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Dimensions of Vautrin Shaw, Penelope Angela Holmes 1974

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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  i n the Department of FRENCH  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MAY, 1974  i  In presenting t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of  the  requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e , f o r referance and study.  I f u r t h e r agree that permission  f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s represen-  tative?  I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s  t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my permission.  written  Abstract This t h e s i s i s concerned w i t h the e a r l y  stirrings  of V a u t r i n i n Balzac's consciousness, h i s sources both l i t e r a r y and h i s t o r i c a l and the shaping of these e a r l y beginnings i n t o the mesmeric f i g u r e as we know him today.  Our aim w i l l be  to present a coherent and s u c c i n c t view of the dominating forces which the master n o v e l i s t has interwoven i n h i s character. The f i r s t chapter traces the dominant l i t e r a r y trends relevant to V a u t r i n ' s s c r e a t i o n .  Mood and p e r s o n a l i t y of the  character as w e l l as t h e i r meaning i n the context of romantic l i t e r a t u r e are explored.  An important question i s whether  V a u t r i n has a prototype.  Answers to t h i s question precede  d i s c u s s i o n of the extent to which V a u t r i n i s Balzac's creation.. u  Upon e s t a b l i s h i n g Vautrin's sources i n l i t e r a t u r e , we next consider h i s h i s t o r i c a l and contemporary r o o t s .  Thus,  an attempt i s made to look beyond l i t e r a r y i n f l u e n c e s to :• people and events which i n f l u e n c e d Balzac's perception of h i s world and, t h e r e f o r e , the development of h i s character.  The  extent to which Balzac found h i s l i t e r a r y i n s p i r a t i o n i n the people and the events of contemporary s o c i e t y , and the extent to which he r e l a t e d these observations to previous l i t e r a r y trends w i l l be weighed.  Turning from a f a c t u a l study to a  l i t e r a r y one, we take a loqkat the dominating forces i n V a u t r i n himself.  The f i r s t concern of Chapter Two w i l l be  to evaluate the impact of these forces i n the character on the reader.  Balzac t r i e d to evoke a p a r t i c u l a r aura around  V a u t r i n and a study of the authorss p r e s e n t a t i o n of h i s character i s designed to provide clues as to h i s success.  We  will  a l s o look a t Balzac's method of developing an aura surrounding V a u t r i n , h i s past and present sources of wealth and prest i g e , among the underwold.  Consideration of Vautrin's power,  h i s own awareness of i t and how he uses i t w i l l be a c e n t r a l ? f o c a l p o i n t i n t h i s chapter. With the discovery of Vautrin's essence, we s h a l l see how i t complements and even motivates h i s dominating passion. Thus the t h i r d chapter, being the p i v o t a l one i n t h i s study, attempts not only to d e p i c t the reasons behind h i s determina t i o n to r e v o l t and the r e s u l t s thereof, but i s l a r g e l y concerned w i t h l i n k i n g the character to h i s c r e a t o r , l i t e r a l l y and p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y .  I t i s deemed e s p e c i a l l y important to  convey that V a u t r i n i s w e l l able to stand on h i s own  con-  v i c t i o n s , though the evident p a r a l l e l s w i t h Balzac's own s o c i a l consciousness are openly discussed. ©ur f o u r t h chapter focuses on a chink i n Vautrin's otherwise impervious facade: h i s overwhelming need of love. P a r t l y because of i t s r e v o l u t i o n a r y s p i r i t , p a r t l y i n s p i t e  of i t , Vautrin's need f o r love i s not s a t i s f i e d i n conventiona l terms.  The ambiguity of the love he f e e l s f o r Theodore  C a l v i , Eugene de Rastignac and then Lucien de Rubempre', absorbs our i n t e r e s t i n t h i s chapter.  Most important however,  i s the view of t h i s need f o r love i n l i g h t of h i s own downf a l l as a f i g u r e of r e v o l t .  To what extent d i d Balzac pre-  d i c t i t ? Could V a u t r i n have succeeded i f he had been capable of a more conventional love?  The human side of t h i s  c a l c u l a t i n g f i g u r e i s revealed to us through these questions. Our f i n a l chapter turns i t s focus back to the author. In h i s use of r e a l i s m and a l l e g o r y , Balzac adds a greater d i mension to t h i s already powerful f i g u r e .  Our a b i l i t y to  p a r t i c i p a t e as a c t i v e l y as we do i n the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  is s  seen i n terms of Balzac's mastery of these two l i t e r a r y f o r mulae.  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  In preparing t h i s t h e s i s the d i r e c t i o n of Dr. David J . Niederauer has been most h e l p f u l .  Professor  Niederauer's enthusiasm and encouragement through a l l stages of my work have been most appreciated.  I would  a l s o l i k e to thank Dr. Edward Matte f o r h i s reading of the manuscript and h i s many h e l p f u l suggestions.  While  study of Balzac alone i s bound to have i t s rewards, the s u p e r v i s i o n of Dr.s. Niederauer and Matte has been p a r t i c u l a r l y conducive t o heightening the pleasures and reducing the pains of l i t e r a r y i n q u i r y .  Lovingly dedicated t o Dod, Mum, Oho and Paul.  -v-  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page T i t l e Page  i i  Abstract  i i  Acknowledgements  i v  Table of Contents Chapter One:  :...  