of Vautrin probably stem from Did-erots's Le Neveu de Rameau, a work read and admired by Balzac, in which a bohemian states: " Dans la nature, toutes les esp&ces se devorent, toutes les conditions se deVorent dans la socie'te'."15. 14. Honore de Balzac, Le P£re Goriot (Paris:Garnier-Flammarion,1966), p.36. (Henceforth, unless otherwise indicated, this edition will be used and identified as Goriot.) 15. Pierre Citron, Goriot, preface,p.16. -15-Vautrin voices the same sentiment by drawing a parallel be tween Paris and a virgin forest in which savages fight one another; he declares that only strength matters in society, that morality is a false front, and wealth rules supreme: "Si je reussis, personne ne me demandera: 'Qui es-tu?1 Je* serai Monsieur Quatre-millions." Gonelusion This chapter reveals the surprising number of element brought together in the creation of Vautrin. From his roman tic youth, Balzac retained a predilection for poetic heroes, for the exceptional men presaged by Schiller and Byron. He combined these influences with a fascination with the under world and an ability to record what he witnessed around him. The dominating traits of the resultant figure, Vautrin, are examined in the following chapters. Some underline Balzac's debt to his predecessors and to his era, and some illustate Vautrin's power to lead Balzac's pen by a powerful person ality all his own. He is, above all, "!'incarnation de cet instinct de puissance,""^* and he acts as a powerful force unifying the Comldie humaine. 16. Goriot, p.112. 17. MuiTeT Ferguson, La Volonte' dans 'La Comedie humaine' (Pari Georges Coueville, 1935),p.159. -16-CHAPTER TWO: MYSTERY AND POWER Introduction Vautrin1s mysterious and powerful impact on the read er, the means Balzac used toaeheive this, and his techniques to heighten Vautrin's mystery and power are well worthy of analysis. Vautrin's physiognomy is also discussed in ref erence to these two characteristics. Finally, the appro priateness of the frequent satanic epithets and adjectives applied to Vautrin are explored as well as their sources in Vautrin,s mysterious and powerful character. Mysterious Vautrin In Balzac's literary scheme, most characters have a dominant trait, a particular mania around which is woven a fairly simple background to set off and sometimes exaggerate the trait. Vautrin's complex nature arises from the wealth of subordinate elements which are placed around himu:to justify and support his governing passions. To support an ambition-driven rebellion against society then, Vautrin consciously develops certain facets of his character. Among these is a sense of mystery and power. As with other aspects of Vautrin's personality, those showing him as a mysterious and powerful man can, for the most part, be traced back through Balzac's own work and -17-personality to their sources in literature and in life. Hence Vautrin appears as an immense amalgamation of ideas and characteristics gathered here and there throughout all of Balzac's experience of literature and of the world. How ever, before examining these influences more closely, let us briefly place Vautrin in the perspective of the Cornedie  humaine, to attempt to explain Balzac's preoccupation with thi s ind ividua1. Balzac's official reason for writing about a crim inal was that he was obliged to in order to present a com.pl plete fresco of his society. Nevertheless, there appear to be more profound reasons. Gozlan, for instance, tells us that Balzac had a great taste for the mysterious workings of the police and the underworld: " Cette re've'lation faite par Balzac d'un eVenement qui arriva en partie, vint m'apprendre, pour,la premiere fois, confirmee depuis par tant d'autres, son gout excessif pour les ne'gociations secretes, pour les expeditions conduites sinueusement dans 1'ombre, les projets arranges de loin, enfin, ses penchants dominants d'artiste pour les affaires de police et les machinations de tout genre qu'emploie celle-ci, par ne^cessite, dans le but de parvenir a la decouverte des voleurs et des criminels."1, Vautrin not only completes a total panorama of French soc iety in the nineteenth century, but he also is an extension 1. Leon Gozlan, Balzac intime (Paris:Librairie ilustre'e, n.d.), p.278. -18-of a particular preoccupation of the author. Hence the im portance of the position he assumes within the criminal world of La Come'die humaine. Balzac's great interest in the psych ology of outlaws is realized in this chapter through a study of mystery and power, that distinguishes the underworld elite. Balzac's excessive taste for the secret machinations in his characters has been noted not only by L6on Gozlan and Ferna'nd Roux, but Curtius too has amplified this "pre'occu-2 pation du mystere" *, both in connection with Balzac's per sonal life and in his workssur Vautrin lui-meme, une des plus puissantes creations, de Balzac, pese un sombre mystere, qui dirige toute sa vie." * Some of the methods by which Balzac cultivated and accentuated the mysterious side of his protagonist can be traced back to the early Romantic writers and include use of restraint in discussing his char acters and their motivations, ambiguity of interpretation, and finally, concealment of pertinent information, The authors of the late eighteenth century often com pletely veiled, or allowed only brief glimpses, of the ante cedents or early life of their heroes. Consequently, the r. ..J. motives behind their actions and thoughts were left unexpl ained and aroused one's curiosity. Speaking of the period of the Empire and of the Restoration, Barde*che says: 2. Ernst Curtius, Balzac (Paris: Grasset, 1933),p. 32. 3. Ibid., p. 32. -19-11 Les romans de cette £poque sont des romans sans exposition, reposant sur un Element , d1intrigue essentiel: le mystere du passe." * And so with Balzac's presentation of Vautrin, about whom we are told but little, and that in snatches only. This res traint was calculated to heighten certain aspects of the character and to keep the reader's imagination fertile and alive with conjectures. Collin's parents and early life are almost completely obscure, yet we know, by the end of the Vautrin trilogy, that he was an illegitimete child. As we have seen, Collin's history is not given all in a piece, but is doled out over the whole length of his adventures. That he too, like the Romantic heroes, had an unfortunate experience in love, is hinted in Le Plre Goriot, while details concerning his ed ucation and upbringing are reserved for the final chapters of Splendeuyss et miseres des courtisanes^ This restraint in exposing the life of the protagonist is one of the primary techniques the author usessin building a sense of mystery. Ambiguity is another key factor in Balzaei'is character exposure. It is sprinkled liberally throughout with details being conveyed by inference alone. Balzac's use of the un named and un-namable element suspended just out of the read er's sight is also extensive in the Vautrin cycle, and serves much the same purpose of enhancing the "tall, dark, stranger" 4. Maurice Bardeche, Balzac romancier (Paris:Plon, 1967),p.36. -20-mystique. Balzac reserves the Radcliffian technique of simply not giving information for use in connection with Vautrin's criminal activities. These latter are alluded to with alarm ing abundance, crimes both committed and projected, but the author's method of imprecise suggestion and even concealment, supplies a whole mythical aura of the darkest evil.deeds around the character and further heightens his mysterious-ness. Finally, there is of course the mystery over which, in Curtius' words, Balzac has thrown the splendid mantle of art."'* Though the unforewarned reader may misinterpret or simply miss this part of Vautrin, attentive reading of the three novels shows Balzac's mantle to be of "diaphanous stuff". Further discussion of Vautrin's ambiguous amorous leanings is reserved for Chapter Four, though it is pertinent to cite this as an example of restraint and inference which increases our interest in the character. An atmosphere of mystery is thus produced by omitting the kind of formal biography found in La Cousine Bette. Exam ination of the complete cycle however, shows that the person al history is adequate, that it is of a nature to justify satisfactorily Vautrin's actions, and that Balzac succeeds 5. See Curtius, p. 159. -21-in combining realism with mystery in his handling of Vautrin's biography. Having examined from an external point of view some of the author's more successful means of character develop ment in the Vautrin trilogy, let us turn to consider features within Vautrin that also convey a sense of mystery and power. What interaction can be discerned between the two elements? Is Vautrin a more arresting figure as a result of this com bination? In order to answer these questions, we must dis cover how conscious Vautrin was of his ability to convey mystery and powet'.rand how he used his mastery of them to intimidate and confuse his challengers. Powerful Vautrin It is Paul Verni&re who names the desire for power as Vautrin's chief motivating force. Though Balzac nowhere refers to his character as a ge*nie in this sense, Vautrin does say in Illusions perdues that he likes power for power's sake^'and it is true that power forms an essential tool or means in his desire for revenge. Verni£re says: " Comme Maxime de Trailles, comme Madame de Maufrigneuse, comme du Tillet, comme Rastignac, defiant la sociite des hauteurs du P^re-Lachaise, Vautrin est, avant tout, pour Balzac, 1'incarnation de cet instinct de puissance qui donne la clef et qui forme 6. Honors' de Balzac, Illusions perdues (Paris:Gamier-Flammarion, 1966),p.598. (Henceforth, this edit ion will be quoted.) -22-1'unite re'elle de La Comedie humaine. z N'allons pas croire que Balzac^a pour seule intention de peindre la societe de son temps. Cette societe, il veut avant tout la dominer, comme romancier, comme dandy, comme grand homme. Et jamais il n'a mieux su la fustiger que par sa creation de Vautrin."7 Vautrin then dominates the criminal world and the society in which he moves through his power, for better, for worse, for good and for evil. So Prioult says that Vautrin: " ...presente ce trait bien caracteristique des hlros balzaciens qu'il organise non seulement sa propre existence, mais encore celle de son entourage, en vue des fins qu'il poursuit; il impose aux autres sa volonte rudement lorsqu'il s'agit de bandits dont il est le maitre incon-teste, avec plus de discretion, mais non moins de tenacite, pour ce qui est de Lucien de Rubempre" pu de Esther van Gobseck."8 Clearly, Vautrin is fully conscious-of his intimidating powers and is ready to use them to manipulate others. In particular, he has a subtle genius for persuasion born of personal magnetism, By drawing people to him, or even by repulsing them, his superior power is evident.(For example,see infra p.77, the description of his first meeting with Lucien.) His ability to do so is a direct result of his knowledge of two prominent scientists of his era: Lavater and Mesmer. Among scientific writers who influenced Balzac's ideas were Nacquart, Gall and Lavater. Doctor Nacquart's 7. Paul Verniere, "Balzac et la genese de Vautrin." Revue d'histoire  litte'raire, (janvier-mars,1948),pp.67-68. 8. Prioult, p. 102. -23-Traite sur la nouvelle physiologie du cerveau ou Exposition  de la doctrine du docteur Gall sur les structures et les  fonctions de cet organe appeared in 1808. Nacquart claimed that "la physiologie du cerveau est la vraie philosophie de l'homme." * He reduced psychology to physiology and placed man in the hands of a scientific determinism by trying to give the social sciences the same precision that character izes the physical sciences. The original thesis of Doctor Gall, upon which Nacquart expounded was phrenology, a science which claimed that the brain could be mapped into zones, and that the formation of the skull would indicate the character and the temperament of the individual. Doctor Lavater's contribution to the science of the time was physiognomy,, a new science whose basic principle was that a person's charac ter and even his destiy, could be read from his physical features. Balzac's fascination with these 'findings' is evident in the careful physical descriptions that he gives of his characters, as he introduces them, in an attempt to reveal their psychology. Along with the importance of the environment of the individual, the idea that man is psycho logically what he is physically—-that is, man)s inner self is revealed by hi?s exterior appearance-- forms one of the principal doctrines in the formation of La Comgciie humaine. 9. Bernard Guyon, La Pensee politique et sociale de Balzac (Paris: Colin,1967),p.42. ~ -24-Vautrin's use of Lavater's theories is witnessed in words such as the following: "Vous £tes fille, vous resterez fille, vous mourrez fille; car malgre les seduisantes theories des eleveurs des b£tes, on ne peut devenir ici-bas que ce qu'on est...1'homme aux bosses a raison. Vous avez la bosse de 1*amour."10 At least a part of Collin's skill in handling people then, his ability to "read thoughts", and his rapid evalu ation of character must be attributed to his knowledge of Lavater. Vautrin has as thorough an acquaintance with Lava-ter as Balzac does himself and he makes ample use of this knowledge each time he assumes a new disguise. One of the main problems in studying the character, in fact, is the distinction which must be made between Collin as Vautrin, Collin as Herrera and Collin as Collin. It should be remem bered that Vautrin's rather vulgar conduct in the Vauquer boarding house, along with his wig and dyed sideburns, is part of his disguise as a retired businessman. Collin is revealed only through the conversations with Rastignac, and even then, he remains concealed behind this disguise, since he never tells the young Rastignac who he is. He is glimpsed again at the moment of his unmasking, when he becomes en raged and as suddenly, seizes control of himself again. One would like to think that the offer to send the boarders 10. Honor£ de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes(Par Gamier-Flammarion,1968),p.112. (Henceforth, this edition will be quoted as Splendeurs.) -25-some figs from Provence is part of Collin rather than Vautrin, but one cannot be sure. The same skillful use of physio gnomy and the art of disguise is apparent with the intro duction of Carlos Herrera, at the end of Illusions perdues. As long as he wishes, Collin ressembles a priest. Yet, it is not long before Lucien feels that something is amiss because of the contrast between Carlos' bearing, and the ideas which he expresses. This should not. be interpreted as a lack of skill on Collin's part, but rather as a sign that he thinks he has found the instrument he wants in the person of Lucien de Rubemprl. If this is so, there is no further need to mention the disguise, and it is , in fact, quickly discarded as far as Lucien is concerned. And so we see that, whereas Balzac, in his role of commentator, usually reser ves for himself the right to discuss the theories of Lavater and Gall, in the case of Vautrin," he shares this right with a character in order to illustrate the source of one of Vautrin's most powerful weapons: a penetrating knowledge of human nature. Closely associated with physiognomy in Balzac's mind is the idea of animal magnetism, as expounded by Mesmer, who enjoyed a great vogue in Europe prior to the turn of the century. This was bound to appeal to Balzac's underlying mysticism and he made such use of it that it might be said to be one of the trade-marks of his strong characters. Lav-1 -26-ater also was a proponent of the new force, and if Balzac had not already become acquainted with the phenomenon in other literary works, he would have found ample discussion of it in Lavater. It is there defined as a force: " ...que nous appelons lumiere, fluide magnltique ou electrique,...L1oeil du genie semble avoir des emanations qui 'agicJCw. agissent physiquement et imme'diatement sur d autres yeux.1 11. Curtius rightly assigns primary importance to this factor in Balzac's mind: " Mais ce qui 1'interessait par-dessus tout, c'etait le 'regard magnet ique', ce 'rayon charge' d'Hme', par lequel l'etre qui en est doue peut soumettre a son enti£re volonte d'autres personnes. II n'y a presque pas un seul livre de Balzac ou. ce regard ne joue un role plus ou moins mystirieux. Toutes les natures fortes chez Balzac soumettent leurs adversaires par ce regard qui deeharge le fluide de leur volontl." 12. So here then is the second secret inner source of Vautrin's power over others. A brief look at some of Balzac's earlier works will indicate how important this feature was in the development of his strong characters. Balzac's work, from Stenie in 1819-1820, to Splen  deurs et miseres des courtisanes in 1847, is shot through 13 with magnetism. Jacob Del Ryes says "mon regard tue" , and, speaking of St€nie, he says, "Quelque chose de plus qu'humain 11. Johann Lavater, L'Art de connaitre les hommes par la physionomie (Paris :Nile Ed.,Augmented par M.Moreau, 1806-1809) ,vi,93.. 12. Curtius, op_cit.,p.62. 13. Honoris de Balzac, Steliie (Paris :"ConctccL, 1930) ,p. 78. -27-s'echappe d'elle, ce fluide incomprehensible qui part des yeux, qui s'exhale d'elle et que tu rangeras o\i tu voudras..." The elder Beringheld wore dark glasses, which should be com pared to Carlos" Herrera's double green lenses, worn to hide his shining eyes. Since there is relatively little varia tion in the way Balzac uses magnetism throughout his whole career, it will suffice to give but a few examples,—this one concerning La Femme de trente ans; " Balzac se souviendra encore de cet aventurier/mandarin lorsqu'il £crira La Femme: le capitaine Parisien, seul martre a bord de l'Othello, n'est autre qu'Argow, mais heritier des theories balzaciennes sur le magne'tisme et l'hypnose ou, du moins, disciple de cet abbe Faria qui, d'apr^s Monsieur de Jouy, a de'fraye' quelque temps la chronique parisienne."15 A passage in Une Tene*breuse Affaire is particularly interesting since it shows how closely this magnetism is linked in Balzac's mind with power, whether for good or evil: " Depuis trois quarts d'heure, cet homme avait dans le geste et dans le regard une autorite" despotique irresistible, puisne a la source commune et inconnue ou puisent leurs pouvoirs extraordinaires et les grandssgeneraux sur le champ de bataille ou lis enflament les masses, et les grands orateurs qui entralnent les assembles et, disons le aussi, les grands criminels dans leurs coups audacieux! II semble alors qu'il s'exhale de la t£te et que la parole porte une influence invincible que le geste injecte le vouloir de l1homme chez autrui."16 14. Ibid.,p.53. 15. Prioult,op cit.,p.380. 16. Geoffroy Atkinson, Les Idles de Balzac d'apres 'La Come'die  humaine(Geneve:Droz. 1949-1950).III.96. -28-Billy confirms the importance of this phenomenon in Balzac's work when he speaks of: " Le regard magnetique, fascinateur, dont il se croyait doue', dont il l'etait reellement sans doute et qu'il a prete k beaucoup de ses personnages, particulferement a Vautrin... le regard froidement fascinateur que certains hommes eminement magne"tiques ont le don de lancer et qui, dit-on, calme les fous furieux dans les maisons d'ali^nes." 17. Indeed Vautrin had recourse to this cold, penetrating gaze on several occasions as he attempted to calm an hysterical Lucien or Eugene. And so we conclude that Vautrin has the same physi cal powers shared by some of these earlier creations of Balzac's and we sense that he knows how to use them to control others. Indeed, Bardeche says: " Toute sa theorie de la materialite de la pense'e a pour fondement les phenomenes psychiques qui tenaient tant de place dans l'oeuvre de 1820, et qui expliquent les actions des ttres dou^s de pouvoirs exceptionnels, les sorciers, les possedes, les gens a seconde vue et les demoniaques de toute esp£ce."18 Vautrin thus appears mysterious, satanic, with divinatory powers and, facing his stare, men, women and walls are re duced to shadows of their former selves. As far as physio gnomy is concerned, the major emphasis is placed on his "regard devinateur", on his "profondeur immobile d'un 18a sphinx qui sait, voit tout, et ne dit rien." 17. Andre Billy, La Vie de Balzac(Paris:Flammarion.1944).PP.217-218, 18. Bardeche, op cit.,p.367. 