I: Is V a u t r i n An -  vi  Innovation?  Introduction Romantic Roots P h y s i c a l and Metaphysical Character Types  1 1 2 4  I I . V a u t r i n s H i s t o r i c a l Roots 1  Chapter Two:  - Vidocq - Coignard  11 12  - Conclusion  15  Mystery and Power  - Introduction 16 - Mysterious V a u t r i n 16 - Powerful V a u t r i n 21 •? The Physiognomy of V a u t r i n .... 29 - Satanic Soul 33 - Conclusion 39 Chapter Three: S p i r i t of Revolt - Introduction . * 40 - Balzac the A n t i - S o c i a l i s t 41 - V a u t r i n the Anarchist 49 •s Balzac and V a u t r i n 56 - V a u t r i n the Anti-Hero 58 - Conclusion 65 Chapter Four: Paternal or Homosexual? - Introduction - Warnings by Balzac Exemplified by V a u t r i n -vi-  66 66  TABLE OF CONTENTS - CONT'D Page Chapter Four: Cont'd - V a u t r i n s D u a l i t y ........... - The Unmaking of V a u t r i n - Conclusion 1  71 81 84  Chapter F i v e : The Master's Touch •? -  Introduction Balzac's Use of Realism Balzac and Symbolism Conclusion  86 86 101 105  Chapter S i x : Concluding Notes  107  Bibliography  117  Appendix  124  -vii  CHAPTER ONE: I: IS VAUTRIK AN INNOVATION? Introduction V a u t r i n i s not a mere c r e a t i o n of Balzac's imagination.  L i t e r a r y models i n s p i r e d him as d i d l i v i n g ones and  he was p a r t i c u l a r l y influenced by the trends i n eighteenthcentury l i t e r a t u r e .  These included the gothic novel  typical-  l y shrouded i n mystery and t e r r o r as w e l l as e x h i b i t i n g a t a s t e f o r r e b e l l i o u s natures.  A b r i e f survey of such promi-  nent w r i t e r s as Lord Byron, Goethe and S c h i l l e r and t h e i r e v i l c r e a t i o n s w i l l i n d i c a t e some of Vautrin's most obvious physi c a l and s p i r i t u a l  sources.  The aforementioned creators of that v i o l e n t type from which V a u t r i n was to spring were, i n t u r n i n s p i r e d by the romans n o i r s of Horace Walpole, Ann R a d c l i f f e , Lewis and Charles Maturin.  These novels of black l i t e r a t u r e combined  r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s , gloomy s e t t i n g s and t a l e s of horror.  Ghosts,  bloody nuns and damsels i n d i s t r e s s became the indispensable features surrounding  the romantic bandit.  A closer  look a t the t r a d i t i o n a l physique of the heroes and an overview of the various types of popular rebels w i l l  illustrate  Balzac's debt to the romantic movement. Romantic Roots One need only read Le Pere Goriot  and Splendeurs et  -2miseres des courtisanes  to be impressed by a s t r i k i n g  fig-  ure endowed w i t h great strength and an uncomfortably  pierc-  ing  their  eye.  Comparison w i t h h i s romantic predecessors,  emanations of e v i l power, t h e i r herculean strength and the scowls t h a t darken and furrow t h e i r faces, r e v e a l s a c l o s e s i m i l a r i t y of e x t e r n a l features a n d d d i s t i n g u i s h i n g moods i n Balzac's V a u t r i n . P h y s i c a l and  Metaphysical  The p h y s i c a l aspect of the heroes i n Romantic l i t e r ature i s c a r e f u l l y developed predominantly  to evoke the metaphysical:  f e a r and uneasiness.  The e a r l i e s t example of  t h i s development i s found i n Ann R a d c l i f f e ' s Schedoni.  This  s t r i k i n g f i g u r e of The I t a l i a n or The Confessional of the Black Penitent,(1797), i s described as being t a l l ,  and:  •" ...as he s t a l k e d along, wrapt i n the b l a c k garments of h i s order, there was something t e r r i b l e i n the a i r ; something almost superhuman.'?.! His cowl, too, as i t threw a shade over the l i v i d paleness of h i s face, encreasing i t s severe character, and gave i t an e f f e c t to h i s l a r g e , melancholy eye, which approached to h o r r o r . . . an h a b i t u a l gloom and s e v e r i t y p r e v a i l e d over the deep l i n e s of h i s countenance; and h i s eyes were so p i e r c i n g that they seemed to penetrate, at a s i n g l e glance, i n t o the hearts of men, and to read their'most secret thoughts; few persons could support t h e i r s c r u t i n y , or even endure to meet them twice." 1. Such a r r e s t i n g f e a t u r e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the expression of the eye, are evident i n Balzac's d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n . 1. Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony (New  Fur-  York:Meridian,1956),p.59.  -3thermore, Byron's c r e a t i o n of Conrad and the Giaour i s der i v e d from Ann R a d c l i f f e ' s work and both characters show a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p to Schedoni i n p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Byron's heroes arid Schedoni share the same powerful gaze i n s t i l l e d w i t h a s i n i s t e r power, a l s o a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Vautrin.  Byron says of Conrad: " There breathe but few whose aspect might defy The f u l l encounter of h i s searching eye; He had the s k i l l , when Cunning's gaze would seek To probe the heart and watch h i s changing cheek, •  •  •  •  There was a laughing d e v i l i n h i s sneer, 2 That r a i s e d emotions both of rage and f e a r . " The giaour, i n h i s monk's h a b i t , m i r r o r s Schedoni: " Dark and u n e a r t h l y i s the scowl That glares beneath h i s dusky cowl. •  •  •  •  Oft w i l l h i s glance the gazer rue, For i n i t l u r k s that nameless s p e l l , Which speaks, i t s e l f unspeakable." 3. Ann R a d c l i f f e then, i s at the roots of the l i t e r a r y fad of mixing romanticism, mysticism and pseudo-science i n physiognomy.  I t was she who created the hero who was t o haunt  l i t e r a t u r e f o r a long time: handsome, gloomy, proud, w i t h mysterious and t e r r i b l e . p a s s i o n s d a r k l y suggested by h i s p i e r c i n g , b l a c k eyes.  Byron, Scott, Lewis and Maturin under-  went R a d c l i f f e ' s i n f l u e n c e as, through them, as w e l l as d i r e c t l y , so d i d Balzac. Not only i n physique and mood i s Vautrin's debt to the Romantic l i t e r a r y movement v i s i b l e , but a l s o i n the v a r i o u s types of rebels and heroes that "2. Lord Byron, The Works Of Lord Byron (London:John Vol.3, 234-235: 3. I b i d . , p.125.  dom-  Murray,1904),  -4inated l i t e r a t u r e . Character Types The philosophy behind t h i s new breed of v i l l a i n o u s r e b e l i s best expressed by the f o l l o w i n g : 11  Ces miserables brigands, l ' o b j e t du degout et de l'horreur des n a t i o n s , en aeviendront l e s a r b i t r e s et l e s e"chafauds se changeront en a u t e l s . Dieu a revetu d'une mission p a r t i c u l i ^ r e ces hommes de sang et de t e r r e u r q u i usent, qui b r i s e n t l e s r e s s o r t s de l ' e t a t s o c i a l pour l e recommencer." 4.  Their mission then, i s to tear down the o l d , making way f o r a new  s o c i e t y based on greater e q u a l i t y .  From the mere phys-  i c a l a t t r i b u t e s , l e t us t u r n to study the d i f f e r e n t s t r a i n s of rebels who chose t h i s passive or a c t i v e d e s t r u c t i o n as t h e i r mission.  For example, a c t i v e r e v o l t c h a r a c t e r i z e s  the r e b e l , the s o c i a l m i s f i t and the h e r o - v i l l a i n , while the melancholic m i s f i t f i n d s solace i n escape from the p a i n f u l r e a l i t i e s of s o c i e t y . The character Conrad, from The Corsair,(1814), l i e s i n the second category and best exemplifies Byron's r e b e l . Conrad, the leader of a band of p i r a t e s , has d e l i b e r a t e l y chosen e v i l .  Depicted as bloody i n crime and v i c e , shunned  and feared, alone and mysterious, he i s an e n t i r e l y s i n i s t e r and overpowering f i g u r e .  He valued the fear which he i n s p i r -  ed above everything except h i s love f o r Medora, upon whose 4. Honore" de Balzac, H i s t o i r e des Treize tome x i i i , pp. 7-8.  preface,  death: 11  This man  He l e f t a C o r s a i r ' s name to other times, ^ Linked w i t h one v i r t u e and a thousand crimes." *  of d e s t i n y , to a c e r t a i n degree at the  and disenchanted  cross-roads  w i t h l i f e , faces e i t h e r a c t i v e r e v o l t against  s o c i e t y or a h y p e r - s e n s i t i v e p a s s i v i t y . Conrad chooses the former i n o p p o s i t i o n to the q u i e t desperation of Byron's other famous r e b e l , Manfred.  V a u t r i n too, having weighed  the advantages of a c t i v e and passive r e v o l t , as  witnessed  i n Le Pere G o r i o t , chooses the path of anarchy, crime and v i c e . The s o c i a l m i s f i t i s best exemplified by K a r l Moor, the leader of S c h i l l e r ' s M e  Rauber,(1781),,Moor i s a  f u s i o n of the i n f l u e n c e of Rousseau; the idea that n a t u r a l man,  k i n d and harmless, can be changed by s o c i e t y i n t o a  v i c i o u s c r i m i n a l . Moor i s presented as the i d e a l youth i n search of l i b e r t y and at war w i t h tyranny, yet imbued w i t h the tender f e e l i n g s of love and melancholy.  Never able to  c o n t r o l the d i s o r d e r of h i s w i l l and h i s a c t i o n s , h i s e x i s t ence i s marred by murder and i n j u s t i c e . God and man,  By h i s defiance of  he destroys the world of j u s t i c e and m o r a l i t y  which he so much wanted to save, and f o r which reason he became an avenger of a l l v i o l e n c e and i n j u s t i c e .  In compar-  i s o n w i t h V a u t r i n , Balzac b a r e l y dwells on the l a t t e r ' s o r i g i n a l ..innocence. 5. I b i d . , p.296.  However, one can c e r t a i n l y see i n him  Moor's tender f e e l i n g s of love and h i s harsh defiance of  God,  j u s t i c e and m o r a l i t y . V a u t r i n , however, i s stronger i n purpose than Moor and i s not beset by the same c o n f l i c t s of w i l l and a c t i o n . In a d d i t i o n to the type of r e b e l who  cannot content  himself to l i v e c o n v e n t i o n a l l y i n a s o c i e t y which refuses to recognize h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y , there i s the type who,  instead  of r i s i n g i n open r e v o l t against s o c i e t y , , p r e f e r s to withdraw from i t and lead a l i f e tormented by a deep melancholy and f i l l e d w i t h sighs of ennui. Characters  of t h i s type are  the dreamers as opposed to men  They e i t h e r commit  of a c t i o n .  s u i c i d e or end t h e i r days i n a t y p i c a l l y romantic, e x o t i c country, where they f e e l a k i n to nature, away from the c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e s of c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Two  such r e b e l s i n -  f l i c t e d w i t h the mal du s i e c l e are Werther and Rene.  Certain-  l y V a u t r i n e x h i b i t e d s i m i l a r dreams of escape to i d e a l i s t i c p l a n t a t i o n s i n America as revealed i n Le Pere G o r i o t . As w e l l as a c t i v e rebels and melancholic  m i s f i t s , the  Romantic movement a l s o produced epic heroes i n an epic l i t e r ature preoccupied w i t h the theme of r e v o l t and of man destiny.  and h i s  The greatest of these i s M i l t o n ' s Satan, whom M  Mario Praz a s c r i b e s as the source f o r Conrad, Giaour and K a r l Moor.  