18a. Goriot, p. 104. -29-The Physiognomy of Vamtrin The importance of Balzac's art of portraiture is closely allied to his belief that external features mirror the inner self. Billy suggests that Balzac's early novels and those which later compose La Comedie humaine, have a common theoretical basis: " La preoccupation d'une psychologie fondle en physionomie."19 " La realite la plus Ijriviale ou la plus fortuite lui apparaitra toujours comme rentrant dans un systeme occulte et resultant d'une mystirieuse combinaison 20 des forces qui depassent 11entendement commun." Consequently, as with all of Balzac's characters, it is im portant to pay close attention to the small details that reveal the essential being. Balzac tends to be vague in relation to his descrip tion of Vautrin himself. One has only to,refer to the text to see that Balzac is extremely restrained in this instance, preferring to give striking details rather than revealing essentials, For example, the first description of him is limited to scarcely three lines in the Pl^iade edition. It is buried between the typical lengthy description of Madame Vauquer and Mademoiselle Michonneau:"...un homme age d'environ quarante ans, qui portait une perruque noire, se teignait les 19. Billy, opcit., p.63. 20. Ibid. ,p7b5~. 21 «• Bal'zacc, Goriot pe31a -30-21 favoris, se disait ancien negociant, et s'appelait M.Vautrin." As a description of Vautrin, this is excellent, for Balzac has not merely given a list of things constituting the dis guise and not the man. But this kind of brevity is rare in Balzac, and, in fact, does not last long. After painting a rather detailed portrait of Victorine Taillefer, and one in less detail of Rastignac, Balzac places Vautrin as a kind of transition between youthful idealism and cynical old age, seemingly because he combines elements of each in his complex personality. In his description of Vautrin, Balzac landed on what could be called a poetic technique of portraiture: por traiture by suggestion.rather than by precise and numerous detail. Fernand Roux has noted the difference.between the description of Vautrin and the usual Balzacian description, without however, seeing the full significance of the former. After discussing detail in description, he says: " Proce*de-t-il autrement, prenez garde! Son imagination vous emportera Men vite dans le monde des reves ou des cauchemars; elle vous ouvrira le ciel devant S"eraph2ta ou les enfers devant Vaj&trin; vous visiterez des pays de contours vagues que l'on ne voit qu'en songe."22 We will see however, that a double objective was accomplish ed by the reticence, only one of which was to make Vautrin 21. Balzac, Goriot p.31. 22. Fernand Roux, "Balzac jurisconsulte et criminaliste," Archives  d1anthropologic criminelle, (Paris; 1906),xxi,323. -31-mysterious. In Le B£re Goriot we are first introduced to Vautrin, the physical figure, followed by a more general represen tation of the character, going beyond the physical and sup plementing it, The ambiguity of the man is immediately apparent: " A la mani&re dont il lancait un jet de salive, il annoncait un sang froid imperturbable qui ne devait pas le faire reculer devant un crime pour sortir d'une situation Equivoque. Comme un juge seVere, son oeil semblait aller au fond de toutes les questions, de toutes les consciences, de tous les sentiments... il savait ou devinaiteles affaires de ceux qui 11entouraient, tandis que nul ne pouvait plnitrer ni ses pejise'es, ni ses occupations. Quoiqu'il eut jet£ son apparente bonhommie, sa constante complaisance et sa gaiete comme une barriere entre les autres et lui, souvent il laissait percer 1'epouvantable profondeur de son caractere." 23 Faguet's extensibrioof this description is interesting because of the elements of uneasiness, discomfiture and intrigue that it reveals between the lines of Balzac's portrait: " Vautrin est un bandit et c'est un homme de puissante volonte'. Mais il importe, pour la conduite de son roman, que l'auteur ne dise pas tout de suite qu'il est un bandit. A cause de cela, il le pr£sente seulement d'abord comme un homme iinquietant'... II est secret; on ne sait rien de lui, ni de ce qu'il fait, et des personnages plus "eveilles que ceux de la pension Vauquer en concevraient quelque ombrage; inconsciemment, du reste, ils sont tous un peu terrorises sinon.de ssntir qu'ils ne savent rien de lui,/ du mo ins de sentir qu'il devine .. -23. Goriot p. 36. sinon de sentir qu'ils ne savent rien de lui, du moins de sentir qu'il devine tout d'eux. De plus, il a un certain regard profond et penetrant et une certaine durete de physionomie quand il ne rit pas, qui font contraste avec ses manieres accomo-dantes et qui, *h de moins engourdis, feraient soupconner qu'elles sont factices. Et enfin, il est bien adroit a dlmonter les serrures. Tous ces traits constituent le 'personnage inquietant1, non tout k fait pour les pensionnaires, mais pour le lecteur, en le mettant sur la vole de soupconner le forban, ce qui est ce que veut l'auteur. En attendant, le portrait est acheve; on a d'ores et d£ja 1'impression d'un homme e'nergique et adroit, resolu et habile, maitre de lui, autonome, sans prejuges et sans manies et qui ne peut gu£re £tre autre chose qu'un bandit ou un policier. Le portrait, fort sombre, trace" a grandes lignes prdcises et creuse'es, est de toute beaute." 24 Yet Vautrin, in comparison with other Balzac figures, actually is slighted from the viewpoint of physiognomy. His few outstanding characteristics are well remembered: the eyes; the powerful build, the strong hands tufted with red dish hair. One recalls also that the sight of Vautrin's unwigged head produced a terrifying effect in the Vauquer boarding house and in the Conciergerie during his interview with Granville. But when one tries to recall details ex plaining why the head was so horrible to look on, one is hard put to find reasons. The fact is, that with admirable restraint, Balzac did not give them. Fernand Roux notes: 24. Emile Faguet, Balzac (Paris: Hachette, Grands Ecrivains franeais 1913), pp. 83-WT. -33-11 Seul peut-e^tre de tous les portraits de La Com^die humaine,celui de Vautrin est d£pourvu d'inter§t. Les mains,—ces mains elles-m£mes qui pour Balzac, decelent tant de choses!...ri'indiquent chez le forcat qu'une puissance brutale. Dans les quatre ou cinq volumes ou Vautrin apparalt, vous chercheriez en vain de lui un croquis quelque peu net. Sa poitrine velue, ses muscles gros et courts, qui rappellent ceux d'Hercule Farn&se, la puissance de volonte qui s'echappe de son regard, constituent des traits g^neVeux, formules presque en termes abstraits, in- ^ ( 25 susceptibles de determiner une individualite." What Roux sees as inadequacy in description could very like ly be the result of Balzac's desire to identify himself with his creation. He certainly does so in ideas, why should he not also in physique? If Balzac succeeds to some degree in masking his own person and personality behind Vautrin, he also succeeds in furthering the air of mystery surrounding the master criminal. Concluding our remarks on the myster ious and powerful Vautrin, we turn to what can be consider ed the purpose of such endowments: using them to Satanic ends. Satanic Soul Balzac says of his creation: " ...cet homme qui ne fut plus un homme, mais le type de toute une nation de'genere'e, d'un peuple sauvage et logique, brutal et souple. En un moment Collin devint un po£me infernal ou se peignirent tous les sentiments humains, moins un seul, celui 25. Roux, p.323. 26& Goriot pffl1860 -34-du repentir. Son regard etait celui de 26 I'archange dlchu qui veut toujours la guerre." EstVve has written too: " La Cornedie humaine aura...les Philippe Bridau, les Vautrin, les Gobseck, incarnations modernes et re*alistes de cette Inergie malfaisante que Byron avait symbolisle dans Lara et dans Manfred." 27 It is apparent indeed that Vautrin was the romantic hero, endowed with Byronic deviltry, So we come to a question that has often been raised: is Vautrin an incarnation of S Satan, a half- divine being who discerns where others are powerless to see? In studying the elements of mystery and power in Vautrin1s nature, it would be inappropriate to neglect those elements of demonology which Balzac attributed to him, though they perhaps are of less appeal today than in a period dominated by the mists and shadows of romanticism^ No doubt he bears many resemblances with Melmoth in Melmoth  re'concilie. Both suggest an intrusion of the supernatural into the world of drab routine, poisoning souls with cal culated misanthropy and denying distinctions between good and evil. In fact, we count well over fifty references to the Devil in the three novels, including Vautrin being called "diable supe'rieur". Esther exclaims jestingly at first: "Vous me faites l'effet d'un demon!", only to inquire later: ————— 7 P "Est-ce le diable?" Balzac does rr-t conceal hii f . . '• 26. Goriot p. 186. 27. " Edmond Esteve, Byron et le romanticisme francais (Paris:Boivin et Cie.,1929),p.493. -35-Lst-ce le diable?"ZOe Bal zac does not conceal his terrified fascination with the "archange de"chu" he has created. The reader is harried and haunted by an extensive miasma of epithets: "terrible mentor","terrible athlete","terrible pre^tre", "terrible juge", "ge'nie de la corruption", "genie du mal","feroce conducteur","f^roce calculateur","Machiavel du bagne", not to mention numerous references to demonology. Not only was Vautrin a spiritual incarnation of Satan, but he bore him a physical resemblance as well. For in stance, Balzac liked to attribute a symbolic colour to the features, eyes and hair of his most excessive characters. The red hair, colour of life and fire, befits someone he calls a "poete infernal". Indications of Satan become even strong er as his allusions become more pointed, especially when he associates his role with that of Destiny:Je me charge du role de la Providence;" or"Voici quarante ans...que nous remplacons le Destin." And finally, there is Rastignac1s neat delineation: "Dieu et Satan se sont entendus pour fondre Vautrin." Certainly these signs point to a demonic essence of unusual proportions who justifies Balzac's dictum that: "Tous les grands hommes sont des monstres." His behaviour also as an energy of life, an avenging force of reason, and a power breaking the fetters that enchain human thought, give him the pride and strength of an"infernal g£nie". 28. Splendeurs pp.108,112 and for the following page. -36-This semi-demonic soul, combining mystery, power and Satanic overtones springs from Balzac's fascination with the man motivated by passion: " Paris! il s'y rencontre des hommes a" passions.. Ces gens-la n'ont soif que d'une certaine eau prise a une certaine fontaine...pour en boire, ils vendraient leur ame au diable.. Cette fontaine est le jeu, la Bourse, la musique.. Balzac's characters are open to these powerful temptations, extensions of the Archfiend on earth, where life, far from being what it appears on the surface, conceals its inner substance in the shadows of the legendary spirits of darkn-ness. "S'il importe d'etre sublime en quelque genre , c'est 30 surtout en mal." In fact, Vautrin derives the pride of Lucifer in being "seul contre le gouvernement avec son tas 31 de tribunaux, de gendarmes, de budgets" , and, though he leaves the Vauquer home in handcuffs, is remorselessly happy to add:"et je les roule". His promise to send the other pensionnaires figs from Provence, while consistent with the behaviour of a farceur, leaves the foretaste of a different and disquieting promise —his return. A momentary triumph of order cannot efface the permanence of evil. Illusions perdues provides a very specific example of Vautrin's satanic soul in his dealings with Lucien. There is clearly a demonic pact underneath the realistic events. 29. Goriot p. 61. 30. Denis Diderot, Le Neveu de Rameau(Paris:Fabre,1950), p.61 31. G@riot p.187. -37-The usual exchange of gold at the conclusion of the pact has as its counterpart in Lucien's dealings with Herrera when Lucien, after signing the pact, suddenly finds himself in possession of a large enough" sumo.pf money to undo some of the damage he had caused at home. There is a virtual re versal of the customary pact with the devil however. In the usual sense, the human partner who delivers his soul to the devil gains the power of passing into other people's bodies, usually those younger and wealthier than himself. Vautrin represents the genius of Evil and Lucien makes a pact with him, but in this case, it is the devil who attempts to find a new life through the body of his victim. Vautrin indeed claims to have the power of almost complete identification with Lucien, much as Goriot claims it in respect to his daughters. This identification with another personality and the ability to derive happiness through another's pleasures is perhaps just a more realistic version of the mystic passing of one personality into the body of another such as Balzac no doubt read in the Arabian Nights. This transubstantiation however, will be left to Chapter Four. There is a lineage of this kind of Satanic power, or will to dominate, in Balzac's total production. L'Hlritie're  de Birague marked the evil figure of the Abbe" de la Bletterie, Le Corrupteur showed the moral dissolutuion of a young man, Argow le pirate produced a plotting social climber, La Peau  de chagrin disclosed a dejected youth unwittingly engaged in -38-a Faustian pact, Ferragus presented a veritable rebel, and La Fille aux yeux d'or introduced a devil and his disciple, the Abbe de Maronis and de Marsay. But none soars like Vautrin. De Marsay, the "corsaire en gants jaunes" of im peccable behaviour and impenetrability is in a sense Vautrin's ideal, what he would like Rastignac and Rubempre' to become --the dispassionate, evil being par excellence who can appear to respect the laws and yet be a "professeur es sceleratesses". However, he remains a symbol of an incarnation, an exquisite ly handsome Dorian Gray who can with impunity refuse obed ience to' society.1 Vautrin, on the other hand, is the spirit wHorhaslgiven himself wings to swoop down upon the infernal throng of Paris but not into it, not only because he cannot, but because he already exercises great power there. He is not the prototype of the individual who lives in the margin of society and the law, as many have described him. Rather, he is outside of society, happy to enjoy "la royautl que lui donnaient le cynisme de ses pensees, de ses actes, et la force d'une organisation faite a tout!" Curtius continues: " Vautrin devient done finalement pour Balzac le type des natures dimoniaques, qui r€sument £ouj;e's leg forces .humaines. L'eneVgie, toutes les energies amasse'es et condensers dans une figure grandiose, il fallait que Balzac r^alis'ltt dans son oeuvre ce beau spectacle; et il crea Vautrin, le reVolt^, le surhomme, ange fascinant du mal, Vautrin est 1'enfant pref^re" de son imagination 32. Felicien Marceau, Balzac et son monde Edition revue et augmented, (Paris:Gallimard,ly/0;, p.278. ~ -39-d'artiste et de sa volonte' de puissance, o son propre portrait, mais esquisse par la main de son demon." 33. Conclusion In studying the aura of mystery and power with which Balzac surrounds his criminal hero, we have shown that it is through the process of weaving together several ele ments that the novelist arrived at his end. We have, in this chapter, attempted to show how mystery and power and awe were created by witholding certain information in some cases and by the use of implication in others—for example, re garding Vautrin1s criminal activities. Demonology and the theme of the outlaw hero were both popular fields which Bal zac did not hesitate to exploit. By cleverly attributing knowledge of physiognomy and magnetism to Vautrin, rather than reserving it for himself as author-commentator, Balzac gave Vautrin power over people and skill in handling them. Finally, we have seen how the mystery and power-loving side of Balzac's own nature entered into the formation of his crim inal hero. We have suggested too that in producing mystery through a minimal physical description of Vautrin, and th rough the device of implied criminality, Balzac arrived, perhaps unwittingly, at other ends which contribute largely to the success of his character. Thus,the sum of the elements discussed herein makes up the essential character background for the next chapter: an analysis of Vautrin as a "gdnie de la revolte". 33. Curtius, p.162. -40-CHAPTER THREE: SPIRIT OP REVOLT Introduction In discussing Vautrin as an embodiment of revolt, several questions must be considered: is Vautrin really a reflection of Balzac's own social theories, a medium through which the author expresses his views, or is Vautrin's law less behaviour justified by his unfortunate treatment by ml society,? Is his character development rounded enough to make his sense of revolt realistic? To answer these key questions, we shall examine some of Balzac's views of soc iety, as expressed by himself and by characters in his pre ceding novels. Having established the relevance of his theories to the development of Vautrin, we shall attempt to show the reasons behind Vautrin's own indignant outcries. As Vautrin appears well-equipped for revolt, we shall observe how he ex ecutes his anti-social plans. Finally, the intimate bond between Balzac and his creation will be explored while an attempt will be made to convey that Vautrin is not just a mouth-piece but an end in himself. We shall begin by tracing the growth of rebellious prototypes of Vautrin in Balzac's work. _41_ Balzac the Anti-Socialist Balzac's early novels expressed certain well-defined social principles. Le Tartare ou le retour de 1'exile', by Auguste de Viellergll,(1822), uses as an epigraph for the second chapter, a quotation from Lord R'hoone's Essa-is philo-sophiques , a work of which we have no further information, which states:"L'homme-de la nature a des passions plus fortes et surtout plus vraies que 1'homme civilise. Rien n'altere la 2 justesse de ses jugements." * Balzac's basic philosophy in his early works puts into direct opposition Nature and Civil ization, and he expresses a general protest against all social laws, as seen in Physiologie du mariage. The "man of nature" has not yet learned to be a hypocrite; he has not been corrupt ed by man-made laws and false society. La Derniere Fie, a tale from Balzac's Juvenalia, is a sharp and bitter criticism of the inhumanity of man. In this story, Abel is a young man who, by some miracle, has been pre served from the tainted society around him. He is an example of the "man of nature" who is still capable of pure passion and a natural simplicity. The"derniere feV'} a wealthy English duchess, has grown weary of the world and its ways, and seeks the joys of a true love away from a pretentious society. This fairy tale satirizes the society of the duchess by placing it 2. As quoted in Guyon,p.l61. -42-in contrast with the ideal and natural world of Abel. The fairy explains the rules of her world, showing how absurd the laws are, and how they lead, more often than not, to undesir able ends. She expounds on the cruelty of society, the lack of concern for others and the general indifference of mankind for his fellow-beings. She scorns the importance attached to such status symbols as uniforms, ribbons and badges, thereby severing drastically with traditional values. Such preference for man's natural gifts becomes more and more evident in Bal zac 's writings. Balzac was also.lgresfcly_ influenced by the expression of anarchy in Byron's rebels. A stronger influence on this same subject came from William Godwin. In the preface to Annette ou  le criminel, smite du Vicaire des Ardennes, he calls Caleb Wil liams by Godwin a masterpiece. William Godwin presented his