Satan i s a being, proud of h i s r e b e l l i o n , who,  though defeated, refuses to repent. Satan i n p a r t :  even  R.J.Z. Werblowsky sees  -7" ...as r e b e l against a r a t h e r passive God's immutable decrees,(he) becomes the symbol of the power-carrier who s t r a i n s every muscle, f i b r e and nerve against a supreme and u n r e l e n t i n g and ipso f a c t o c o l d and h o s t i l e f a t e . " 6. Praz a l s o draws a p a r a l l e l between the p h y s i c a l features of M i l t o n ' s " F a l l e n Angel" and the l a t e r Romantic r e b e l s . p e r s o n i f i e s the sadness, death, d i a b o l i c a l charm and  Satan  sinister  a i r of the ''sublime c r i m i n a l " who was to appear at the end of the eighteenth century. Alongside theRomantic r e b e l and the melancholic hero then, there e x i s t e d the h e r o - v i l l a i n .  He appears as the  epitome of a l l that i s e v i l and i s i n s t i l l e d w i t h an e e r i e , supernatural power.  The q u a l i t i e s which comprise i n part  the Romantic r e b e l a l s o apply to the v i l l a i n of the g o t h i c nove1: " ...mysterious(but conjectured to be exalted) o r i g i n , traces of burnt-out passions, s u s p i c i o n of g h a s t l y g u i l t , melancholy h a b i t s , pale face, unforgettable eyes." 7. Satan, V a u t r i n and, as we s h a l l see, Melmoth and  Ferragus  share the v i l l a i n o u s q u a l i t i e s mentioned above. Melmoth i s a s t r i k i n g example of the Gothic herovillain.  The nature of t h i s type i s two-fold; he i s a power-  f u l being, capable of e x e r c i s i n g great s e l f - c o n t r o l and i s a marked c r i m i n a l .  Although h i s character i s presented l a r g e r  than l i f e , i t s negative side i s accentuated i n order f o r 6. Zwi Werblowsky, L u c i f e r and Prometheus (London:Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.,1952;, p.79. 7. Praz, Op. c i t . , p . 5 9 .  -8the reader to sense f u l l y the atmosphere of impending doom so necessary to the Gothic t a l e . r e b e l l i o n i n an orthodox 11  He i s a symbol of moral  society,  ...whose e v i l i s the r e s u l t of a c l a s h between h i s passionate nature and powerful i n d i v i d u a l w i l l and the unnatural r e s t r a i n t s of convention, orthodoxy or t r a d i t i o n . " 8 .  Indeed, a s i m i l a r c l a s h w i t h p a r a l l e l r e s u l t s i s v i s i b l e i n V a u t r i n , though an atmosphere of doom i s not an i n t e g r a l part of Balzacas novels. The character of the h e r o - v i l l a i n who was to emerge, a f t e r much p a i n f u l t r i a l and e r r o r , i n V a u t r i n , was i n Balzac's own w r i t i n g s , by Ferragus.  preceded,  In 1833, while keeping  w i t h i n the l i m i t s of the roman n o i r l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n , B a l zac created, i n h i s H i s t o i r e des T r e i z e , Ferragus.  He created  a secret s o c i e t y of adventurers and nobles, " ...tpus f a t a l i s t e s , gens de coeur, et de poe'sie, mais ennuye's de l a v i e p l a t e q u ' i l s menaient, entraings vers de jouissances a s i a t i q u e s . " 9. a society, " ...contre l a q u e l l e l ' o r d r e s o c i a l s e r a i t sans de"fense,£ q u i j r e n v e r s e r a i t l e s o b s t a c l e s , f o u d r o i e r a i t l e s volontes et donnerait a -,Q chacun d?eux l e pouvoir d i a b o l i q u e de tous." In t h i s e a r l y work, one can already d i s c e r n the h o s t i l i t y towards s o c i e t y that was to mark V a u t r i n .  Like Ferragus,  8. Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer ( L i n c o l n , 1961),P.x. 9, Balzac, Treize tome x i i i , preface pp. 7,8. 10. I b i d . , pp.7,8.  Nebraska:Bison,  -9V a u t r i n was a former c o n v i c t who headed "Les Grands Fanandels" and "La Societe des D i x - M i l l e " , " .. .un monde a. part dans l e monde, h o s t i l e au monde, n'en reconnaissant aucune l o i , ne se soumettant qu'a. l a conscience de sa n e c e s s i t e et n ' o b i i s s a n t qu'a un deVouement." 11. Balzac was l e a r n i n g to synthesize the Romantic i n f l u e n c e w i t h h i s own c r e a t i v i t y : the l i t e r a r y precedent had been set and one t h i r d of V a u t r i n s make-up determined. 1  The r e s t of  him was to be drawn from Balzac's c r e a t i v e genius and the r e a l world where Balzac could e x e r c i s e h i s t a l e n t s i n a barel y explored area: the underworld. 11. I b i d . , pp.7,8.  -10CHAPTER ONE:  I I . VAUTRIN *S HISTORICAL ROOTS  Continuing our p u r s u i t of Vautrin's sources, we now t u r n t o prominent people whose l i v e s or physique bear a strong resemblance to V a u t r i n ' s .  Two contemporaries of  Balzac's who could have served as models f o r h i s character are Francois Vidocq and P i e r r e Coignard.  Both were con-  v i c t e d v i l l a i n s who turned t h e i r knowledge of the c r i m i n a l world to the b e n e f i t of s o c i e t y and rose to fame i n the police force.  A comparison of l i f e patterns and p h y s i c a l  appearances w i t h Vautrin's w i l l show how much Balzac owed his  i n s p i r a t i o n t o them. The conclusive proof that Balzac d i d use r e a l  life  models i s i n a l e t t e r t o Hippolyte C a s t i l l e , dated October 11, 1846.  In i t , Balzac a l l u d e d to h i s c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n : " Ce personnage q u i repre'sente l a c o r r u p t i o n , le bagne, l e mal s o c i a l dans, toute son horreur, n'a r i e n de gigantesque. Je puis vous assurer que l e module e x i s t e , q u ' i l est d'une epouvantable grandeur e t q u ' i l a trouve' sa place dans l e monde de notre temps. Cet homme e t a i t tout ce qu'e'tait V a u t r i n , moins l a passion que j e l u i a i pretee. I I e t a i t l e g£nie du mal, u t i l i s e ' d ' a i l l e u r s . " 12.  