theories in a work called Enquiry concerning political justice  and its influence on jim.orale and happiness, and illustrated them in the novel Caleb Williams. Godwin expressed,the extreme end of intellectualism as it concerns society and morality. The end result of his philosophy was a total anarchy, the doing a\ away with the existing social order by an all-powerful logic. The intellectual search for truth and justice was the only basis for his system. Intellectualism was to conquer emotion and lead man to the highest goal, theecommon good. The dis tribution of wealth, forms of government, standards of living, and social customs were to be remodelled on the principle of -43-full rights of equality and liberty for all in a society found ed upon reason. In Caleb Williams, Godwin declares all govern ment to be a necessary evil, which it is hoped one day will disappear and no longer be necessary. He sees man as his own natural enemy, the only animal that seeks the destruction of its own kind. Caleb Williams and Falkland represent the two types into which Godwin considers society to be divided - the slaves and the master. He condemns society for being like this, and he defends the type of man who resists its dictations. Godwin represented Balzac's own personal vision of the world, and Caleb Williams provided Balzac with the argu ments to justify the criminal' struggle against organized soc iety. The th^'ef, who steals without a license, as it were, is in open war against the man who steals withathe sanction of the law. Balzac inherited from Byron and Godwin a secret sympathy for anarchy whichiis thinly veiled throughout his works (and this) despite the fact that generally he claims to support authority *afui proudly states that he is writing: " ...a la lueur de deux Ve'rite's e'ternelles: la Religion et la Monarchie, deux ne"cessites aye les £y£.nements contemporains proclament, et vers lesqueiies tout eGrxvaan de bon sens doit ramener notre pays." 3. • Balzac's criticism of society and social laws lead from Argow  le Pirate and similar early works that glorify the rebel, through the Code des gens honne^tes, and Physiologie du mariage 3. Balzac, Oeuvres completes (Pafr-is-: 'GWfihrd, 1940), Vol. 1, xxxi -44-into the novels of La Cornedie humaine. The final expression of Balzac* s scorn and condemnation of society reaches its peak in the figure of Vautrin as traced through Le Pe*re Goriot, Illusions  perdues and Splendeurs et miseres des coutisanes. Pathos for the plight of the individual at the mercy of an impersonal social order, and a feeling of disgust for that social order which forces men to live outside the law, prevail throughout Le Plre Goriot and in part sets the tone of Balzac's thoughts through the rest of La Cornedie humaine. We shall now turn to a closer examination of Balzac's specific thoughts on society and his sympathies with anti-socialists. Balzac evolved with keen enjoyment a social philo sophy in defence of thieves and illustrates in several pages of the Code all the provocative understanding which characterizes any tirade by Vautrin. He talks of their special contribution to the social order, of the need to judge them with impartial ity because judges and victims alike are of no mind to do so, and of their rare attributes: " ...un homme rare; la nature l'a concu en enfant gate; elle a rassemble sur lui toutes so sortes de perfections: un sang-froid imperturbable, une audace a toute ejpreuve, 1 art de saisir 1'occasion, si rapide et si lente, la prestesse, le courage, une bonne constitution,des yeux percants, des mains agiles, une physionomie heureuse et mobile. Tous ces avantages ne sont rien pour le voleur: ils foment cependant le somme des talents d un Armibal, d'un Catalina, d'un Marius, d'un Clsar." * 4. Guyon, p. 210. -45-In addition to all this, the criminal must be a judge of charac ter, an accomplished liar and able to foresee events. He must have a lively mind and be able to seize every available oppor tunity and use it to his advantage. He must be an actor in all classes of society. Balzac's interest in the criminal and his admiration of him do not stop with the individual criminal but extend to the brotherhood of criminals organized to win over society. Though Vautrin embodies the above qualities, we would do well to compare him to a fellow spirit, Gobseck, Balzac's second greatest genie criminel. Gobseck is one of the principal reproductions of the above category of beings, superior in intelligence and energy, who, in Balzac's mind, are by definition set apart from society. Gobseck says:"...je posslde le monde sans fatigue et le monde n'a pas la.moindre prise sur moi."^* Bardeche points out that this sentiment is an addition dating from 1836, not present in the original 1830 text of Gobseck. He continues, showing some of that part of Vautrin which is added to Gobseck's character: "Toute la confession de Derville rajoute'e dans la rendition .^1836), est, en realite, une echo de l'oeuvre recente de Balzac dans les Scenes  de la vie privee: ce sont les theories de Vautrin, qui, expr im§ e s 1' anne- e pre'ce'dente dans LePlre Goriot, ont sugge're' \ Balzac les theories de Gobseck. Et 1 approfondissement^de Gobseck est, ^ a cette date, un reflet de la creation de Vautrin." " Barriere describes the usurer as follows in the same novel: 5. Bardeche, p. 288. 6. Ibid,p. 289. -46-" Goriot a pour l'humanite un mepris sans bornes. Il exerce par son or un pouvoir illimitl. Son existence est pour lui-meSne une perpe'tuelle £tude de tous les mouvements x ignobles du coeur humain, inspires par 1'argent; il puise dans ses observations des joies analogues a eelles de Satan dans son acharnement h damner les hommes. "7/.' His power arises from money and his scorn from his obviously distorted experience of life. In the latter sense, he can be compared with many of the embittered characters of the Comedie humaine, to the vicomtesse de Beauseant after her disillusion ment in Le Pire Goriot,to Ferragus, to Maitre Cornelius and to de Marsay,:"...sorte de gallrien des hautes classes, dans la nature duquel Balzac a tout m&ll: ge"nie du vice et genie de la 8 science, genie de la politique et glnie de l1amour sensuel." * Parallel with these more or less honourable members of society, we find'Balzac expressing admiration of and sympathy for crimin als, insofar as they represent vital energy, andufeferring to them as"...ces grands hommes manques, que la societe' marque d'avance au fer chaud, en les appelant des mauvais sujets."^* Perhaps part of his sympathy for the exceptional individual who is discriminated agahst can be found in a view of the prevailing social situation and mood. In the first half of the nineteenth century, many writers including Balzac, were influenced by the example of Napoleon which was still fresh in their minds. 11 ...the Napoleonic legend, the ceaseless ambition of the Emperor, still travailed in the minds of many writers. Beranger, Stendhal^ Balzac, Hugo, all revered Bonaparte, all dreamed or 1 labored -c.lonp lSkmoleon''.y J i • : s 7.Pierre Barriere, Honor! de Balzac et la tradition litteraire.' classique(Paris: Hachette, iy28;,p.258. 8.ibid.,p.183. 9.Balzac, Les Marana (Pleiade),ix,792. -47-labored along Napoleonic lines. A whole new order of personalities and ideas came into being after Waterloo."10. Vautrin is proof of this influence. Brunetiere referred to him as "ce de'charnement d'energierbrutale provoque par l'exemple0 11 de Napollon et de sa prodigieuse fortune." * The fantastic history of Napoleon was the most vivid image of the spirit of Vautrin: the greatest demonstration of revolt the world had ever seen. However, from the very inception of the Restoration, when the former social order was reinstated, the individual was restricted to the class and position into which he had been born. There was much discontentment among the young men for they were inspired by the history of Napoleon on the one hand, and restricted to their inherited social position on the other. Vautrin tells Rastignac in Le Pe*re Goriot, that ihi-France there must be at least fifty thousand >young men who were attempt ing to make a quick fortune. They spent a great deal of energy and the struggle was merciless. These young men were obliged to endeavour to destroy each other like "des araignles dans un pot", because there were not fifty thousand good positions 12 available. ' Even Vautrin was subject to these same laws of ': the jungle if he wished to succeed in the renewed class con sciousness. 10. Ethel Dargan and George Weinberg, The Evolution of Balzac's 'Comgdie humaine' (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1942),p.52 11. Ferdinand Brunetiere, Honor! de Balzac (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1906) p.220. 12. Goriot, p.110. -48-And so, Balzac used his anti-social characters to demonstrate the injustice of French society during the trans ition period between pre-revolutionary days of the aristocracy and the modern French society. As a result of the frustating sociological conditions, it had become popular for writers to treat criminals, usurers, prostitutes and the like, as enemies of an unfair society. As we shall see, through the study of Balzac's greatest anti-social hero,Vautrin, these enemies were idealistic and possessed dignity. They often spoke of the futil ity of honesty and the lack of reward for earnest effort and fidelity. Balzac made heroes and heroines of them because he regarded them as enemies of a society which he considered evil. Balzac recognized genius in the thief and he blamed society and an inexplicable fate for having prevented the thief from becoming a great man. Some of those who are considered to be great men are those who are in some sense outlaws or rebels to an existing social order, but who somehow were able to reach the top and conquer the very society that would have been the first condemn them. The criminal, like Vautrin, recognizing genius within himself, knows that he has the ability to climb the social scale but, since society scorns his poverty, he has to turn to crime as a quick way to become rich. During this t time, he builds up a scorn for society and, as he lacks moral strength, he is doomed to fail in his quest far social recog--49-nition. This criminal element formed a real part of the society which Balzac attempted to paint and, as such, it gave him the opportunity to attack society for its own weaknesses. For soc iety, making criminals by the very laws it enacts to prevent them, causes an inevitable class struggle between the "have" and the "have-not" elements in a materialistic system. Vautrin the Anarchist Vautrin's character formation points up poverty, un-happiness and multiple disadvantages in his youth, coupled with insight and an ambition which no set of circumstances could restrict. Though subject to all the irregularities of the aver age human being, he displayed remarkable control over himself adn others, simulating the man devoid of vicissitudes. His most basic personal motivation was probably the frustration he encountered in society. By the rules of the game, Vautrin could not realize his own ambitions because he had been born with severe disadvantages. Later, he could not hope to advance himself to a significant position because of the rough ness of his manner, his lack of formal education and his unsuit-ed physical appearance. Also, he was hindered by a criminal record acquired early in life. As we have noted, the glorious days of the Napoleonic era when a man like Vautrin might have held some significant rank in the Emperor's army, or might have made his way to fame and fortune regardless of his lowly birth, were no more. The Restoration, ggvernment of the 1830's attempt--50-ed to return society to pre-Napoleonic conditions. Vautrin's reaction to finding himself discriminated against in so many ways, was to turn on society and condemn it for its narrow-minded'^prejuddtces?. '.After convincing himself that he was above life in society, his aim was to gain social power by society's own means - wealth and prestige. The inter mediary of a socially acceptable protege' through whom he could gain vicarious enjoyment of all the pleasures denied him person ally was his vehicle. Vautrin desired to take revenge on soc iety by forcing someoneeelse into a successful position despite the status quo of social organization. To these ends, he re cruited Eugene de Rastignac and Lucien de Rubempre. As their demonic preceptor, Vautrin teaches them that society has grad ually usurped, through itsalaw structure, so many rights over the individual, that a strong freedom-loving individual finds he is forced to fight it on terms outside society's law. "II 13 n'y a plus de lois, il n'y a que des moeurs." By his dreadful presence then, Vautrin registers a protfest- against an oppressive society. Part of his protest is derived from his ancestor, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: " Collin ici present est un homme moins l£che que les autres et qui proteste contre les profondes deceptions de l'^tat social, comme dit Jean-Jacques Rousseau, dont je me glorifie d'etre l'£leve."14. 13. Goriot, p.115. 14. Ibid.t p.187. -51-Above all, he is a rebel; when arrested, his first reaction is to insult the police as minions of an unjust system/ 11 Nous avons moins d'infamie sur l'epaule que vous n'en avez dans le coeur, membres flasques d'une societe gangrenie...Je suis seul contre le gouvernement avec son tas de tribunaux, de gendarmes, de budgets et je les roule." 15. He wants to "fouetter la haute socie'ti", " convince it of its own pettiness. This rebellion isn't based on mere anarchy though. If he feels bitterness towards society, it is because he is convinced that it is born of cowardice and based on stupidity, on mediocre virtues, The struggle of the superior man in society is mainly against narrow-mindedness and med iocrity. Vautrin tells Rastignac that one must make one's way persistently in one direction without being swayed by the many harassing difficulties imposed by th bigoted world. Though he does not blame people for being as they are, one must nevertheless struggle against envy, mediocrity, calumny and every living being. Vautrin helps to illustrate one of Balzac's concep tions' of society. According to Vautrin, the individual is faced with a major decision which he must make at some point in his life. He must either submit himself to societyyarid choose what Vautrin calls "stupide obeissance" to the rules of the "bourbier", or refuse to cooperate and adopt a forceful atti-15.Ibid., p.186. 16. IBMf,', j p. 37. -52-tude of revolt. It is impossible to mix the two and remain honest with oneself. With the former, one accepts authority; with the latter, one obeys none. One's personal authority lies in revolt itself. Vautrin says of himself: "Apres avoir examine les choses d'ici-bas, | ai vu qu'il n'y avait que deux parties a prendre: ou une stupide oblissance ou ^ la revolte."Je n'oblis a rien, est-ce clair?" He reveals his distaste for those surrounding him in passages such as the following: "Si Vautrin mlprise tous ces gens-la,ce n'est pas parce qu'ils se sont alienls, c c'est parce qu'ils sont incapables de se fixer un but Iclatant, qu'ils agissent en sotsget se comportent en aveugles."18. "...il y a de la bassesse a ne pas oser, a ne pas vouloir, a se satisfaire de joies mediocres, a se contenter de plaisirs vulgaires. Il faut £tre a la hauteur de ses ambitions, quelles qu'elles soient. 'Tout ou rien , voila ma devise."19. If one chooses revolt, then one goes into the fray against social convention. According to Vautrin, this is the only hon ourable decision to make. Once this decision has been made, firm anti-social action should begin immediately. As for Vautrin, he is well equipped for revolt and feels able to com mand this debased world "et d'imiter la Providence qui nous tue a tort et a travers." Even without his self assurance and bitter truths, Vautrin makes a profoundly disturbing impression. For all his 17. Goriot, p.107. 18. Andre Allemand, Unife et structure de l'univers balzacien (Paris: Plon,1965),p.l48: 19. Goriot, p.133. -53-indomitable manner, his philosophy may be subconsciously the outcome of a disabused, sadly ironic awareness: "L1 exploitation supreme et d^sespe'ree d'une humanite qu'on aurait voulu mais que rien ne peut faire meilleure. II faut relire avec soin 1'indoctrination de Rastignac ou de2Q Rubempre. Philinte aurait le mtme ton." "Je consid^re les actions comme des moyens, et ne vois que le but! "21. To be a wily lion that kills and is not killed, tricks and is not tricked, leaves behind conscience and heart, wears a mask to deceive men arid exploit women, and that can, as at Lacedaemon, "saisir sa fortune sans £tre vu, pour me'riter la couronne," this is the brand of Machiavellism needed to succeed. The crown of success is obtained in one of two ways: "il faut entrer dans cette masse d'hommes comme un boulet de canon, ou s'y glisser comme une peste."22. Vautrin's way is the latter, to produce the effect of the former. For man in general, Vautrin feels no compassion: "Qu^est-ce un homme pour moi? Ca! fit-il, en faisant claquer l'ongle de son pouce sous une de ses dents."23. He did however, feel strongly for his friends as individuals. Vautrin was a forceful personality. Persons of this kind are noted for strength in friendships as well as in enmity. Vautrin believed it is better to be frank in these matters than to use pretense and subterfuge: 20. Gabriel Teuler, Du Cftte* de Balzac (Paris: Plon, 1933), p. 48. 21. Goriot,p.154. 22. Ibid.,p.!10. 23. Ibid.,p.154. -54-"Voulez-vous connaitre mon caractere? Je suis bon avec ceux qui me font du bien ou dont le coeur parle au mien. A ceux-la tout est permis. lis peuvent me donner des coups de pied dans les os ou les jambes sans que je leur dise: Prends garde! Mais, nom dfune pipe! Je suis me'chant comme le diable avec ceux qui me tracassent ou qui ne me reviennent pas." 24. Ambition was also a guiding star in Vautrin's scheme. He believed ambition to be a rare thing, given to few. The ambitious man is superior to others, he felt. He is strong, determined, and has enormous value. Vautrin believed that it is tiresome always to want something and never to be satisfied. As for his own ambition, he dclared:" (j'a^ le sang fievreux 25 des lions et un appetit a faire vingt sottises par jour." What he expounds to Rastignac in the garden: "Parvenir! parvenir A tout prix...Illn'y a pas de principes, il n'y a que des eVIne-ments; il n'y a pas de lois, il n'y a que des circonstances; et 1'homme superieur "epouse les evenements et les circonstances pour les conduire..."26. is elaborated in his sermon to Rubempre on the highway: "Ne voyez dans les hommes, et surtout dans les femmes, que des instruments; mais ne leur laissez pas voir. Adorez comme Dieu meme celui qui, placl plus haut que vous, peut vous £tre ^ utile, et ne le quittez pas qu'il n'aitApaye tres cher votre servilite", soyez enfin apre comme le Juif et bas comme lui:faites pour la puissance tout ce qu'il fait pour 1'argent. Mais aussi, n'ayez pas plus de souci de 1'homme tombe que s'il n'avait jamais existe. Savez-vous pourquoi vous devez vous conduire ainsi?...Vous voulez 24. Ibid.,p.106. 25. TbTcL ,p.329. 26. WH.,pp. 114-115. -55-dominer le monde, n'est-ce pas? il faut commencer par obiir au monde et le bien e'tudier.. .Or, le monde, la socie'td, les hommes pris dans leur ensemble, sont fatalistes: ils adorent 11 eve'nement... Aujourd' hui... le succes est la raison supreme de toutes les actions, quelles qu'elles soient. Le fait n'est done plus rien en lui-m^me, il est tout entier dans l'ide'e que les autres s'en forment... Ayez de beaux dehors! cachez l'envers de votre vie, et presentez un endroit tr&s brillant... Les grands commettent presque autant de la^chete's que les miserables; mais ils les commettent dans 1'ombre et font parade de leur vertus: ils restent grands. Les petits deploient leurs vertus dans l1ombre, ils exposent leurs miseres au grand jour: ils sont mejprise's... Que devez-vous done mettre dans cette belle t&te? ... Uniquement que voici: Se donner un but e'elatant et cacher ses moyens d'arriver, tout en cachant sa marche,..Soyez homme, soyez chasseur, mettez-vous a l'affut, embusquez-vous dans le monde parisien, attendez une proie et un hasard, ne menagez ni votre personne, ni ce qu'on appelle la dignit£; car nous ob^issons tous a quelque chose, a un vice, it une necessit^; mais observez la loi supreme! le secret."27. One either succeeds by an "e'clat de ge'nie" or by the skill of corruption. One must enter the human masses like a'cannon-ball or slip in like the plague. "L'honnete' ne sert a rien."28. Vautrin's philosophical treatise as expounded to Rastignac gives us opportunity to see how Balzac might have conceived of revolt in its darkest and stealthiest form. The author's frustration and dislike of certain social elements are re vealed herein. Vautrin seems to echo some of Balzac's own fulminations against Paris, a mud pit of which he says, with heavy irony:"Ceux qui s'y crottent en vbiture sont d'honnetes gens, ceux qui s'y crottent a pied sont des fripons." 27. Balzac, Illusions perdues pp. 591-596. 28. Goriot,p.111. 29. Ibid.,p.62. -56-jE£ this is true, then the only law is force, the law of the jungle, where Illinois, Hurons or Mohicans know that the supreme rule is to be abler and stronger than the rest. In the following chapter a more detailed examination of Vautrin1s liaisons with extensions of himself will take place. In the meantime, let us conclude by summarizing the intimate bond between authoE and creation as evidenced in this chap ter. Balzac and Vautrin It appears to be self-evident that any writer can best depict those individuals into whose character he has the clearest insight. One's understanding goes further when one is on familiar ground and one understands better the person whose ideas resemble one's own; " II n'y a point de roman sans une certaine modestie du romancier, sans un certain Iffacement, sans une certaine identification du romancier avec son personnage. Cette identification, le romancier *a these en est incapable. Tandis que, chez Balzac, elle est constante. La these est volontaire. se mele au flux cre'ateur exactement comme les r&ves, les souvenirs, les nostalgies dont tous les romanciers nourissent leurs personnages. Je ne crois pas au romancier catholique ni d'ailleurs, au romancier comm-uniste. En ce sens que j'imagine mal un romancier veritable se disant:"js vais ecrire un;roman catholique ou communiste," si cette foi, cette doctrine sont pour lui ce pain des anges dont il se nourrit chaque lour, il ne pourra pas faire que son roman n ait pas une certaine couleur. Ainsi de la conception Chez Balzac, -57-du monde chez Balzac. Elle est en lui, elle s'est fait chair." 30 If this is true, the vividness of Balzac's anti-social character is then the result of his understanding of Vautrin and of Vautrin's position in society. Lacking great wealth and noble birth, Balzac could never hope to attain a high rank in aristocratic circles. Moreover, he was corpulent, talked too much in a loud voice and had the mannerisms of a bourgeois of peasant origin. It is probable that at times Balzac entertained thoughts of revolt that he healthily channeled into his literature, lb. Thus, in a sense, Vautrin, along with Hulot, Gobseck, Bridau, Maxime de Trailles and others, served as a form of release to Balzac's own feelings of revolt. Along with Samuel Rogers, we too can perhaps "see projected in him(Vautrin) his creat-31 or's suppressed revolt against society." However, our interpretation of Vautrin's role in the Come'die humaine would be incomplete if we saw him merely as a mouthpiece for Balzac's political and social ideas —even though he performs this function quite often. He is unlike the devil in Souil^'s Memoires du diable(1836-1838), who is "not an end in himself; he is a means to an end. He is little more than a literary device, a vehicle for the social satire with which four-fifths of the book is 30. Marceau, op cit.,pp.242-244. 31. Balzac and the Novel (Madison:University of Wisconsin Press,^ lL9Ml, p. 11/. -58-32 taken up." 'Vautrin is an end in himself, as well as being the vehicle for some of Balzac's more radical ideas on soc iety and is therefore a fuller and more richly developed character. He has his own life and history. Vautrin the Anti-Hero The genius of Balzac manifests itself in the life like portrayal of his characters and in the heroic defiance which they at times show society. An unforgettable example of this defiance is the extraordinary gesture of Rastignac's shaking his fist at the city of Paris, which reminds us of the nostalgic confession which Balzac made to Victor Ratier, July 21, 1830: " Oh! mener une vie de mohican! courir sur les air aventuriers, les vies d'opposition!..." To be sure, Balzac does enjoy moralizing and making positive declarations of principles as, for example, we can see in this passage from the Avant-Propos of La Come'die humaine: " L'homme n'est ni bon ni merchant, il na'lrt avec des instincts et des aptitudes; la socie't£, loin de la depraver, comme l'a p pre*tendu Jean-Jacques Rousseau, le perfectionne le rend meilleur; mais l'inte'revt developpe alors €normement ses penchants mauvais. '34 But can't we perhaps sense the novelists delight at having 32. Harold March, Fr/deric Souilg(New Haven:Yale University Press, l>9p^l)i,75pp76 0175^176^ • v. 33. Prioult, pp.376-377. 34. Balzac, Avant-Propos to La Comedie humaine, in Oeuvrgs completes (Paris:Conard,1912), VoU-,xxx. ; !  -59-created in Vautrin "un homme moins lache que les autres, et qui proteste contre les profondes deceptions du contrat 35 social?" And doesn't this delight of the creator override mere moral considerations? Vautrin was taken from romantic antecedents and carefully developed by Balzac. As a creation of fantasy springing from the Gothic novel, the romantic rebel, and the hero-villain, Vautrin matured by means of Balzac's ob servations and experiences into a realistic character; how ever, Balzac intended this great creation to be even more than that. He wanted him to be a symbol of the social cor ruption of the age. What better way to convince his read ers of the deplorable state than by creating a character with whom they could sympathize and whose revolt takes on heroic proportions ? At the very least, Vautrin served as an outlet for many of Balzac's more radical ideas on politics, society and morals. Since Vautrin was clearly and repeatedly labelled "bad" by his creator, Balzac probably felt safe in giving vent through him to many of his own pent-up emotions. Guyon indicates that Balzac practised "condemning" his immoral characters as early as Le Corrupteur where, in a footnote, he seems to warn his readers against pernicious ideas put forth by the "vicieux Edouard". Guyon adds: 35j Bardeche, op.cit.,p. 338. -60-" Mais il est piquant de comparer cette note aux prefaces-plaidoyers que le romancier r^digera plus tard, en reponse a 1'accusation "d'immoralite", lancle contre son oeuvre. Dans les deux cas, il use des^me*mes arguments, dans les deux cas sa sincerite nous paralt tres suspecte. II n'approuvera les actions du forcat Vautrin, mais il les admire en ar artiste et M philosophie qu'expriment ses h£ros s'apparente si Itrangement a la sienne propre, les discours qu'il place dans leur bouche ont un accent de conviction si pass-ionne'e que le moins qu'on puisse dire est qu'ils expriment une des tentations majeures de son esprit." 36. Balzac felt himself to be above the ordinary run of men because of his genius and he felt superior people were exempt from the ordinary system of laws and moral con duct, whereas, this manifested itself in Balzac's own life, chiefly in his evasion of duty in the National Guard, (and his imprisonment!), Vautrin was free to overlook any and all laws and customs and to speak with fire of the injustices of society. Balzac attributed many crimes to his hero in order-.: to heighten the feeling of mystery and power surrounding him. In doing this he accomplished a double purpose for he also made it easy for the reader to sympathize with Vau£ trin. This may properly be considered a part of Balzac's literary craftsmanship in portraying the moral side of Vautrin's character. Though Vautrin speaks much of crime and much is hinted about his criminal activities, Balzac -61-purposely gives very little specific information about them. His comments on Vautrin vary according to the feeling he wishes to produce at a given moment and it seems to matter little that the comments are diametrically opposed. Vautrin "s'e'tait interdit de jamais commettre un assasinat par lui-irieme." " But in another situation he is a man "qui tuait 38 comme un ouvrier boit." In the light of such contradic tion, one must resort to an actual count and evaluation of the convict's crimes. Vautrin was innocent of the forgery for whigh he was imprisoned originally. He instigated Taillefer's death in Le P^re Goriot,but through such remote means that the reader is scarcely offended, especially since it seems to be righting a wrong done to the sympathetic young heroine. Balzac's system of expiation is at work here too. Originally named Mauricey, the robber and murderer in L'Auberge rouge was renamed Taillefer and became the father of Victorine. In Balzacss mind, the death of Taillefer junior, is justified by the fact that his father's wealth was ill-gotten. The son, furthermore, never appears in the novel and is unknown to,the reader. Vautrin's next crime concerns the real Carlos Herrera. But Balzac nowhere says explicitly that Vautrin killed him and the whole affair has the flavour of the mandarin epicode in Goriot. The read er is willing to sacrifice an unknown personnage for the pleasure of seeing Vautrin succeed in his manoeuvre. He is directly responsible for the death of Contenson, whom he 3 7, Bal'zacf S.p lendeur sfcp,. I'7j6qt ens on was thr =•-.;..-,r:t -. .-. - '. 38. Ibid., p.329. -62-toppled off a roof. But Contenson was threatening our hero's well-being and was furthermore a spy and a stool-pigeon --an altogether unsavoury character whose death is not like ly to weigh on one;s conscience. He instigates Peyrade's death, but Peyrade too represents "the enemy" and therefore is rightly done in. The spy's character is revealed and his daughter's fate prepared for and somehow,ironically justified when Peyrade curses Baron Nucingen:" Sacre* baron! tu sauras de quel bois je me chauffe, en trouvant un matin ta fille deshonoree...Mais aime-t-il sa fille?" As for Lydie Peyrade, who "ressemblait a ces anges plus mystiques que re'els," Guyon's words in connection with the fate of Auguste de Malincourt at the hands of the Treize might, with only slight alteration, be applied to her case: " ...mais ce jeune Itourdi nous est indifferent. La veritable int£r£t du re^cit est ailleurs: dans la crise grave qui delate au sein d'un manage jusque-la parfaitement heureux."40 Vautrin writes Esther's will after her suicide. But this is done in Lucien1s interest and Vautrin has someone else do the actual forgery. This is the complete record of Vautrin's reported crimes, spread out over three novels of which two are ex ceptionally long. Through this skillful trickery, as well as through a curious effect of juxtaposition well formulated 39. Balzac, Splendeurs p.192. 40. Guyon, p.560. -63-by Le Breton, Balzac succeeds in maintaining,(not dimin-uishing) the favourable impression he wants Vautrin to leave. Le Breton says of the convict hero, 11 II repr^sente la corruption effronte'e, celle qui s avoue, en face de l1autre, celle qui se cache; et tel est le roman de Balzac qu'en effet Vautrin le revolt!*, Vautrin le bandit, semble le personnage sympathique au milieu de tant de bourgeois ou de mondains corrompus. II joue franc jeu." 41 So we see by a careful juxtaposition of values, and by playing down his crimes, Vautrin1s dramatic stand in the face of oppression wins our admiration. In Goriot for ex ample, even when the horror of Vautrin's crimes was reveal ed, most of the convives of the Maison Vauquer sympathized with him. Madame Vauquer herself had become attached to Vautrin to the extent that, after his arrest, she forced the two persons who had betrayed him, to leave her boarding house. They had aided in carrying out social "justice", yet nearly all those who knew Vautrin and the conditions under which he had been arrested would have preferred to see punished his betrayers. However, not everyone condones Vautrin's revolt; Brunetiere says of Balzac that: "dans son oeuvre, le crime ou le vice ne sont pas assez souvent punis, ni la vertu suffisament re"compensee." Nevertheless, despite Brunetiere's view, the roman-41. Andre Le Breton, Balzac, 1'homme et 1'oeuvre(Paris:Boivin 42. Brunetilre,, W. P2*2(J-2*21. -64-tic idea of the superior individual struggling alone against society is well represented by Vautrin. When the odds are great, but one is strong and lucky enough to win, is it not inspiring? The "lone-wolf" concept appeals to the human mind. The anti-social characters in Balzac's novels were . acutely aware of the distressful social conditions. It appeared ridiculous to them to accept this harsh fate. With out sufficient capital to launch themselves into an honest career, and considering it absolutely necessary to succeed, they found the means to acquire wealth in the only way available to them. Their crimes were often great but some times they were of such impressive boMriess that they in spired admiration and awe. The shrewd individual who, with questionable and ruthless tactics, amasses a large fortune, is often admired grudgingly. People give way under the impact of the force of genius. They hate it and try to con demn it because it is selfish but in time, if it persists, they are obliged to recognize it. They worship it because they have not been able to deny or destroy it. Nothing is quite as acceptable as success. Not only the success of, Vautrin's revolt, but also something basic to human nature can help us define his attraction. As we see in this quot ation from Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes , this uni versal attraction can be well described in terms which evoke -65-Baudelaire, Balzac's contemporary and admirer: "C'est la plante veneneuse aux riches couleurs qui fascine 1'enfant dans les bois. C'est la poesie du mal."^ Conclusion On many levels of society in La Comedie humaine one sees characters in a state of revolt. It would be easy to name other examples of revolt in the Comedie humaine, but as Le Breton has written, "Vautrin is his masterpiece and his greatest incarnation or personification of revolt."^ Although he can control it, Collin cannot rub out love from his life. To be sure, where thereiis love, there is natural weakness, and the fascinating enigma of the char* acter lies in the paradox that Vautrin, the indomitable spirit (of revolt), cannot exist fully without the human frailty of Collin. He forms a part of Balzac's ggand system of dynamics and magnetics where everything is aspiration and respiration, attraction and repulsion. The following chaps ter illustrates the duality of this love fierce within Vautrin that brings about his ultimate downfall. The neglect of his motivating force, the loosening of his iron will and the weakening of his power over his pawn, all contribute to the disintegration of a supposedly infallible anarchist. 43. TSpl-endeursl :p-; • 500. pc-C0. 44. Le Breton, p.246. -66-CHAPTER FOUR: PATERNAL OR HOMOSEXUAL? Introduction Given his mastery over others and his determination and intelligence, why does Vautrin fail in his revolt? The controlled emotions, the flawless disguises, the untrace able past deeds, all these elements of his arsenal and more are finally neutralized with disastrous results. In this chapter, we shall investigate Vautrin's need for love and the vulnerability of his particular amorous desires. Per haps in view of this chink in his otherwise impenetrable armour, we shall find that his ultimate downfall is ines capable. To seek the causes of Vautrin's human frailty, we shall begin with a look at Balzac's views on women and powerful men and then study Vautrin's need for love and the choices before him. The conclusion of this chapter will / analyse Vautrin's breakdown, its causes and effects. Warnings by Balzac Exemplified by Vautrin Balzac held some strong views on the impossibil ity of mixing business with pleasure if one was truly am bitious. Power is desired by many, yet few obtain it. The reason, in Balzac's view is that the energies it demands are often diverted to the opposite sex. He who desires power must necessarily rid himself of women. Balzac ob--67-served that the lust for power was frequently dissipated by love's capriciousness, He^noticgd that the straight and up ward mobility of power was constantly warped by the period ic invasion of desire. Vautrin served to illustrate this th theory. In Vautrin's life there is no place for female love. This is the secret of his titanic power and, as we shall see, the entrance of love into his life will be the cause of his downfall. Vautrin has only contempt for the weak ones who allow their ambitions to be thwarted by love, who forgo power for the favours of a woman: " Les voila done, ces gens qui de'eident de nos destine'es et de celles de nos peuples!... Un soupir pouss€ a travers par une feme lie leur retourne 1'intelligence comme un gant! Ils perdent la t£te pour une oeillade! Une jupe mise un peu plus haut, un peu plus bas, et ils courent par tout Paris, au desespoir. Les fantaisies d'une femme re'agissent sur tout l'6feat. Oh! combien de force n'acqu-iert pas un homme quand il est soustrait comme moi "a cette tyrannie d'enfant, a ces probites renversees par la passion, a. ces mechane'ete's candides, a ces ruses de sauvage! La femme, avec son genie de bourreau, ses t talents pour la torture, est, et sera tou jour s la per.te de 1'homme."1 Thus the anti-feminism that Balzac personnified in Vautrin had a double significance. Firstly, it was a reaction against the ecstatic cult of the period for women, .arida3sec?* 1. g'plendeu£s;lp^d&2-9.'S p„S29. -68-ondly, it expressed the basic formula that ruled the world of Balzac: he who desires power with all his being must first renounce love. But can this drastic resolution be sustained by man? Would it not destroy his very being? " L'homme a l'horreur de la solitude... la premiere pense'e de l'homme, qu'il soit lejpreux ou format, imfitme ou ma lade, est d1 avoir un complice de sa destined. A satisfaire ce sentiment, qui est la vie m£me, il emploie toutes ses forces, toute sa puissance, la verve de sa vie Sans ce ddsir souverain, Satan aurait-il pu trouver ses compagnons?"2 Vautrin recognizes that not even he can escape this law. Knowing Vautrin1s bias against entanglements with women, let us turn to an obvious alternative: homosexual love. It would have been very difficult for Balzac to portray homosexuality frankly and openly. Early nineteenth century standards of taste did not allow too vivid a por trayal of sexuality in general and were even more prudish where sexual aberrations were concerned. Balzac therefore makes no overly explicit portrayal of homosexuality and he was careful to assign whatever abnormality existed to a con vict,not only because of the convicts social situation out side the bounds of respectability, but also because of the possible perversion fostered by the nature of life within the prison walls. -69-There are hints or allusions to the taboo in Ferr-agus, Sarrasine, Une passion dans le desert,in the strange relationship between Paquita Valdes and Euphemia Porraberril in La Fille aux yeux d'or and in the fond friendship be tween Lisbeth and Madame Marneffe in La Cousine Bette. Howra ever, in two instances that Vautrin himself suggests, there is another possible source of this aspect of his character. Those two instances are recorded below. In Le P£re Goriot, when Vautrin is trying to per suade Rastignac to marry Victorine Taillefer, he exclaims: " Eh bien! pour moi qui ai bien creusl la vie, il n'existe qu'un seul sentiment reel, une amitie' d'homme a homme. Pierre et Jaffier, voiLa ma passion. Je sais Venise sauvee par coeur."3 And as Carlos Herrera in Illusions perdues, when he first meets Lucien de Rubempre, Vautrin asks him: "EEnfant.. .as-tu medite- la Venise sauvde d' d'Otway? As-tu compris cette amitil pro#o fonde d'homme a homme, qui lie Pierre \ Jaffier, qui fait pour eux d'une femme une bagatelle et qui change entre eux tous les termes sociaux?V 4 Venise sauvee to which Vautrin refers is the 1682 drama Ven ice Preserved or a Plot Discovered by Thomas Otway based on La Conjuration des Espagnols contre Venise,(1618), by St-R€al. Venice Preserved is the story of Jaffier, a Venetian noble-3., §'orioiit^ ig«or35.55:» p0".55, 4. BMtu,sd:o,nsI?