From Francois Vidocq then, the e l u s i v e and by now legendary c o n v i c t who became p o l i c e commissioner and who published h i s Me'moires i n 1827, Balzac borrowed the b o d i l y t r a i t s and some occurences.. 12. A l b e r t P r i o u l t , Balzac avant 'La Comedie humaine' ( P a r i s : C o u r v i l l e , 1936),p.365.  -11Vidocq In h i s l i f e p a t t e r n , f o r example, one can detect manyr t s i m i l a r i t i e s to V a u t r i n s . 1  i n 1775.  Vidocq was born at Arras  He s t o l e money from h i s f a t h e r and ran away from  home, hoping to go to America.  He took to the roads i n  France, however, and f o r s e v e r a l years t r a v e l l e d w i t h a c i r c u s He j o i n e d , then deserted, the French army.  He was condemned  by army courts f o r forgery and sent to Brest on an eighteenyear sentence of forced labour.  Stubborn and p h y s i c a l l y s t r o n  he escaped threeeor f m i r times, only to be recaptured and put i n t o i r o n s .  In 1809, he o f f e r e d h i s s e r v i c e s to Baron  Pasquier i n the p o l i c e department.  Vidocq f e l t that as he  had personal knowledge of the c r i m i n a l way of l i f e , he could' be i n v a l u a b l e i n t r a c k i n g down c r i m i n a l s .  The p r o p o s i t i o n  appealed to Pasquier who recognized genius i n Vidocq, and he agreed to the p l a n , on c o n d i t i o n that Vidocq spend two years t r a i n i n g w i t h the force to teach the jargon of the c r i m i n a l world. surete'.  Vidocq became c h i e f of the ' p o l i c e de l a  In 1827-1828 he helped produce h i s Mjmoires. A b r i e f o u t l i n e of Vautrin's l i f e and c r i m i n a l record  f o l l o w s , p a r a l l e l i n g that of Vidocq and l a t e r , Coignard. V a u t r i n was born Jacques C o l l i n i n 1779, and was brought up by h i s aunt, Jacqueline C o l l i n , who had him educated by the Fathers of the Oratory.  A f t e r h i s education was  completed,  she put him to work i n a bank, where he was charged w i t h a  -12forgery committed by h i s f r i e n d , F r a n c h e s s i n i . He escaped from p r i s o n while serving the f i v e - y e a r term and went to P a r i s as V a u t r i n .  From 1815-1820, he stayed at the  'Pension  Vauquer', where he was a r r e s t e d by B i b i - L u p i n .  Sent to  Rochefort, V a u t r i n l o s t l i t t l e time i n making h i s escape and went to Spain.  In Spain, he k i l l e d the Abbe Carlos  Herrera, took on h i s i d e n t i t y , and returned to P a r i s .  Later,  i n h i s r o l e of V a u t r i n , he became a s s i s t a n t to B i b i - L u p i n , and i n 1830, he succeeded him as the head of the ' p o l i c e de l a surest!', a p o s i t i o n which he held u n t i l  1845.  As V/idocq expressed the romantic theme of the r e b e l and the c r i m i n a l r e - e s t a b l i s h e d i n the world of s o c i e t y , so does V a u t r i n represent the same theme i n Balzac's world of the 'Comedie humaine . Both are men who began i n o p p o s i t i o n to 8  the law and worked against i t and who f i n a l l y became reconc i l e d w i t h the law and worked f o r i t , using t h e i r experiences to help law conquer the very malevolence which they once personified.  However, though the Me'moires of Vidocq caused  somewhat of a sensation i n 1828-1829, he was not the only conv i c t who had become p o l i c e c h i e f .  P i e r r e Coignard's adven-  tures were q u i t e s i m i l a r , as we s h a l l see. Coignard Coignard, born i n Toulon  i n 1785, was imprisoned f o r  robbery and, a f t e r h i s escape, went to Spain where he took the name of Count Saint-Helene.  A f t e r f i g h t i n g i n the Span-  -13i s h army, he j o i n e d the French army i n which he rose to Major. He was decorated w i t h the Cross of Saint Louis and the Legion of Honour i n 1815, and was named commander of the P a r i s p o l ice.  He was betrayed by one of h i s former p r i s o n mates and  sent to p r i s o n i n Toulon where he died.  Resemblances i n  l i f e patterns are very strong between the two Frenchmen and V a u t r i n .  I t i s p o s s i b l e to recognize t h e i r common bod-  i l y t r a i t s that incorporate and develop some of the prominent features of Vautrin's l i t e r a r y predecessors.  The  eyes,  the b u i l d and the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s i n p a r t i c u l a r are as evident i n R a d c l i f f e ' s heroes as they are i n Vidocq, Coignard and V a u t r i n . Le'on Gozlan described Vidocq as he appeared i n 1844 as: " ...un homme a f i g u r e bovine, large au f r o n t , b e s t i a l e du bas, s o l i d e , i n q u i e t a n t , d'un c a r a c t e r e etrange. cheveux a u t r e f o i s rouges assurement, aujourd h u i g r i s d'hiver. Ensemble complexe, r u s t i q u e et s u b t i l , d'une expression peu f a c i l e a d e f i n i r , d'un mot, d'un t r a i t , du premier coup; et calme cependant, mais calme a l a mani&re redoutable des sphinx egyptiens." 13. ;  Gozlan continued h i s d e s c r i p t i o n by drawing a t t e n t i o n to Vidocq's massive chest and h i s hand- f e l i n e , yet a u t h o r i t a t i v e , preventing Gozlan from g e t t i n g a f u l l view of h i s face.  He seemed to express an a i r of power and a strong w i l l  i n h i s whole being. S i m i l a r i t i e s spring to mind a t the i n t r o d u c t i o n of V a u t r i n i n Le P&re G o r i o t where Balzac presents him to us 13. J u l e s Bertaut, 'Le P£re G o r i o t ' de Balzac (Paris:SF'ELT, 1947), p.132.  -14as a man of about f o r t y years o l d , w i t h : 11  . . . l e s gpaules l a r g e s , l e buste b i e n developpe, l e s muscles apparentes, des mains 'epaisses, carres et fortement marquees aux phalanges par des bouquets de p o i l s touffus et d'un roux ardent. Sa f i g u r e , r a y l e par des r i d e s pre'mature'es, off r a i t des signes de duret^ q u i de'mentaient ses mani^res souples et l i a n t e s . " 14.  The most s t r i k i n g feature of V a u t r i n are h i s eyes.  He gave  a f e e l i n g of r e s o l u t i o n and imparted an unesy sensation i n a glance that seemed to,penetrate the inner being of whomsoever he beheld.  He was not to be crossed, no matter how  pleasant or f r i e n d l y he appeared to be.  He made i t h i s  business to know the a f f a i r s of everyone around him, although no one knew anything about h i s personal l i f e .  Thus i t has  been noted that p h y s i c a l s i m i l a r i t i e s i n both l i t e r a r y and h i s h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e s abound, as do p a r a l l e l s i n l i f e p a t t e r n s . Nevertheless, n e i t h e r Vidocq nor Coignard, during t h e i r l i f e as outlaws, considered themselves r e b e l s against soci e t y as a whole and, even l e s s were they the grandiose i n c a r n a t i o n of r e v o l t that V a u t r i n was i n ' La Come^die humaine. In p a r t , these dimensions of V a u t r i n probably stem from Diderots's Le Neveu de Rameau, a work read and admired by Balzac, i n which a bohemian s t a t e s : " Dans l a nature, toutes l e s esp&ces se devorent, toutes l e s c o n d i t i o n s se deVorent dans l a socie'te'."15. 14. Honore de Balzac, Le P£re G o r i o t (Paris:Garnier-Flammarion,1966), p.36. (Henceforth, unless otherwise i n d i c a t e d , t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l be used and i d e n t i f i e d as G o r i o t . ) 15. P i e r r e C i t r o n , G o r i o t , preface,p.16.  -15V a u t r i n voices the same sentiment by drawing a p a r a l l e l between P a r i s and a v i r g i n f o r e s t i n which savages f i g h t  one  another; he declares that only strength matters i n s o c i e t y , that m o r a l i t y i s a f a l s e f r o n t , and wealth r u l e s supreme: " S i j e r e u s s i s , personne ne me demandera: 'Qui e s - t u ? Je* s e r a i Monsieur Q u a t r e - m i l l i o n s . " 1  Gonelusion This chapter reveals the s u r p r i s i n g number of element brought together i n the c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n .  From h i s roman-  t i c youth, Balzac r e t a i n e d a p r e d i l e c t i o n for poetic heroes, f o r the exceptional men  presaged by S c h i l l e r and Byron.  He  combined these influences w i t h a f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h the underworld and an a b i l i t y to record what he witnessed around him. The dominating t r a i t s of the r e s u l t a n t f i g u r e , V a u t r i n , are examined i n the f o l l o w i n g chapters.  Some underline  Balzac's  debt to h i s predecessors and to h i s era, and some i l l u s t a t e Vautrin's power to lead Balzac's pen by a powerful persona l i t y a l l h i s own.  He i s , above a l l , " ! ' i n c a r n a t i o n de cet  i n s t i n c t de puissance,""^* and he acts as a powerful force u n i f y i n g the Comldie humaine.  16. G o r i o t , p.112. 17. MuiTeT Ferguson, La Volonte' dans 'La Comedie humaine' ( P a r i Georges C o u e v i l l e , 1935),p.159.  -16CHAPTER TWO: MYSTERY AND POWER  Introduction V a u t r i n s mysterious and powerful impact on the read1  er,  the means Balzac used toaeheive t h i s , and h i s techniques  to heighten Vautrin's mystery and power are w e l l worthy of analysis.  Vautrin's physiognomy i s a l s o discussed i n r e f -  erence to these two c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s .  F i n a l l y , the appro-  priateness of the frequent s a t a n i c e p i t h e t s and a d j e c t i v e s a p p l i e d to V a u t r i n are explored as w e l l as t h e i r sources i n Vautrin,s mysterious and powerful character. Mysterious V a u t r i n In Balzac's l i t e r a r y scheme, most characters have a dominant t r a i t , a p a r t i c u l a r mania around which i s woven a f a i r l y simple background to set o f f and sometimes exaggerate the t r a i t .  Vautrin's complex nature a r i s e s from the wealth  of subordinate elements which are placed around himu:to j u s t i f y and support h i s governing passions.  To support an ambition-  d r i v e n r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t s o c i e t y then, V a u t r i n c o n s c i o u s l y develops c e r t a i n f a c e t s of h i s character.  Among these i s a  sense of mystery and power. As w i t h other aspects of Vautrin's p e r s o n a l i t y , those showing him as a mysterious and powerful man can, f o r the most p a r t , be traced back through Balzac's own work and  -17p e r s o n a l i t y to t h e i r sources i n l i t e r a t u r e and i n l i f e .  Hence  V a u t r i n appears as an immense amalgamation of ideas and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s gathered here and there throughout a l l of Balzac's experience of l i t e r a t u r e and of the world.  How-  ever, before examining these i n f l u e n c e s more c l o s e l y , l e t us b r i e f l y place V a u t r i n i n the perspective of the Cornedie humaine, to attempt to e x p l a i n Balzac's preoccupation w i t h t h i s ind i v i d u a 1 . Balzac's o f f i c i a l reason f o r w r i t i n g about a crimi n a l was that he was o b l i g e d to i n order to present a com.pl p l e t e f r e s c o of h i s s o c i e t y .  Nevertheless, there appear  to be more profound reasons.  