£^i^i::.- ~,; 5C10 -70-man who has joined a plot against the Senate. Priuli, a senator and Jaffier's father-in-law, has refused to help Jaffier in the time of need. Pierre, a soldier, has per suaded Jaffier to avenge himself against the Senate of Venice, which has control of the city and is using its power for its own ends. As proof of his loyalty to the con spiracy, Jaffier left Belvidera, his wife, with Renault, the leader of the group. Insulted by Renault, Belvidera fled to Jaffier who confided the plot to her. She begged h him to save her father* s life by informing the Senate of the plans. Jaffier promised to do so if he could be assured that all his friends would go free. The Senate agreed, but once the group was arrested, the Senate condemned the thirty-three conspirators to death. Driven to despair by this breach of promise on the part of the Senate, Jaffier was determined to free his friends even to the point of threat ening Belvidera with her death unless her father pardoned them all. Priuli agreed to free them, but it was too late. On the scaffold, Jaffier is reconciled with Pierre, who had accused him of being a traitor and a coward, stabbed Pierre and then committed suicide, thus freeing both of mem from the dishonourable death of a traitor to the State. When she heard that Jaffier was dead, Belvidera died of a broken heart. From Venice Preserved stems Vautrin's literary homo--71-sexuality. Pierre ew%d Jaffier express not only a deep and eternal friendship, but also symbolize a revolt against soc iety in which the end justifies the means --one of Vautrin's own basic principles. Vautrin's Duality WhatmVajitrin seeks above all in his friendships, is a person capable of being his companion, with whom he can spend his life: " Apprends ceci, grave-le dans ta cervelle encore si molle? 1'homme a 1'horreurrde^la• solitude. Et de toutes les solitudes, la ^ solitude morale est celle qui e'prouve le plus." The motivating force in this quest of friendship is this fear of solitude, typical of most fathers. Vautrin wants and needs an accomplice. After Goriot, the entire portrayal of Vautrin is tinged with sadness and his most exuberant outbursts against society and mankind can be interpreted in terms of resentment against the very isolation and superiority of which he at other times boasts. His attachments are there fore not to be reduced to merepperversions. Rather they re veal a complex need. Balzac underlines the need to communicate with the chosen associate. Vautrin is searching >f off reflections of himself: his proteges come from the same moral mould. Lucien 5. 5p 1 endeufSslp7.d.60/1 v p SOI. -72-and Eugene are both intelligent young men, poor and ambit ious. This is all that is necessary to attract Vautrin. They share a thirst for pleasure and power. When Rastignac returns to the Pension Vauquer enflamed with a desire to succeed in society, Vautrin immediately recognizes their common bond. "Bravo! ai-ie dit, voi la un gaillard qui me va!" Disguised as Carlos Herrera, he repeats the same thing to Lucien: "Savez-vous pourquoi je fais ce petit discours d'histoire? C'est que je vous crois une ambition demesure'e."^ In reality, he seeks someone like himself. Just as Grandet wanted a miserly daughter, so Vautrin wants his chosen son to be ambitious and unscrupulous. To ensure this, he poses as a teacher before his protege's. No doubt his teachings are surprising. But one senses ihahim a sincere desire to benefit his student by his own experiences. Vautrin readies > his protege's for revolt. In showing them the hidden aspects of society, he hopes to change them into beings who place themselves above society and established law. Corrupted, he seeks to corrupt. In particular, he succours young men un dergoing a moral crisis for to. him they represent "une belle proie pour le diable" ' Vautrin's search for friendship drives him to seek alternatives„to women. That Vautrin despises women and be-6. )I-1lu-sdonslpuvs 59.1f? pc-591., 7. Ebrioitg p£cT53t p. 153, -73-lieves in their beauty as a mask for man's destruction is undeniable. A woman is an usurer who would disembowel her own mother, a tiger who looks into mirrors, an inferior being who is motivated by animal instinct. Vautrin, on the contrary, dominates his organs as a result of the bond between effect and cause; his philosophy of the weaker sex is occasioned by his physiology. Even in the^here of love, Vautrin is outside the general laws of sexuality. "Apprenez un secret: il n'aime pas les femmes." The ambiguity surrounding his gender is heightened by subtle inferences. For example, above the Vauquer door, one reads a droll inscription: "Pension bour-geoise des deux sexes et autres."^ "Et autres" points to dil apidated beings, "mollusques" or larvae of the human species like Mademoiselle Michonneau or Monsieur. Poiret. But it also points to Vautrin in three respects: the father-mother ad mixture, the sexlessness of a fallen angel, and the homo sexual. A closer look at the relationships that Vautrin de velops in the trilogy will clarify which of these categories Vautrin belongs to. The first of Vautrin's attachments is traced back to a period spent in prison where he joined up with a young hoodlum, Theodore Calvi, whose feminine nickname was "la belle Madeleine". In slang, Calvi was also known as Vautrin's "tante", a feminine noun that conjures up a mutual love and 8. 6§riot,p. 160. 9. Ibid., p. 27. -74-affection. Balzac feels it necessary to explain the term as referring to the third sex, leaving us in no doubt as to their relationship. In Vautrin1s second relationship, the "coeur de bronze" brings as much devotion to Rastignac as he had to Calvi. However, Rastignac refuses to understand Vautrin's advances, or at least turns a blind eye. He wished neither tco explore "les motifs de l'amitie que lui portait cet homme extraordinaire, ni l'avenir d'une semblable union." Others however, had no difficulty in perceiving Vautrin's intentions. A comment by Mademoiselle Michonneau, after Vaiitrin's arrest opens Eugine's eyes:" Monsieur [de Rastignacj soutient Collin..., il n'est pas difficile de savoir pourquoi.Finally the truth dawns on Rastignac, who resolves to avoid any such en tanglement. Vautrin's "regard vetiimeux jeta une horrible lumie're dans l'^me de Rastignac,"'^ who understood "toutes les perfidies" in it. The end of Illusions perdues brings us to Vautrin1s final and most important attachmant, and leaves no doubt as to his intentions; Lucien states that he has "vendu sa vie" arid is nothing but "la creature" of Herrera. Because Lucien occupies Vautrin's existence for such a long and intense period, let us look at their first encounter as an example of Vautrin's technique of attracting and en-10. Goriot p.116. 11. Ibid., p.189. 12. IbTd"., p.189. -75-ticing prospective "companions"./ The third prote'ge whom Carlos adopts is Lucien Chardon, or Lucien de Rubempre, as he prefers to be called. In 1822, begins the longest association in Vautrin1s career and the most fruitful in events. Without going into details about Lucien1s previous experiences in the provinces and in Paris, suffice it to say that this would-be poet was a victim of his own vanity. In Paris he got himself into such an unsavoury position that he was forced to beat a retreat to his home and family, thus putting himself directly on Carlos' route from Rochefort to Paris. Part of the letter he left for his sister after upsetting her life and before slink ing away into the night to drown himself, reveals Lucien's character. It will be seen that he isavready-made subject for Carlos to exploit. " 0 ma chere Eve, je me juge plus severement que qui que ce soit car je me condamne abso-lument et sans pitie pour moi-me*me. La lutte a Paris exige une force constante, et mon vouloir ne va que par acc&s: ma cervelle est intermittente. L'avenir m'effraye tant, que je ne veux pas de l'avenir, et le present m'est insupportable. J'ai voulu vous revoir, j'aurais mieux fait de m'expatrier a jamais. Mais 1'expatriation sans moyens d1existence, serait une folie et je ne l'ajouterai pas a toutes les autres. La mort me semble pre'*" fArable a une vie incomplete et, dans quelque position que je me suppose, mon excessive vanite" me ferait commettre des sottises. Certains etres sont comme des ze'ros, il leur faut un chiffre qui les precede, et leur n£ant acquiert alors une valeur de'culpe<. -76-Je ne puis acqulrir de valeur que par un mariage avec une volenti forte, impitoyable. Madame deeBargeton etait bien ma femme, j'ai manque" ma vie en n1abandonnant pas Coralie pour elle. David et toi vous pourriez e\re d'excellents pilotes pour moi; mais vous n'£tes pas assez forts pour dompter ma faiblesse qui se detobe en quelque sorte a la domination, j'aime une vie facile, sans ennuis; et, pour me dl-barrasser d'une contrariety, je suis d'une lacheti qui peut menmener tres loin. Je suis ni prince. J'ai plus de dexte'rite' d'esprit qu'il ne faut pour parvenir, mais §e n'en ai que pendant un moment, et le prix dans une carrie*re parcourue par tant d'ambitieux est a celui qui n'en de'ploie que le ne'c.essaire et qui s en trouve encore assez au bout de la journe'e. Je ferais le mal comme je viens de le faire ici, avec les meilleures inten tions du monde. II y a des homme s-cheWs, je ne suis peut-etre qu'un arbuste elegant et j'ai la pretention d'etre un c^dre. Voila mon bilan ecrit. Ce disaccord entre mes moyens et mes de'sirs, ce de^faut d'e"qui-libre annulera toujours mes efforts."13 The significant passage, of course, is that concerning the nature of certain people who require domination by a strong er personality in order to amount to anything more than a cipher. What is interesting is the fact that at the end of Lucien's career, one of the "grandes dames" of Paris refers to his relationship with Collin as aamarriage, and here Lucien realizes that his only hope lies in a marriage not specifically with a woman, but with a "volonte forte et impitoyable".''"^ Carlos is indeed this, and their relation ship is indeed a kind of marriage and lasts, in fact, until death doth them part. 13.Illusioristpp. 581-582. 14. Ibid., p.581. -77-After this introduction, we are ready for Herrera. Were Balzac a less subtle author, Collin would have appear ed at this moment, in a clap of thunder to claim the hand of his "ame soeur". As it is, he only appears some three pages later in his priestssrrobes. Collin is first struck by Lucien1s personal beauty, for his poet's vanity has caused him to don his finest outfit to commit suicide: " En entendant Lucien qui sauta de la vigne sur la route, l'inconnu se retourna, parut comme saisi de la beaute" profondiment melancolique du poete, de son bouquet symboi lique et deesa mise elegante. Le voyageur ressemblait £l un chasseur qui trouve une jr proie longtemps et inutilement cherchee." After talking for a while, and presumably weighing the quali fications of not just Calvi and the poet, but of a third can didate for his attentions —for we must include Rastignac in this -- Vautrin chose Lucien. Beside the long separation from his Vauquer boarding-house acquaintance, a year during which his influence was not directly exercised, Eugene had shown himself to be too independant, moral and unpliable for Collin's purpose. Despite Theodore's charms, because of Calvi's criminal nature Collin could foresee in the renewal of that association only a string of crimes ending necessar ily on the scaffold. To thi§; aging convict, the poet offered something new and very attractive. "La vie avec Lucien, gar^on pur de toute condamnation et qui ne se reprochent que des peccadilles, se levait d'ailleurs belle et magnifique 15. Illusions p. 584. -78-comme le soleil d'une journe'e d'ete"."ib Rubempre' doesn't hesitate. He has no choice, or a at least very little. Between suicide and adroit temptation, he chooses the easiest way and follows the path drawn by his strange mentor. His success is stunning. In a few years, the former despairing poet is on the point of marrying the wealthy and titled Clothilde ae Grandlieu. Everything breaks down at the last minute, but one senses that, in large meas ure, Lucien's final catastrophe is imposed by considerations of public taste; after all, the success of the Rubempre'-Herrera plot would have been too immoral for many readers of 1840. The duality of Vautrin is now made clear in his re lationship with the poet. The Vautrin who wants his pro tege' to be like him and who uses his intelligence and power to slowly bring about this transformation, acts very like a father,"peu curieux de se replanter ici par bouture"; the same man who denies himself physical paternity is obses sed by the desire to live on. He wants to preserve his es-;: sence, not his flesh. As he says to Esther: " On me riverait pour le restant de mes jours a* mon ancienne chal'ne, il me semble que je pourrais y rester tranquille en me disant: il est au bal, il est a la cour.' Mon Itaie et ma pense'e triompheraient pendant que ma guenille serait livr£e aux argousins."17 I 16. Splendeurs p. 495. 17. Ibid., p.249. -79-It is truly his soul that Vautrin wishes to impart to his prot£g6s so that he might continue to live beyond his own life-span; Vautrin is the first to emphasize the paternal aspect of his love. Ironically, he calls himself "Papa Vaufe trin", he smiles at Rubempre "d'un air pateraellement railleur", and it is with a "maternelle" solicitude that he takes Lucien1s arm, at their first meeting. The abundance of such terms used to describe him underline this undeniable aspect of his feeling. Speaking of Vautrin's drive toward moral paternity, Curtius says: " ...il fait passer de sa propre vie dans celle de ses creatures. Ainsi il s'e'tend demesure'-ment. Inutile de dire que ce double dyna-misme --creer une vie nouvelle en faisant appel aux puissances de son esprit et trans-fu,ser sa propre experience a des cre"atures nees de soi -- appartient a ce que Balzac ,g a le plus profondement e'prouve' en lui-meme." Most striking is the similarity between his love for Eugene and for Lucien, and Goriot's love for his daughters. They conceive love in the same way. Goriot lives through his daughters because he has created them. This ability to en joy life vicariously is basic to Vautrin. He tells Lucien t; that man has a fear of being alone and that he must have an alter ego: 18. Curtius, p. 159. -80-11 J'aime a me devouer, j'ai ce vice-la. Je vis par le devouement...Je veux aimer ma creature, la fa^onner, la pltrir a mon usage, afin de 1'aimer comme un p&re aime son enfant... je me re"jouirai de ses succes aupres des femmes, je dirai:—ce beau ieune homme, cfest moi! Ce marquis de Rubempre^, je l'ai cre*e et mis au monde aristocratique; sa grandeur est mon oeuvre, il se tait ou parle a" ma voix, il me consulte en tout."19 Vautrin is a social outcast who can no longer (enter society nor2enjoy its pleasures. Lucien must taste them for him. "Je roulerai dans ton tillbury, mon garc^on." As Goriot lived for and through his daughters,"Ma vie a moi est dans 20 mes deux filles" , so Vautrin lived for and through Lucien. Vautrvin shared Lucien's life which he created, and all that Lucien accomplished in society, Vautrin accomplished. Lucien represents the life that Carlos Herrera would have wanted: as a cynic, corrupt and criminal, the soul ofthis spiritual father is reborn in Lucien. He is able to fulfill all that was denied the other. Being young, handsome and famous, women adore him and he is to marry into one of the most noble families in France. Through him, Vautrin has been able to enter a world forever closed to himself. As Allemand notes: " II £ Vautrin] n'a pas seulement le ge"nie de la corruption, il s'incarne dans les e^res qu'il choisit, il se les assimile. II aime a jouer, mais ne s'int£resse qu'au grand jeu. Rastignac he'site a signer le pacte que lui propose ce demon: une circonstance fortuite le sauvera. Lucien se laisse en-tortiller: il ne sera plus de'sormais que la cr'eature de Vautrin, sa chose; non pas 19. Illusions p. 602. 20. Goriot p.130. -81-n'importe quelle chose, mais celle qui lei repre'sente en alterite, celle qui lui manque pour e*tre tout a fait lui-m'eme. Vautrin se de'double. II vit par interposition de per-sonne, il agira de me*me. II realisera h tracer vers Lucien les projets qui jusqu'ici lui etaient interdits."21 And so, the paternalistic leanings within a homosexual re lationship enable Vautrin to enjoy a two-fold love. Because of the essence of self that he transmits to Lucien, he is also able to 'lead a double life. The Unmaking of Vautrin Lucien is Vautrin's heir, having inherited Vautrin's nature. As an ideal son, Lucien embodies all of Vautrin's dreams. "Je suis un grand poete. Mes poesies, je ne les 99 ecris pas: elles consistent en actions." Vautrin, the man who spoke thus to Rastignac, has created through Lucien his most beautiful poem. He has transformed a dream of himself into flesh and blood. Lucien is the clay from which Vautrin tries to mould a better self. All of his hopes, desires, ambitions and love are instilled in Lucien. Lucien is his creation. Behind Vautrin's feelings for Lucien lies a will to power which stops just short of 1i'he divine. Vautrin confesses:" J'ai appris a imiter la 23 Providence." " Quand j'ai iti plre, j'ai compris Dieu," 21. Andre' Allemand, Illusions (Paris: Ple'iade,l,9<50),p.lO28. 22. Goriot p. 112. 23. Ibid., p. 130.--82-Goriot used to say. Vautrin feels capable of replacing God and creating his own son. The theme of creating is always upon his lips. " Je vous ai pe^che; je vous ai rendu la vie, et vous m'appartenez comme la creature est2^ au cr^ateur... comme le corps est a l'ltme!" The very notion of creating, a reflection of tremendous pride, conveys a passionate desire fpr power: "J'aime le pouvoir 25 pour le pouvoir,moi!" As Lucien is an image of Vautrin, so it is a relationship between creator and creature, similar to that between man and God, as well as the two other aspects of the relationship previosly discussed. " Je vous maintiendrai, moi, d'une main puiss-ante, dans la voie du pouvoir...et vous brill-erez, vous paraderez, pendant que, courbe dans la boue des fondations, j assumerai le brillant edifice de votre fortune."26 The very day that this iron will deserts him, Lu cien dies as if only the presence of Vautrin at his side can make him go on living. Separated for forty-eight hours, he commits suicide. After ail, Vautrin is not God. He is a superman, but his will, as powerful as it is, cannot stand in the face of fate. Similarly, in living through Lucien, Vaut trin is also vulnerable through him.. In signing the demonic pact, Lucien receives from Vautrin the strength of purpose that he lacks and, in exchange,fendows Vautrin with a reflec tion of his human side. Each discovers in the other a com-24. Oil-Ms ions pi 597. 25. ibid., p. 598. 26. P. 597.:r. -83-plement of reality that is indispensable to his own personal fulfillment. Accordingly, when Vautrin learns of Lucien's , suicide, he collapses, crumbles and is completely overwhel med. The strength, the energy, the life that he unceasing ly injected into the poet's soul, seeps from him fruitless ly. The death of Lucien not only staggers his being, it deprives him, in a very real sense, of his reason for being£„ It is the doctor who hastens to treat him who tells Collin that Lucien has hanged himself in his cell. Jacques Collin, qui se dressa sur ses pieds comme le tigre sur ses patters, qui lanca sur le docteur un regard brulant, comme 1 1'Eclair de la foudre quand elle tombe; puis il s'affaissa sur son lit de camp en disant: 'Oh! mon fils!* — Pauvre homme! s'£cria le midecin emu de ce terrible effort de la nature. En effet, cette explosion fut suivie d'une si complete faiblesse, que ces mots:'Oh! mon fils!' furent comme un murmure."27 However strong his emotion is, Jacques Collin does not for get his disguise and instinctively masks his reactions to fit the gauge of his present identity. The idea that this may have been a trap to unmask him apparently does not enter his mind. This shows another side of his character —a side whose existence may heretofore have been open to question but 27. Splendeurs p. 496. II Jamais tigre trouvant ses petits enleves n'a frappe les jungles de l'lnde d'un cri -84-which is now clearly revealed. MISi vous avez des enfants, Messieurs', dit Jacques Collin, 'vous comprendEez mon imbe'cil-it£, j'y vois a peine clair...Ce coup est pour moi bien plus que la mort,mais vous ne pouvez pas savoir ce que je dis...vous n'e'tes p£re, si vous l'etes, que d'une mani£re...je suis 28 mere, aussi!...Je...je suis fou, je le sens." He spends the night with Lucien's body, and is found in the morning kneeling beside the bed, clasping Lucien's cold hand and apparently praying. " En voyant cet homme, les porteurs s'arreterent un moment, car il ressemblait a une de ces figures de pierre agenouille'e pour l'e'ternite sur les tombeaux du moyen ^ge, par le genie des tailleurs d'images. Ce faux pretre, aux yeux clairs comme ceux des tigres et raidi par une immobility surnaturelle, imposa telle-ment a ces gens, qu'ils lui dirent avec dou ceur de se lever. -- Pourquoi? demnanda-t-il timidement. Cet audacieux Trompe-la-Mort etait devenu faible comme un enfant." 29 Conclusion Lucien's death marks an important stage in Vautrin's life. With his passing, Vautrin seems to lose all interest in continuing to live. His despair is overwhelming. For Vautrin is a lonely man and it is the loneliness and his un successful attempts to overcome it which lead to his undoing. The basic drive for companionship, for society, was too great to allow him to maintain his lofty detachment, essential to 28. Splendeurs p. 497. 29. Ibid.f p."498. -85-carrying out his project of revenge. As Corentin says, "...si vous n'aviez pas eu ce petit imbecile a de'fendre, vous nous auriez rouss^s,"^ One feels that it is, paradoxical ly, with an immense sense of liberation, that Vautrin final ly abandons his struggle against society and submits to its laws, indeed, becomes an agent for their reinforcement. It is paradoxical, but understandable, By giving up egotistic individualism, he sheds all the responsability for his deeds. Although Vautrin1s aim in his criminal activities is not so lofty as Schiller's Moor, nor is his renunciation so flam boyantly expressed, he could have understood without diffi culty Karl Moor's awakening to the fact that his position outside of society was untenable: " Ah! miserable fou, qui me suis imagine" per-fectionner le monde par le crime, et r^tablir les lois par la licence! J'appelais cela la vengeance et le bon droit...Je pritendais, o Providence! rendre le fil a ton glaive ^mousse,, et reparer ta partialite. Mais... •6 puerile vanite*!.. .maintenant me voici au terme d'une vie abominable, et je reconnais avec des grincements de dents, que deux hommes tels que moi renverseraient tout 1'Edifice du monde moral."31 Vautrin becomes but a shadow of his former self. He aban dons his most obsessive ambition; Trompe-laMojixt:, the outlaw, the soul of satanic revolt, joins ranksawatth society. 30. Ibid., p. 612. 31. Frederic Schiller, Les Brigands (New York: Unger, 1961),p.58. -86-CHAPTER FIVE: TEE MASTER'S TOUCH Introduction No matter how impartial an artist may try to be, he cannot create realism without deception. This deception will be accepted, however, if it manages, by suggesting intensity and immediateness, to interest us directly and vividly in the event depicted. Let us see to what extent this view of real ism is relevant to the creation of Vautrin; and to what ex tent reality has been deformed; the extent to which Vautrin is removed from his creator; how much more intense he is as a result of Balzac's skill in reproducing reality. Balzac's Use of Realism There are several factors from Balzac's own person ality which appear in Vautrin's character, contributing to the impression of reality and life. As Wilson says, in dis tilled style, " The real elements, of course, of any work of fiction, are the elements of the author's personality: his imagination embodies in the images of characters, situations and scenes the fundamental conflicts of his nature or the cycle of phases through which it habitu ally passes. His personnages are personified cations of the author's various impulses and emotions: and the relations between them in his stories are really the relations between these." 1 1. Edmund Wilson, Axel's Castle (New York: Scribner, 1950), p.176. -87-2 Though in some cases Balzac may have, as he said, succeeded in becoming his character, it seems fairly obvious that in this case the character became Balzac. Billy indicates a whole unexplored and perhaps unexplorable, aspect of Balzac's work, "Sur la vie de Balzac telle qu'elle apparalt dans ses ouvrages, il y aurait un gros livre a ecrire. Balzac, qui passe pour le romancier le plus transcendant a son oeuvre, si l'on ose employer le langage des the*ologiens, y est peut-etre le plus immanent. Dans chaque personnage, dans chaque Episode de la Comedie humaine, un examen approfondi dicele sa pr£-sence. Madame Bovary, c'est moi, disait Flaubert 1'impassible. Balzac n'est pas impassible, il intervient visiblement dans ses remits, m mais combien plus souvent encore invisiblement? Combien plus souvent il se peint meme sans le vouloir? 3 Thus, by living in his work and through it, Balzac is able to endow Vautrin with a particularly life-like appearance. Perhaps the most striking device by which Vautrin is made to live is so atypical of Balzac's method that it appears to be accidental. We refer to the imprecise manner in which Vautrin is descibed physically. TKis technique has been con sidered earlier in this essay as a means of creating an "air of mystery" veiling both the character and his creator. Grant ed, Balzac was likely aware of at least this much of what he was doing. Speaking of settings more than of people, Balzac wrote in an unpublished Avertissement for Le Dernier Chouan(1828) 2. Balzac, Oeuvres completes (Conard,1940),xl,289. 3. Billy, p. 304. -88-"...je n'ai pas eu peu si combattre dans mon penchant a ne quitter un tableau qu'apres avoir longtemps tourn^ autour, 1'avoir le'che en tous sens,... Mors les imaginations ardentes me reprocheront de ne leur rien lai-sser a deviner; mais cette faute...appartient peut-etre a. notre litterature moderne; elle ^ n'a plus que l'immense verite' des details;... Judging from the rest of his work, Balzac didn't put up much of a struggle against this penchant* There are enumerable lines illustating his unwillingness to leave a great deal toe the reader's imaginative faculty. This proved irritating to Le Breton, who comments acidly on Beatrix: " Ces portraits sont vrais, lis sont puissants, ils sont ce qu'il y a de meilleur ou meme tout ce qu'il y a de bon dans Beatrix;mais quel lecteur a la patience de les lire tous? II y en a trop, et dans chacun d'eux il y a trop de details, trop de minuties, le seul portrait physique de Camille Maupin remplit plusieurs pages; vingt-cinq lignes pour ses yeux, quinze pour son nez, autant pour sa ^ bouche, pour son menton, pour ses oreilles... Though aware of the dangers connected with scenic des cription, Balzac was apparently unaware that a vague sugges tion of physiological traits allows the reader to use his own imagination, in the strict sense of the word. Yet procuring the reader's participation in the visualization of a charac ter is one of the most important elements in producing a feeling of authenticity and realism. Bard^che approaches this idea when he speaks of the "other" existence of Balzac's 4. Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, Histoire des oeuvres de Honore" de-Balzac asscited by Bardeche, p. ~2~2~?T. ~ 5. Le Breton, p.126. -89-characters, . " . " Car, chaque personnage dans 1'oeuvre de Balzac est vu deux fois, dans le roman qui lui est consacre d'abord, et la il apparait comme tous personnages de roman, et dans la perspective de la Come'die humaine, et cette vision peut £tre sinon differente, du moins bien plus complete et bien plus profonde. ...alors, quel-que part, dans un espace de la Comedie humaine qui ne porte point de titre et qui en est la contre'e la plus pre'cieuse, se leve un immate'riel portrait...que ni l'une ni-1'autre des oeuvres de Balzac ne nous ont donne,..." 6 In considering Le Breton's comments regarding Gobseck Hulot and Claes, one should remember that Vautrin was inten ded as a secondary figure, though he emerged as a central fi ure. " Mais ils ne sont pas des etres reels. lis sont beaucoup moins re'els, en tout cas, que les personnages de second plan que Balzac a fait apparaltre derri^re eux. Seuls, ceux-ci sont de "I'humanite" vivante. Dans Eugenie  Grandet, la grosse Nanon n'£tait-elle pas plus vraie que Grandet lui-meme? II en est toujours ainsi chez Balzac: la viarite est bien moins dans le he'ros du livre que dans les silhouettes ejpisodiques." 7 Jules Bertaut too, has distinguished between the portraits of the main and subordinate characters, while maintaining tl that both groups were treated by Balzac "avec la rneme min-utie, avec le meW souci constant de copier le re'el." That he has had a reaction similar to Le Breton's is shown when he writes, " Seulement, lorsque les protagonistes ne d£-passent pas la taille ordinaire de I'humanite', 6. Bardeche, Op.Cit., p.526. -90-lorsque 1'imagination du romancier n'inter-vient pas pour les gonfler, ils paraissent d'autant plus vrais, d'une ve'rite^ photogra-phique, si l'on peut dire." 9 Having mentioned "ve'rite' photographique", Bertaut's next remark approaches contradiction, for he says, "C'est ainsi que le groupe des habitue's de la table de Madame Vauquer forme un admirable ensemble aux traits precis, parfois tres appuye's et voisins de la caricature,..." This curious juxta position of photography and caricature continues the thorny question of reality in art without resolving it, but certain ly s,without damaging Le Breton's assertion either. The dess cription Of Vautrin will be found to consist largely of delin eations of his disguises or of his actions, plus a minimum of tangible physical details: his red hair, his strong, hairy hands, a passing reference to the Farnesian Hercules and mainly his eyes -- and not even his eyes in themselves, but rather the effect of his eyes. Just as it was first Vautrin:!.! disguise which was described in Goriot, similarly it is Vau trin' s apparel which receives first mention at the end of Illusions. Lucien sees "un voyageur vetu tout en noir, les cheveux poudre's, chausse' de souliers de veau d'Orleans a boucles d'argent, brun de visage, et couture' comme si, dans son enfance, if fut tombe' dans le feu."^^ Later comes the classic list of physical characteristics: 9. Ibid., p. 59. 10.Illusions p. 584. -91-" Gros et court, de larges mains, un large buste, une force herculienne^ un regard terrible, mais adouci par une mansuetude de commande; un teint de bronze que ne laissai.t rien passer du dedans au dehors, inspiraient'beaucoup plus la -repulsion que 1'attachement." 11 In Splendeurs, Vautrin first appears as "un masque 12 assassin, gros et court, roulant sur lui-meme comme un tonneau." Later we are told that "des plis profonds que les vieilles cicatrices d'une horrible petite verole rendaient hideux et semblables a des ornieres de'chirees, sillonnaient sa figure oliva!tre et cuite par le soleil." We are shown again "son buste d'athllte, ses mains de vieux soldat. sa carrure; ses fortes epaules i..""^ When Lucien knocks Carlos down, his wig falls off and "un crtne poli comme une t£te de mort rendit a cet homme sa vraie physionomie; elle £tait e'pouvantable. ""^ The lack of description here is perhaps paralleled in des criptions of Madame de Se'risy, who was "une blonde de moyenne taille, conservee comme les blondes,qui se sont conserves, . ..""^ and of Goriot, who shows Eugene "une tete dont les cheveux blancs itaient epars et qui mena^ait par tout ce qui pouvait exprimer la menace."^ Edmund Wilson has stressed Proust"s emphasis on "the futility of trying to represent reality by collecting and organizing the data of the external 11. Ibid., p . 599. 12. Splendeurs, p. 52. 13. Ibid., p. 79. 14. Ibid., p. 79. 15. TbTd., p. 401. 16. p. 401. 17. Goriot, p, -92-18 world." Suggestion allows the reader to imagine, to practise self-identification or to make a combination of both. A striking difference in tone marks Vautrin"s appear ance in Goriot and in the two later novels. There are two possible ways to account for the disappearance of what Balzac calls Vautrin1s "grosse gaiete". The first is based on Balzac's method of composition and would assume that under Balzac's hand Vautrin evolved in theccourse of formation, for better or for worse, into the predominantly grave and almost tragic figure of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes . The second is based on the' finished-portrait, as it were, and assumes that the "grosse gaiete^" is part and parcel of the convict's disguise at the Maison Vauquer. The second assump tion does not invalidate the first, nor is it invalidated by it, and seems, for aesthetic reasons, a fairer way of judging Balzac's work. When he makes Vautrin a genius at disguise he also accounts for differences in the various incarnations. To support this, one should recall that all of the essential elements of Vautrin's character, other than gaiety, are pre-* sent in Goriot. An evaluation of the total effect of a por trait must be based on the surface colours rather than on the lower layers of construction. Jean-Louis Bory has commented perceptively .on the confusion which is created by Balzac's 18. Wilson, Op.Cit., p.178. -93-peculiar use of disguise as an element of the,obscurity which surrounds the criminal hero. Distinguishing from the masks and cloaks of the romanticists, he says: " L'identity du he'ros n'est plus inaccessible -- je connais ce monsieur, c'est un pretre, il s'appelle Carlos Herrera, il vient d*Es-pagne --mais elle est fluide, parce qu'elle est a chaque instant truquee. Le farceur de table d'hote, dont ie sais le nom, l'£ge, la nationality, les gouts, se metamorphose en cet abb€, dont je sais le nom, l'a^ge, la nationality, les gouts. Mais le lien entre le farceur et l'abb€, Jacques Collin, voila ce que je ne connais pas et que je ne puis pas conna"Itre tant que 1'autre me tient par son stratageme..."19 Balzac himself gives strong indications that Vautrin''s joviality is only part of his disguise when he says: " Des gens moins superficiels...ne se seraient pas arreted a 1'impression douteuse que leur causait Vautrin... Quoiqu'il eut jete* son apparente(italics ours) bonhomie, sa constante complaisance et sa gaieti comme une barriere entre les autres et lui, souvent il laissait percer l'e'pouvan-table profondeur de son caractere."20 Disguise or impression, the fact remains that Vautrin's live ly speech, sprinkled with rather salty comments, contributes much to the favourable impression he makes upon fellow-boarders and readers alike. Discussing the inmates of Paris ian boarding houses in Balzac's time, Jules Bertaut says: " ...il en est un que l'on trouve presque invariablement dans toutes les descriptions que l'on nous enifait, c'est le Farceur de table d'h&te." 21 19. Jean-Louis Bory, Balzac et les te'nebres(Paris:La Jeune Parque,-20. Goriot p. 36. 1947), p.107. 21. Bertaut, p.52. -94-He quotes from one of these descriptions and remarks on the striking resemblance to Vautrin. " Le farceur de table d'h6te est gen^ralement un gros homme vulgaire, haut en couleurs, de caract^re jovial, familier avec les pensionnaires masculins, galant avec les dames et libertin avec la bonne. Grand mangeur, grand buveur, grand amateur de chansons, il n he'site pas a en fredonner une au dessert. C'est lui qui lance le quolibet, le mot pour rire, le calembour et le coq-a-1'a"ne. C'est lui qui poursuit de ses moqueieies un souffre-douleur qu'il aachhisiiparmi les hdtes et qui sera la cible vivante sur laquelle il decochera ses filches. C'est lui qui montera les scies, qui inventera les petites plaisanteries quotidiennes,... C'est lui qui demandera a C^I&QEC toutes les fetes par la montee d'une bonne bouteille. C'est lui qui re'galera et qui finalement fera payer aux autres son e'cot. Toujours le premier a rire et le dernier a payer." 22 That Balzac was not unfamiliar with this character is shown when he has the unnamed painter say to Vautrin "Vous 23 devriez poser pour un Hercule-Farceur." It would seem that Vautrin chose a disguise which he felt himself capable of carrying out for an extended period of time, just as he later chose that of a priest, thereby imposing a formidable shield between society and himself. "Sa voix de basse-taille," un-disguis~edsM9IGoriot and recognized even through a Spanish accent in Splendeurs by Madame Michonneau-Poiret and Bibi-Lupin, was "en harmonie avec sa grosse gaieteV' 22. Bertaut,- Op.Cit., p.52-53.: " 23. Goriot p.168. 24. Splendeurs p.483. -95-His speech itself is generally direct and forceful^"3 devoid of "style" and peppered with interjectory words and phrases such as "Connu, connu,,m"merci,11 "Bien oblige", "Bah!," 26 "pouah!". One of his picturesque comparisons is "malheur-2 7 eux comme les pierres d'e'gout..." and his calling Mademoiselle Michonneau "la Vdnus duyPere-Lachaise" and Poiret "le dieu 2 8 des jardins" is unforgettable. Though the tone of Vautrin's language changes, its occasional abundance does not, and if he is fond of short expressive words, he is also as adept at lengthy speeches in Illusions and Splendeurs as he is in Goriot. Balzac does not hesitate to pen page after page of Nucingen's painful patois, but Vautrin's thick Spanish accent is not transcribed. The author abandons the use of phonetic spelling as much, one feels, out of respect for his character as because such distrotions "huiraient a la rapidite" 29 d'un denoument". Balzac does try to introduce another element of force into Vautrin's speech by having him use underworld slang, and he expatiates on the strenghc of imagery inherent in this vocabulary. The effectiveness of 25. "lersonne n'a remarque', et cependant cela saute aux jeux et aux oreilles combien la langue de Napoleon 1 r, cette langue par petites phrases de commandement, la langue conserved par Las Gasas dans Le Memorial de  Sainte-H^l^ne,efetencore mieux dans les Entretiens~de Roederer, a e'te' prise et mise par Balzac dans la bouche de ses types militaires, gouvernementaux, humanitaires depuis les tiradlls de ses hommes d'etat jusqu'aux tirades de Vautrin, Edmond et Jules de Goncourt, Journal, (Paris: Flammarion and Fasquelle, n.d. Edition definitive) I, 198-199 26. Goriot p. 109. 27.Ibid., p. 29. 28.TEI5., p. 168., 29.Splendeurs p. 231. -96-the device is almost nullified by the necessity of in cluding parenthetical translations which are certainly indispensable though almost as trying as Nucingen's Alsatian French. A more successful life-giving device is" that of '* the veiled allusions as used between Rastignac and Vau^. trin. While these allusions are understood by the reader and the two parties concerned, they are not understood by the others in the boarding house. When Vautrin finds Euglne and Victorine talking together after dinner, he says "II y aurait done promesses de mariage entre Monsieur le chevalier de Rastignac et Mademoiselle Victorine 30 Taillefer?" Rastignac is extremely embarrassed to have Vautrin interpret this conversation as a sign of capitu lation to Vautrin's scheme. Later, Vautrin has arranged the duel between Franchessini and Victorine' s. brother and is happy at the prospect of obtaining his commission out of the dowry. To Madame Vauquer's comment on his cheer fulness, Vautrin, in his role as businessman, replies: "--Je suis toujours gai quand j'ai fait de bonnes affaires. --Des affaires? dit Eugene. "Eh! bien, oui. J'ai livre' une partie de marchandise qui me vaudra de bons droits de commission." 31 The interview between Vautrin and Corentin in Granville's 30. Goriot p. 52. 31. Ibid., p. 168. -97-office is almost as loaded with cutting remarks as is that between Madame de Beauseant and Madame de Langeais in 32 Goriot. Vautrin acknowledges defeat but tells Cor-entin that it was a costly victory. "Oui, r^pondit Cor-entin, en acceptant la plaisanterie; si vous avez perdu 33 votre reine, moi j'ai perdu mes deux tours..." And again, "Monsieur, monsieur, dit Jacques Collin, vous m'accablez...De votre part, ces ^loges feraient perdre la tete...-- lis sont me'rit^s!"34 In passing, one should also mention Vautrin's ges tures, many of which merely illustrate his herculean strength, but most of which have, again, to do with the role he is playing in his disguises. At the age of fifty, he has no difficulty in hoisting himself through a skylight to escape pursuit, and does so with as much ease as he embraced Madame Vauquer's large circumference. On the pretence of embracing Corentin, he picks him up bodily and sets him outside Granville's office. His Herculean strength even has a negative value when it is compared to the strength of the drug administered by Mademoiselle Michonneau and when Vautrin allows Lucien to knock him down. He seems to forget his usual restraint when he 32. Ibid., p. 82. 33. Splendeurs p. 611. 34. Ibid., pT~612. -98-pushes Goriot's hat down over his ears. But since this occurs in a slapstick episode, we can assume either that Balzac was carried away with his portrayal of the Farceur or that Vautrin was reinforcing his disguise. One re calls also the scene in the prison courtyard during which Vautrin gives all the appearances of being a priest un ctuously consoling the wretched while he is in reality discussing dastardly criminal affairs in energetic under world slang. The effect is heightened by the fact that some of his reactions are perfectly genuine, as, for example, when he learns that Calvi is about to be execu ted. While Camusot is questioning Vautrin and telling him the life-history of his aunt Jacqueline, Vautrin is careful to think about his happy childhood --"me'ditation qui lui donnait un air veritablement e'tonn!. Malgre' l'habilite de sa diction interrogative, Camusot n'arracha 35 pas un mouvement a cette physionomie placide". In sum, we are inclined to agree generally with Bertaut's eval uation of Balzac's rendition of Vautrin's words and ges tures. " Admirons que Balzae ne l'ait pas dou6 de la faconde dont l'eut dot! plus d'un gcrivain de son temps, et, a. part le monologue devant Rastignac, lui ait conserve" une sobri^te' de paroles et de gestes qui en fait un per-sonnage ve'ridique dans 1 exceptionnel et sincere dans 1 outrance."36 35. Ibid., p. 418. 36. Bertaut, pp. 86-87. -99-Turning from the physical to the moral aspects of the character, we find that Balzac has given Vautrin the motivation which other rebel heroes lack and which dis tinguishes him from them. Not only is the motivation ad equate, but it is based on what may be called external issues: the plight of the transgressor of laws -- both as convict and as ex-convict; the state of mind of the illegitimate child; that of the homosexual and finally the whole pattern of social hypocrisy and inconsistency. Though Balzac liked to consider himself, and is indeed most often considered, a social historian, he should be regarded also as a social reformer because of the in sistence with which he spoke of the evils of branding, of the law concerning "contrainte par corps", a subject 37 also treated by Appert , and of the corrupting influ ence of the prisons. The characters Jacques Farrabesche and Maxence Gilet both provide the occasion for dia tribes against the corruption and immorality of prisons and Vautrin acts out in his adventures what is said in connection with the others. The implication is that if Vuatrin were not corrupt before going to prison, he would have had ample motive for being so after his release or escape. The sorry plight of the ex-convict was known 37. Benjamin Appert, Bagnes, prisons et criminels (Paris: Guibert, 1836), pp.134-148. -100-to Balzac through reading Benjamin Appert, Victor Hugo and Vidocq. Society, by its use of tie brand mark and the yellow work-card, refused to be satisfied with the penalty it had itself assigned for a given offense, and by making it impossible for ex-convicts to earn a decent living, forced them back into crime. It is this kind of illogicality as well as the barbarity which society displays for the illegitimate child and for the homo sexual which infuriates Vautrin. Because he is in this threefold manner rejected by society and because he is acutely aware of the waste of his intellectual faculties, Vautrin in turn rejects society. However, his need for love is greater than his hatred of the evil that society represents and we have seen how this need underlies all his actions. In Vautrin's portrait, Balzac has gone to great lengths bo?make his character as realistic as possible by attributing to him idiosyncracies in gesture, speech and tone and has taken great care to prepare us for any deviations in this portrait by emphasizing Vautrin's mas tery of disguise. That the relationship between author and creature is close is unquestionable but that this reality had to be to some extent deformed was a necessary form of self-protection. In conclusion however, Balzac's -101-efforts in realism have been rewarded by the creation of a more intense characterization. Balzac and Symbolism How much should be said of symbolism in connection with an author who died in 1850? Perhaps a great deal. Perhaps this is the "real" symbolism since it is, or may be, unconscious, In any case, there would seem to be, in the first pages of Goriot, too many words pointing to Vautrin to let this aspect of Balzac's technique go un noticed. Indeed, Balzac seems to invite examination of his text in this light when he says of Madame Vauquer's statue of Love: " A voir le vernis e"caill£ qui la couvre, les amateurs de symboles y de'couvriraient un mythe de 1'amour parisien qu'on gu£rit a quelques pas de la."38 Many words express confinement, restraint -- the confine ment and restraint of a prison whose presence is invoked directly when Balzac refers to Madame Vauquer's position in relation to the pension saying: "Le bagne ne va pas sans l'argousin, vous n'imaginerez pas l'un sans l'autre." Certainly also le bagne ne va pas sans 3e bagnard. Confine ment is even indicated by Balzac's calling the rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve "un cadre de bronze, le seul qui con-vienne a ce re"cit, auquel on ne saurait trop preparer 1'intelligence par des couleurs brunes, par des idies graves"(Italics ours). The walk is "borde^e de ger-38. Goriot pp. 27-30 and on the following two pages. -102-aniums"; the courtyard, which has no part in the story, is an enclosure "large d'environ vingt pieds," and mention is made of the engraving in the dining room, "eneadre'es en bois noir." Surely one could never be so aware of walls any place but in a prison -- even Latin walls-- f for when one finishes the story, "peut-£tre aixa-t-on vers6 quelques larmes intra muros et extra." In the street grass grows along the walls, and the walls smell prison like. The garden is flanked by the facade and along the fapade is an area of pebbles. There is a wall opposite the street and at night a solid door blocks off the street. The garden is as wide as the facade is long, and is"en-caiss£ par le mur de la rue et le mur mitoyen" of the neighbouring house. Each of tbase walls is decorated with espaliers and vines and along each wall is a pathway. T The facade is four stories high. With small violence to Lovelace, stone walls may not a prison make --even the twelve references to them in the fifrst four pages of Goriot -- nor iron bars-a cage, although there are rae enough references to the latter to strongly suggest a prison -- beginning with the "porte a claire-voie" open ing onto the street. The same "porte a claire voie est remplacee par une porte pleine" at nightfall. "Les cinq croisees percees a. chaque £tage ont de petites carreaux et sont garnies de jalousies dont aucune n'est releve"e -103-de la m£me maniere, en sorte que toutes leurs lignes jurent entre elles". On the streetside of the house the "deux croise'es... ont pour ornement des barreaux en fer grillage's". One enters the house through a "porte-f ene^tre" with its suggestion of bars aad one sees again the two "croise'es de la rue" with their iron bars. The furniture is sadly upholstered in "e'toffe de crin a raies alternativement  mates et luisantes". Again, on the panel "d*entre les croise'es grillag^es", is the scene of Calypso's feast for Ulysses' sons. The mantlepiece is decorated with "fleurs artificielles, vieilles et encage^es," and the living room "sent la renferm!". In a corner of the dining room is a "boite ai cases" with its vertical and hori zontal lines, "qui sert a garder les serviettes". The dining room is separated from the kitchen by "la cage d'un escalier dont les marches sont en bois et en carreaux" In the enclosed courtyard hangs "le garde-manger" and at the end of it the shed "a. scier le bois". The board ing house, like a prison, "admet les hommes et des femmes, des jeunes gens et des vieillards". Balzac com plains here that the word"drame" has been treated in a "maniere...tortionnaire." A Parisian wandering into this street would only see "de la joyeuse jeunesse contrainte a travailler,"and the young boarders believe them selves superior to their position by mocking Madame Vauquer's dinner,"auquel la misere les condamne." In -104-the dining room are pieces of furniture "proscrits par-tout, mais place's la. comme le sont les debris de la civ ilisation aux Incurables." If all the preceding are slanted toward producing a feeling of confinement, res traint and prison, what of the famous wallpaper and the statue of Love? In Splendeurs et mi'seres des courtisanes, 39 Balzac calls Vautrin Lucien s mentor, and in Illusions  perdues, Vautrin referring to man's "de'sir souverain"^ for companionship, says: "II y a la tout un poeme a. faire qui serait l'avant-scene du Paradis perdu, qui n'est que l'apologie de la ReVolte. --Celui-Ia serait 1'Illiade de la corruption, dit Lucien."^''" It is Minerva (Vautrin... connaissait tout d'ailleurs...") in the guise of Mentor who leads Telemachus in search of his father. The statue of Love --"qui que tu sois, voici ton maltre:/ II l'est, le fut ou le doit e^tre." Scaly as it is, it can rep resent Vautrin's as well as Goriot's feelings -- both pathological. And we should not forget the famous sign: "Pension bourgeoise des deux sexes et autres" hanging c over the "porte-batarde"! Compared to this compact mass of suggestive images or symbols paving the way for Vautrin, the preparation accorded his entrance in Illusions perdues is vastly in ferior through its obviousness. One recalls Lucien's 39y.t~Splendeurs p. 196. 40. Illusions~p. 602. 41. Ibid., p. 602. 42. Goriot p. 27. 45. ; ' -105-letter to his sister in which he wrote "Je ne puis acquerir de valeur que par un mariage avec une volonte' forte, impitoyable." and Vautrin1s entrance two or three pages later. Perhaps Balzac felt that extensive prep aration was no longer necessary for Vautrin to appear in Illusions perdues and in Splendeurs et miseres des  courtisanes. It is almost certain that some mysterious process of association with the prison and prisoner images in the first pages of Le Plre Goriot makes the presence of the escaped convict in this boarding house as natural and ...believable as artistic talent is capable of making it. Conclusion Balzac's deviation from his usual mode of des cription is a first clue indicating his differing approach to Vautrin. The lack of details, so atypical of the ." author, nevertheless achieves a strong sense of realism by encouraging the reader's imaginative participation. We smell Vautrin, hear his awful voice, we are struck by his gestures, feel his penetrating gaze and are over whelmed by a tremendous aura of power. It is but another step to fill in any missing details. The suggestion and intensity typical of Balzac's efforts in realism are also evident in his first attempts at a form of symbolism. Because Vautrin is such a prominent underworld fig-43. Illus ions p.581. . _ -106-ure, it seems natural that Balzac's symbolism should be derived from penitentiary imagery and include terms of restraint and repression. Through their use we are subtly prepared for the disclosure of Vautrin's true calling. Combining realism with early attempts at sym bolism, Balzac achieves one of his most successfully realistic characters. CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUDING NOTES The first chapter of our study set out to find the sources of Balzac's Vautrin. By asking ourselves whether or not Vautrin was an innovation, we arrived at several possible literary prototypes, dominated by the influ ence of Ann Radcliffe, Byron, Goethe and Schiller in particular. In their works, it was possible to discern a remarkable similarity in the physical and metaphysi cal make-up of their most successful characters and the make-up of Vautrin. Dark, sinister deeds are cloaked in an aura of chilling mystery which no one dares question once they have been mesmerized by the penetrating glare of Conrad Moor, Schedoni, the Giaour and Vautrin, He shares the fearsome and rebellious spirit of a Conrad, the social corruption of a Karl Moor and the deep longing to es cape it all in some paradise that characterizes Rene'. Vautrin shares all thesescharacteristics with his pre decessors as well as an ability to rise to heroic pro portions as a villain as do Melmoth, Ferragus and Satan. At times Vautrin seems deserving of our sympathy as a champion wrong-doer and dresser of wrongs operating against and: evil, corrupt society, on his own or as a leader of adventurers linked by a common cause. Just -108-how many can claim to be at least partial prototypes of this remarkable figure of literature, is really not the question. We have shown that he shares many of his outstanding characteristics with his literary predecessors and it only remains for us to see how Balzac synthesized these influences with those of the real life prototypes of nineteenth-century society. Both in life patterns and physical appearance, Vautrin bears a stong resemblence to two legendary figures of reformed criminality of Balzac's time. Vidocq and Coignard share not only lengthy criminal records with Balzac's "Machiavel du bagne", but they also distinguished themselves by eventually applying their knowledge of the underworld in the service of Law and Order. As reformed criminals all three rose to great heights as they had done in their buccaneer days. That Balzac was a master at combining both the literary influences with the sensational reality of his day in the creation of Vautrin there can be no doubt. As our study progresses however we find that there is much more to this complex creation than a mere synthesizing of outside influences. Chapter Two succeeds in exploring the complexity of Vautrin's make-up. Combined with prototypes, liter ary and historical, are character attributes developed by Balzac's personal creative ability. Two of these -109-prominent features of Vautrin1s character are elaborated upon in this chapter: mystery and power. Reflecting the author's taste for secret machinations and his fascination by the theories of Gall, Lavater and Mesmer, are Vautrin1s attributes of mysteriousness and an aura, of power. The techniques used to convey these attributes are examined in detail as is their influences on Vautrin1s fellow characters. In fact, they are only revealed to us through two sources: either viewed as a technique of the author's, or as reacted to by the recipients, victims or whatever. In other words the restraint used in giving details of Vautrin's former life, the omission of a cataloguing of his crimes, and the ambiguousness of his relationships with young men are techniques of the author's, used to perpetuate a sense of mystery and power. On the other hand, the portrait of those other Vautrinesque features that convey a sense of mystery and power, such as his physical! appearance, his financial resources or his motivations, are revealed clearly by Vautrin himself.. Rather, we gain our impression of them through the impression they; make on his fellows. A clever heightening of emotional reaction is thereby attained by the author. Finally, because of the recurring similarities and ambiguous references, we felt it relevant to draw a -110-parallel between Vautrin and Satan. There is much evidence to support a demonic interpretation of Vautrin. This possibility is demonstrated by our detailed study of the mystery and power which dominates the persona of Vautrin. Having introduced all the more important aspects of Vautrin's character, we then explored his. "raison dj§tre, his "passion". Beginning with a look at Balzac's own emancipated ideas on social responsability to the individual. We see that his motivation can in part be traced to his strong dislike of the bourgeoisie and his own personal failure in several aspects of social be haviour. His own social awareness increased his desire to alert others to the ills and evils infecting society. The creation of Vautrin came as a natural result of this desire. Particularly influenced by Godwin's Caleb Williams, and his ideas on the justification of the criminal's struggle against society, Balzac's anti-social ideas are voiced through Vautrin among others. The passing of the great Napoleonic era also greatly influenced the creation of Vautrin. Through him, Balzac expresses the frustration of those not born to power and riches but who have been stimulated by Napoleon's example. Having explored Balzac's reasons for creating an -111-anti-social .mouthpiece, we turn to Vautrin in order to establish his right to exist as a separate entity. There can be no question that he was fully justified in his anarchy. The deplorable life he led, fraught with social injustices, makes his revolt a believable one. For him there are but two possibilities: stupid obedience to an oppressive order or open revolt. He accomplishes the latter most effectively through the use of intermediaries such as Eugene and Lucien. Their triumph and success in the social world, despite all odds, come to represent Vautrin's triumph. Using stolen mone and blackmail Vautrin creates the all-important image for his prote'gds - power and wealth; proving that society forgives the means by which these two gods materialize themselves. Claiming forcefully that honesty has no social value, Vautrin combines his skill at corruption and an "€elat de ge'nie"tto complete his revenge. We have thus clearly shown the intimate link be tween Vautrin and his creator through the similarity of their social consciousness. Vautrin's success as a spirit of revolt is largely due to the natural under standing that Balzac had for his motivations. We have been careful to stress however, that while Vautrin ex presses many of Balzac's frustrations and reforming -112-ideas, he is well able to stand apart from his creator. His anarchy not only seems justifiable, but the success of his revolt wins our admiration. Dealing with Vautrin's amorous inclinations, Chapter Four expresses another aspect of Vautrin's revolt. In examining the major reasons for Vautrin's failure to overthrow society, we are fa ed with his overwhelming need of companionship and love. This flaw in an otherwise indestructible will to power, results in his ultimate downfall. However, because he is a homosexual, the form of this love is a revolt in itself and, even as he loses his fight against society, he might have been able to lose with a smile. The reason he doesn't lies in the dual nature of his love. His homosexuality is closely allied toj a strong paternal drive so that in losing Eugene, Lucien and almost Calvi, he loses not only a willing agent but a lover and a son. Exploring the reasons for this innovative character trait, we find that there are several possible sources. First, a literary precedent was set by Venice Preserved in which an intimate bond between two men is portrayed. Secondly, we find in Balzac's own writings ample evidence of his previous attempts to portray relationships between members of the same sex, though in a much less overt manner. Most important perhaps, is Balzac's strong belief -113-that women and power don't mix. Having set out to por tray an almost completely successful figure of revolt, he had to justify the removal of distracting feminine lures. Hence the solution found in a paternal or homo— sexual relationship. Vautrin, it appears, opts for homosexuality in his love for Calvi, Eugene and Lucien, while Balzac, perhaps to be less offensive to his readers, emphasises the paternal side of Vautrin's relationships with young men. Either option leaves Vautrin with a certain vulnerability. It would seem that he is only attackable through this weakness and indeed, it is as a result of his love for Lucien that he gives himself up to the forces of Law and Order. Our final chapter explored the realism with which Balzac endows Vautrin. Making him come alive through characteristics of speech, gesture and attitude yet allowing for Vautrin's chameleon-like changes by stressing his command of disguises, Balzac involves his reader totally in his creation. He heightens Vautrin's impor tance by attibuting symbolism to his descriptions, actions and words. Balzac's use of symbolism enables us to seemmore of the inner emotions and forces that a mere portrayal would. In summary, Balzac shares Lucien's reaction com pounded of scorn and admiration, so that the reader will -lite detest his actions but pay tribute to the source which galvanizes them. "C'est qu'ordinairement la grandeur de carac-tere rlsulte de la balance de plusieurs qualities oppose"es." 1 explained Rameau's nephew. Like all of the great figures in world literature, Vautrin moves ultimately from the limitations imposed by his creator and clears his own path to immorality. Balzac considered Vautrin one of his warmest characters. He has put into him some of the fervour that burnedaat the centre of his own being. To keep up appearances, Balzac^seems at times to condemn his creation but behind thesmoral chastisement! however, there is a strong sense of sympathy. As an example of the forces which attract us to that immoral figure of revolt, let us re-read Lucien's farewell letter, a letter which Balzac thought well-enough... of to put twice before the reader's eyes in Splendeurs: "... II y a la posterite de Cain et celle vdt'tAbel^comme vous disiez quelquefois. Cain, dans le grand drame de 1 Humanite', c'est 1'opposition. Vous descende>z d'Adam par cette ligne en qui le diable a continue' de souffler le feu dont la premiere etincelle avait 6t6 jet^e sur Eve. Parmi les demons de cette filiation, il s^en trouve, de temps en temps, de terribles, a organisations vastes, qui re'sument toutes les forces humaines et qui ressemblent a ces fievreux animaux du desert dont la vie exige les espaces immenses qu'ils y trouvent. Ces gens-la sont dangereux dans la societe comme des lions le seraient en pleine Normandie: il leur faut une pature, ils deVorent les 1. Diderot, Le Neveu de Rameau (Geneve: Jean Eabre),1950j p.73. -115-hommes vulgaires et broutent les e'cus des niais; leurs jeux sont si pe^rilleux qu'ils finissent par tuer l1humble chien dont ils se sont fait un compagnon, une idole. Quand Dieu le veut, ces etres myste'rieux sont Mo'ise, Attila, Charlemagne, Mahomet ou Napoleon; mais quand il laissesrouiller au fond de l'ocean d'une generation ces instruments gigantesques, ils ne sontpplus que Pugatcheff, Robespierre, Louvel et l'abbe" Carlos Herrera. . Dou£s d'un immense pouvoir sur les ames tendres, ils les attirent et les broient. -C'est g^and, c'est beau dans §6ii genre. C'est la plante ven^neuse aux riches couleurs qui fascinent les enfants dans les bois. C'est la po£sie du mal. Des hommes comme vous autres doivent habiter des antres et n'en pas sortir. Tu m'as fait vivre de cette vie gigan-tesque, et j'ai bien mon compte de l'existence. Ainsi, je puis retirer ma tete des n^oeuds gordiens de ta politique, pour la donner au noeud coulant de ma cravate... Adieu done, adieu, grandiose statue du mal et de la corruption, adieu, vous qui, dans la bonne voie, eussiez ete plus que Ximenes, plus que Richelieu;... Ne me regrettez pas: mon mejpris pour vous etait £gal a mon admiration." 2 Each reader of the Comgdie humaine can, with the marvelous freedom accorded readers, choose one or another character as his favorite. But there is probably none more solidly imposing than this figure as ambiguous and complex as human beings are complex, and ambiguous, and to whom Balzac refers as this "Alpe froide, blanche et voisine, du ciel, inalterable et sourcilleuse, aux flanes de granit, et cependant bienfaisant".^ Just as his creator says "... les plus £tonnants coups de 2/ Splendeurs pp. 500-501. (Letter also on pp. 463-465.) 3. Ibid., p. 82. -IK-foudre avaient pu seuls le changer, si toutefois une 4 pareille nature etait susceptible de changement ? , so does one suspect that readers' for a long time to come will continue to regard with feelings as mixed as those expressed in Lucien's letter, this figure standing at the end of Balzac's work and dominating it all. 4. Ibid., p. 339. -117-BIBLIOGRAPHY Critical, Biographical and Historical Works Affron, Charles. Patterns of Failure in 'La Comedie humaine1. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966. Allemand, Andrei Unit! et structure de 1'univers balzacien. 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Paris: Boivin et Cie., 1946. Balzac. Hatier, 1962. Bertaut, Jules. 'Le Pe"re Goriot' de Balzac. Paris: SFELT, 1947. Besser, Gretchen. Balzac's Concept of •/'•'genius: The Theme  of Superiority in the 'Come'die humaine'. Geneve: Droz, 19b9. Billy, Andr£. La Vie de Balzac. Paris: Flammarion, 1944. Blanchard, Marc. Temoignages et jugements sur Balzac. Paris: Champion, 1931. Boas, George. A Primer for Critics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1937. Borel, Jaeq.u&suisPersonnages et destins balzaciens. Paris: J. Corti, WW. Bory, Jean-Louis. Balzac et les tenVbres. (Essay prece ding his Vautrin textes choisis). Paris: La Jeune Parque, 1947. Brunetiere, Ferdinand. Honore de Balzac. Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1906. Byron, Alfred, Lord. The Works of Lord Byron. London: John Murray, 1904. Calippe, L Abbe Charles. Balzac: ses idles sociaies. * Paris: Le Coffre, n.d. Canfield, Arthur. The Reappearing Characters in Balzac's  'Comedie humaine'. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1961. Cerfberr, Anatole and Christophe, Jules. Repertoire de 'La Comedie humaine' de Honor! de Balzac. Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1887. C!sari, Paul. Etude critique des passions dans l'oeuvre  de Balzac. Paris: Les Presses modernes, 1938. -119-Collin de Plancy, Jacques. Dictionnaire infernal. : Bruxelles: Publisher not named, 1845. Cooper, James Fenimore. Le Dernier des mohicans. Paris: Henri Be'ziat, 1936. Curtius, Ernst. Balzac. Paris: Grasset, 1933. Dargan, Edwin. Studies in Balzac's Realism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933. ~ Honore/ de Balzac: A Force of Nature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932 Dargan, Ethel P. and Weinberg, George. The Evolution  of Balzac's tCom€die humaine'.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942. Decaves, Pierre. Balzac, dramatiste. Paris: La Table ronde, 1960. Delattre, Genevieve. Les Opinions litte'rairesde Balzac. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1961. Diderot, Denis. Le Neveu de Rameau. Geneve: Jean Fabre Ed., 1950. Donnard, Jean-Herve'. Balzac: Les Re^alites economiques et sociales dans ' La Come'die humaine' . Paris: Colin, W Emery, Le^on. Balzac et sa creation. Lyon: Audin, 1953. Esteve, Edmond. Byron et le romanticisme francais. Paris: Boivin et Cie., 1929. : 5 Faguet, Emile. Balzac. Paris: Hachette, Grands Ecrivains francais, 1913. Ferguson, Muriel. La Volonte dans 'La Come'die humaine'. Paris: Georges Coueville, 1935. Flat, Paul. Essais sur Balzac. Paris: Plon, Nourrit et Cie., 18^3": Seconds Essais sur Balzac. Paris: Plon, 1894. -120-Forest, H.U. L*Esth£tique du roman balzacien. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1950. Froment, Miche1. Histoire de Vidocq, chef de la Surete\  e"crite d'apres lui-rrteme. Paris: Lerosey, 1829. Giraud, Raymond. The Unheroic Hero in the Novels of  Stendhal, Balzac and Flaubert. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1957. Gozlan, Le'on. Balzac intime. Paris: Librairie illustree. n.d. Guiraud, Edmond. Vautrin. Paris: 1923. Guy on, Bernard. 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Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison, 1961. -121-Mauriac, Claude. Aimer Balzac. Paris: Colin, 1945. Maurois, Andr!-. Prometheus. New York: Harper and Row, 1965. Milatchitch, Douchan. Le Theatre de Honor! de Balzac. Paris: Hachette, iJW. Oliver, Edward. Honor! de Balzac. New York: Macmillan and Company, 1964. Poulet, Georges. La Distance int!rieure. Paris: Plon, 1952. " Etude sur le temps humain.Paris: Plon, 1949. Praz, Mario. The Romantic Agony. New York: Meridian, 1956. Preston, Ethel. Recherches sur la technique de Balzac:  Le Retour systematique des personnages dans 'La~  Com!die humaine.'Paris: Presses franpaises, 1926. Prioult, Albert. Balzac ayant 'La Com!die humaine'. Paris: Courville, 1936. Rogers, Samuel. Ba1zac and the Nove1. Madison: Univer-s'.. ty osi¥ysof nWis.consin. Pre"ss, 1953. Royce, William. A Balzac Bibliography. Chicago: Univer-si sity of Chicago Press, 1929. Sainte-Beuve, Charles. Les Grands Ecrivains francais:  Romanciers. Paris: Garnier, 1927. Savant, Jean. La Vie fabuleuse et authentique de Vidocq. Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1950. Schiller, Fr!deric. Les Brigands. New York: Ungar, 1961. Schilling, Bernard. The Hero as Failure: Balzac and the Rubempr!' Cycle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. Spoelberch de Louvenjoul, Vicomte. Histoire des  oeuvres de Honor! de Balzac. Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1888. -122-Vaughan, Charles. The Romantic Revolt. London: Blackwood, 1907^ Vidcoq, Francois. Memoires de Vidocq. Paris: Tenon, 1828-1829"; . Les Voleurs. Paris: Chez l'auteur, lg37> ~ • . Les Vrais Memoires de Vidocq. Ed. Jean Savant, Paris: Editions Corre"a, 1950. Werblowsky, K.J. Zwi. Lucifer and Prometheus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 1952. Wilson, Edmund. Axel's Castle. New York: Scribners, 1950. ~ Wurmser, Andre\ La Come'die inhumaine. Paris: Galli-mard, 1964. Zweig,ZStefan?L.efBalzac. New York: The Viking Press, 1946. "~ Articles Gould, C. "The Present State of Balzac Studies". French Studies. 1970. XII, 299-323. . .. • Richer, M.F. "Autour de la pierce 'Vautrin'". Merciire de France. 1 novembre, 1950, pp. 178-189. Roux, F. "Balzac jurisconsulte et criminaliste". Lyon: Archives d'Anthropologie criminelle. 1906. XXI, 67-74. Verni^re, P. "Balzac et la gene^se de VautrinV. Revue d'histoire litteraire. juillet-de'cembre, 1939. pp. 180-200. janvier-mars, 1948. pp.53-68. Works by Balzac a. Fiction Balzac, Honore' de. Oeuvres completes de Honore de  Balzac. Paris: Conard, 1940. Illusions perdues. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 196"5T . -123-Balzac, Honore' de. Le Pere Goriot. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, I96TT. Splendeurs et miseres des  courtisanes. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1968. b. Correspondence Balzac, Honore de. Correspondance 1819-1850. Paris: Calmann- Levy, 1B77~. . Correspondance incite avec Madame Zulma Carraud 1829-1850. Paris: Armand Colin, 1935. . r—i. Correspondance ineldite avec la Duchess de Castries 1831-1848. Paris: Ed. Lapina, 1928. Lettres \ l'Etrangere 1833-1844. Paris: Calmann-L€vy, 1954. . Letters to his Family. Ed. W.S. Hastings, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1934. •124« APPENDIX « BIOGRAPHIC SKETCH OF VAUTRIN1 Fausse identite prise par Jacques Collin, sous laquelle il est le plus connu. Ne en 1779, fit ses Etudes aui college des Oratoriens jusqu'a la rhdtorique (S&M) et debuta commis dans une banque ou le placa sa tante, Jacqueline Collin, qui l'avait elevi. Il y endossa la responsabilite* d'un faux en •icriture (S&M), commis "par un trls beau jeune homme qu'il aimait beaucoup, jeune Italien assez joueur qui entra dans 1 1'armeV (le colonel Franchessini) (PG). Condamn£ pour ce, d'elit \ cinq ans de travaux forces (S&M), il fut envoy! au bagne et s'en evada. Dissimulant son identit! sous celle d'un sieur Vautrin, rentier, il se trouvait a Paris en 1815 pensionnaire a. la pension Vauquer, rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve . II y resta jusqu'en 1820. La propri!taire avait si grande confiance en lui qu'il etait le seul a posse'der un passe partout, ses "affaires" l'obligeant a rentrer parfois tard dans la nuit(P.G). En 1818, la police, qui recherchait tou-jours le forcat Trompe-la-Mort, commenga a s'int!resser a M. Vautrin et le surveille discretement. En 1819, a peu pres sur de son fait, Bibi-Lupin, chef de la Surete, s'abouchait avec deux pensionnaires de la pension Vauquer, M. Poiret et Mile. Michonneau, afin de l'espionner plus efficacement (PG). Vers cette epoque, le jeune baron de Rastignac prit pension a la maison Vauquer. Devinant sa devorante ambition, Vautrin essaya de se l'attacher et tenta de lui faire e'pouser Victor-ine Taillefer qu'il rendit heriti^re des millions paternels 1. Fernand Lotte, Dictionnaire biographique des personnages fictifs de la Come*die humaine (Paris: Corti, 1952), pp.629-631. -125' en faisant tuer son frlre en duel par un breteur qui lui avait des obligations: le colonel Franchessini. Drogue* par Vautrin, Rastignac ne pouvait intervenir a temps pour eViter le combat, mais ayant encore "quelques langes tstches de vertu", il £luda le pacte. Peu apr^s, le 15 fevrier 1820, arre^te par Bibi-Lupin, Vautrin retournait au bagne de Rochefort (S&M). II ne tardait pas a s1 en evader avec son camarade de chaine, Theo dore Calvi, dit Madeleine, les bagnards ayant tout fait pour faciliter la fuite de leur "dab". Pass! en Espagne et cher-chant a se refaire une autre personnalit!, il s'inclina pour l'!tat eccle'siastique. Dans une embuscade, il tue l'abbe Carlos Herrera, chanoine de la cathidrale de Tolede, qui ven-ait d'etre chargl d'une mission diplomatique en France comme envoy! secret de S.M. Ferdinand VII \ S.M. Louis XVIII. Devant le cadavre du pre^tre, a l'aide de reactifs chimiques, il changea son visage afin de lui ressembler, et se fit des bless-ures au dos pour effacer les ind!sirables lettres T.F., irre-cusables tlmoins de son pass!, apprit l'espagnol "et autant de latin qu'un pretre andalou en devait savoir". A Barce-lone, en confession, une deVote lui revela qu'elle poss!dait un tr£sor du a un crime qu'elle avait commis. Continuant a jbuer son rOle, il ne consentit a lui donner 1'absolution que lorsqu'elle le lui eut remis: il promit de le restituer aux ayarits droits Riche des pesetas de sa p!nitente et du tre'sor de Carlos Herrera, il rentrait en France sous les traits de sa victime par la diligence (S&M). Le 15 septembre, 1822, sur la route d'AngouleW a Poitiers, pres de Marsac, il ren-contrait Lucien de Rubempr!, ruminant des projets de suicide. II eut tSt fait de dissuader cet ind!cis, se l'attacha comme secretaire particulier et l'emmena avec lui \ Paris, apres un melancolique coup d'oeil donne en passant a la vieille de-meure des Rastignac (IP). Sur Rubempre il reporta l'affection presque paternelle qu'il avait vou!e au precedent et subvint •126-a ses besoins pendant six ans. Les deux hommes habite*rent d'abord rue Cassette^ puis quai Malaquais; il faisait passer Lucien pour son fils naturel. Apres avoir vainement tente de l'eioigner de la courtisane Esther Gobseck qu'il jugeait nuisible a ses projets, il finit par consentir a la lui laiss-er pour maitresse, tout en intruigant dans 1'ombre pour lui manager un riche mariage avec Clotilde de Grandlieu. Vers 1829, ses ressources commencant a s'e'puiser, il de'cide "de vendre" Esther Gobseck au baron de Nucingen et dut se lxvrer a une serie de manoeuvres qui attireicent 1'attention de la police. Il prit un moment le pseudonyme de William Barker, riche ne"gociant anglais, dans le but d'extorquer une signa ture a Ceriset dont il connaissait le passe. Sur le point d'aboutir, ses projets furent contrecarres par la police, alerte*e par Nucingen, au de*but de 1830. Le 13 mai 1830, Lucien de Rubemprl £tait arrete sur la route de Fontainebleau, et lui-meme a Paris, puis e'croue's \ la Conciergerie sous 1'inculpation de vol et d'assassinat sur la personne d'Esther Gobseck (S&M). En cet extreme danger, cet homme extraordinaire parvenait encore a sauver la situation et evitait la peine capitale a son ancien camarade de bagne Madeleine, "pour lequel il confectionnait jadis de si belles patarasses". D^tenteur de lettres d'amour qui compromettait gravement l'honneur de plusieurs families de haiate noblesse, il traita presque d'igal & e'gal avec le procureur general, M. de Granville en vue de leur restitution. II ne put malheureusement empecher le suicide de celui qu'il aimait comme fils, le faible Lucien de Rubempre' (S&M). Corentin le demanda comme second, mais il refusa cette offre dangereuse, se trouvant separ^ de lui "par trois longeurs de cadavres", et devint 1'adjoint de Bibi-Lupin sous le nom de Vautrin. A la fin de 1830, il le remplacait a la t£te de la police de suret^, place qu'il occupa pendant quinze ans: il prit sa retraite en 1845 (S&M). -127-Dans ses nouvelles fonctions, il s'acquitta admirablement de sa ta'che, et en quelques mois il avait fait arrester les assa ssins des rentiers Crottat (S&M). En 1843, chef de la police de Surete, il recevait la visite du depute Victorin Hulot qui le priait de del>ar<rasser sa famille de Mme. Crevel. Il y consentit et quelques mois plus tard, ddguise' en"pauvre pr£tre", il se presentait au domicile du depute", lui reclamant la somme convenue, quarante mille francs, "pour i(tune) oeuvre pie, un couvent ruine* dans le Levant". Banquier des trois bagnes, "dab" des Dix-Mille et des Grands Fanande1s, Vaitrin etait unifoersellement connu dans le monde de la pe"gre sous le par-lant pseudonyme de Trompe-la-Mort (S&M-PG). Il fut tres probablement l'un des"TreizeV. On lit en effet, dans la Preface aux Treize : "Un jour l'un d'eux, apr^s avoir lu Venise sauvge (livre que Jacques Collin se vantait de "savoir par coeur") et admire* l'union sublime de Pierre et de Jaffier (...) vint a songer aux vertus particulieres des gens jetes en dehors de l'ordre social, a la probite' des bagnes, etc." Cette supposition est corrobore'e par le fait que le comte Henri de Marsay, autre Treize, etait fort au courant des activ-ites de Vautrin, comme nous l'apprend dams une lettre, e'crite sur un ton mi-badin mi-se'rieux, a* Paul de Manerville (CM). Comme beaucoup de bagnards, Jacques Collin "n'aimait pas les femmes" (PG) et appartenait au "troisieme sexe" (S&M). II xi m'etait toutefois devenu homosexuel qu'en 1800, a l'age de v vingt et un ans, apres une vive deception sentimentale, "ayant cru \ 1'amour d'une femme qui le bafoua" (PG). II re-porta alors son affection sur le jeune Italien (Franchessini), pour lequel il endossa la responsabilite" du faux en ecriture qui devait le conduire pour la premiere fois au bagne. Vautrin savait tout faire et, il e'tait tr^s fort tireur au pistolet: "A trente-cinq pas, ±1 mettait cinq fois de suite sa balle dans un as de pique...en renfoncant chaque balle nouvelle sur 1'autre.." Son r^ve etait de devenir planteur en Floride...(PG). Peut-etre le r^alisera-t-il apre*s avoir pris sa retraite. 


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