Gozlan, f o r instance, t e l l s us  that Balzac had a great t a s t e f o r the mysterious  workings  of the p o l i c e and the underworld: " Cette re've'lation f a i t e par Balzac d'un eVenement q u i a r r i v a en p a r t i e , v i n t m'apprendre, pour,la premiere f o i s , confirmee depuis par tant d'autres, son gout e x c e s s i f pour l e s ne'gociations secretes, pour l e s expeditions conduites sinueusement dans 1'ombre, l e s p r o j e t s arranges de l o i n , e n f i n , ses penchants dominants d ' a r t i s t e pour l e s a f f a i r e s de p o l i c e et l e s machinations de tout genre qu'emploie c e l l e - c i , par ne^cessite, dans l e but de parvenir a l a decouverte des voleurs et des c r i m i n e l s . " 1 , V a u t r i n not only completes a t o t a l panorama of French soci e t y i n the nineteenth century, but he a l s o i s an extension 1. Leon Gozlan, Balzac intime ( P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e ilustre'e, n.d.), p.278.  -18of a p a r t i c u l a r preoccupation of the author.  Hence the im-  portance of the p o s i t i o n he assumes w i t h i n the c r i m i n a l world of La Come'die humaine.  Balzac's great i n t e r e s t i n the psych-  ology of outlaws i s r e a l i z e d i n t h i s chapter through a study of mystery and power, that d i s t i n g u i s h e s the underworld  elite.  Balzac's excessive t a s t e f o r the secret machinations i n h i s characters has been noted not only by L6on Gozlan and Ferna'nd Roux, but C u r t i u s too has a m p l i f i e d t h i s "pre'occu2 p a t i o n du mystere"  *, both i n connection w i t h Balzac's per-  sonal l i f e and i n h i s w o r k s s u r  V a u t r i n lui-meme, une  des plus puissantes creations, de Balzac, pese un sombre mystere, q u i d i r i g e toute sa v i e . " * Some of the methods by which Balzac c u l t i v a t e d and accentuated the mysterious side of h i s protagonist can be traced back to the e a r l y Romantic w r i t e r s and include use of r e s t r a i n t i n d i s c u s s i n g h i s characters and t h e i r motivations, ambiguity of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , and f i n a l l y , concealment of p e r t i n e n t i n f o r m a t i o n , The authors of the l a t e eighteenth century o f t e n comp l e t e l y v e i l e d , or allowed only b r i e f glimpses, of the antecedents or e a r l y l i f e of t h e i r heroes.  Consequently,  the . . . J . r  motives behind t h e i r a c t i o n s and thoughts were l e f t unexplained and aroused one's c u r i o s i t y .  Speaking of the p e r i o d of  the Empire and of the R e s t o r a t i o n , Barde*che says: 2. Ernst C u r t i u s , Balzac ( P a r i s : Grasset, 1933),p. 32. 3. I b i d . , p. 32.  -1911  Les romans de c e t t e £poque sont des romans sans e x p o s i t i o n , reposant sur un Element , d i n t r i g u e e s s e n t i e l : l e mystere du passe." * 1  And so w i t h Balzac's p r e s e n t a t i o n of V a u t r i n , about whom we are t o l d but l i t t l e , and that i n snatches only.  This res-  t r a i n t was c a l c u l a t e d to heighten c e r t a i n aspects of the character and to keep the reader's imagination f e r t i l e  and  a l i v e w i t h conjectures. C o l l i n ' s parents and e a r l y l i f e are almost completely obscure, yet we know, by the end of the V a u t r i n t r i l o g y , that he was an i l l e g i t i m e t e c h i l d .  As we have seen, C o l l i n ' s  h i s t o r y i s not given a l l i n a piece, but i s doled out over the whole length of h i s adventures.  That he too, l i k e the  Romantic heroes, had an unfortunate experience i n love, i s hinted i n Le P l r e G o r i o t , while d e t a i l s concerning h i s edu c a t i o n and upbringing are reserved f o r the f i n a l of Splendeuyss et miseres des courtisanes^  chapters  This r e s t r a i n t i n  exposing the l i f e of the protagonist i s one of the  primary  techniques the author u s e s s i n b u i l d i n g a sense of mystery. Ambiguity i s another key f a c t o r i n Balzaei'is character exposure.  I t i s s p r i n k l e d l i b e r a l l y throughout w i t h d e t a i l s  being conveyed by inference alone.  Balzac's use of the un-  named and un-namable element suspended j u s t out of the reader's s i g h t i s a l s o extensive i n the V a u t r i n c y c l e , and  serves  much the same purpose of enhancing the " t a l l , dark, stranger" 4. Maurice Bardeche, Balzac romancier ( P a r i s : P l o n , 1967),p.36.  -20mystique. Balzac reserves the R a d c l i f f i a n technique of simply not g i v i n g information f o r use i n connection w i t h Vautrin's criminal a c t i v i t i e s .  These l a t t e r are a l l u d e d to w i t h alarm-  ing abundance, crimes both committed and p r o j e c t e d , 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 f u r t h e r heightens h i s mysteriousness. F i n a l l y , there i s of course the mystery over which, i n C u r t i u s ' words, Balzac has thrown the splendid mantle of art."'*  Though the unforewarned reader may m i s i n t e r p r e t or  simply miss t h i s part of V a u t r i n , a t t e n t i v e reading of the three novels shows Balzac's mantle to be of "diaphanous s t u f f " . Further d i s c u s s i o n of Vautrin's ambiguous amorous leanings i s reserved f o r Chapter Four, though i t i s p e r t i n e n t to c i t e t h i s as an example of r e s t r a i n t and inference which increases our i n t e r e s t i n the character. An atmosphere of mystery i s thus produced by omitting the k i n d of formal biography  found i n La Cousine Bette. Exam-  i n a t i o n of the complete c y c l e however, shows that the  person-  a l h i s t o r y i s adequate, that i t i s of a nature to j u s t i f y s a t i s f a c t o r i l y Vautrin's a c t i o n s , and that Balzac succeeds 5. See C u r t i u s , p.  159.  -21i n combining r e a l i s m w i t h mystery i n h i s handling of Vautrin's biography. Having examined from an e x t e r n a l point of view some of the author's more s u c c e s s f u l means of character development i n the V a u t r i n t r i l o g y , l e t us t u r n t o consider  features  w i t h i n V a u t r i n that a l s o convey a sense of mystery and power. What i n t e r a c t i o n can be discerned between the two elements? Is V a u t r i n a more a r r e s t i n g f i g u r e as a r e s u l t of t h i s comb i n a t i o n ? In order t o answer these questions, we must d i s cover how conscious V a u t r i n was of h i s a b i l i t y t o convey mystery and powet'.rand how he used h i s mastery of them t o i n t i m i d a t e and confuse h i s c h a l l e n g e r s . Powerful V a u t r i n I t i s Paul Verni&re who names the d e s i r e f o r power as Vautrin's c h i e f motivating f o r c e .  Though Balzac nowhere  r e f e r s t o h i s character as a ge*nie i n t h i s sense, V a u t r i n does say i n I l l u s i o n s perdues that he l i k e s power f o r power's sake^'and i t i s true that power forms an e s s e n t i a l t o o l or means i n h i s d e s i r e f o r revenge.  Verni£re says:  " Comme Maxime de T r a i l l e s , comme Madame de Maufrigneuse, comme du T i l l e t , comme Rastignac, d e f i a n t l a s o c i i t e des hauteurs du P^re-Lachaise, V a u t r i n e s t , avant t o u t , pour Balzac, 1'incarnation de c e t i n s t i n c t de puissance q u i donne l a c l e f e t q u i forme 6. Honors' de Balzac, I l l u s i o n s perdues (Paris:Gamier-Flammarion, 1966),p.598. (Henceforth, t h i s e d i t ion w i l l be quoted.)  -22z  1'unite re'elle de La Comedie humaine. N'allons pas c r o i r e que Balzac^a pour seule i n t e n t i o n de peindre l a s o c i e t e de son temps. Cette s o c i e t e , i l veut avant tout l a dominer, comme romancier, comme dandy, comme grand homme. Et jamais i l n'a mieux su l a f u s t i g e r que par sa creation de Vautrin."7  V a u t r i n then dominates the c r i m i n a l world and the s o c i e t y i n which he moves through h i s power, f o r b e t t e r , f o r worse, f o r good and f o r e v i l . So P r i o u l t says that V a u t r i n : " ...presente ce t r a i t b i e n c a r a c t e r i s t i q u e des h l r o s b a l z a c i e n s q u ' i l organise non seulement sa propre existence, mais encore c e l l e de son entourage, en vue des f i n s q u ' i l p o u r s u i t ; i l impose aux autres sa volonte rudement l o r s q u ' i l s'agit de bandits dont i l est l e maitre incont e s t e , avec plus de d i s c r e t i o n , mais non moins de t e n a c i t e , pour ce q u i est de Lucien de Rubempre" pu de Esther van Gobseck."8 C l e a r l y , V a u t r i n i s f u l l y conscious-of h i s i n t i m i d a t i n g powers and i s ready t o use them t o manipulate others. In p a r t i c u l a r , he has a subtle genius f o r persuasion born of personal magnetism,  By drawing people to him, or even by  r e p u l s i n g them, h i s superior power i s evident.(For example,see i n f r a p.77,  the d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s f i r s t meeting w i t h Lucien.)  His a b i l i t y to do so i s a d i r e c t r e s u l t of h i s knowledge of two prominent s c i e n t i s t s of h i s era: Lavater and Mesmer. Among s c i e n t i f i c w r i t e r s who i n f l u e n c e d Balzac's ideas were Nacquart, G a l l and Lavater.  Doctor Nacquart's  7. Paul Verniere, "Balzac et l a genese de V a u t r i n . " Revue d ' h i s t o i r e litte'raire, (janvier-mars,1948),pp.67-68. 8. P r i o u l t , p. 102.  -23T r a i t e sur l a nouvelle p h y s i o l o g i e du cerveau ou E x p o s i t i o n de l a d o c t r i n e du docteur G a l l sur l e s s t r u c t u r e s et l e s fonctions de cet organe appeared i n 1808.  Nacquart claimed  that " l a p h y s i o l o g i e du cerveau est l a v r a i e philosophie de l'homme." man  * He reduced psychology to physiology and  placed  i n the hands of a s c i e n t i f i c determinism by t r y i n g to  give the s o c i a l sciences the same p r e c i s i o n that characteri z e s the p h y s i c a l sciences.  The o r i g i n a l t h e s i s of Doctor  G a l l , upon which Nacquart expounded was phrenology, a science which claimed that the b r a i n could be mapped i n t o zones, and that the formation of the s k u l l would i n d i c a t e the character and the temperament of the i n d i v i d u a l .  Doctor Lavater's  c o n t r i b u t i o n to the science of the time was physiognomy,, a new  science whose b a s i c p r i n c i p l e was  that a person's charac-  t e r and even h i s d e s t i y , could be read from h i s p h y s i c a l features.  Balzac's f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h these ' f i n d i n g s ' i s  evident i n the c a r e f u l p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n s that he gives of h i s characters, as he introduces them, i n an attempt to r e v e a l t h e i r psychology.  Along w i t h the importance of the  environment of the i n d i v i d u a l , the idea that man  i s psycho-  l o g i c a l l y what he i s p h y s i c a l l y — - t h a t i s , man)s inner s e l f i s revealed by hi?s e x t e r i o r appearance-- forms one of the p r i n c i p a l doctrines i n the formation of La Comgciie humaine. 9. Bernard Guyon, La Pensee p o l i t i q u e et s o c i a l e de Balzac ( P a r i s : Colin,1967),p.42. ~  -24-  Vautrin's use of Lavater's t h e o r i e s i s witnessed i n words such as the f o l l o w i n g : "Vous £tes f i l l e , vous r e s t e r e z f i l l e , vous mourrez f i l l e ; car malgre l e s seduisantes theories des eleveurs des b£tes, on ne peut devenir i c i - b a s que ce qu'on est...1'homme aux bosses a r a i s o n . Vous avez l a bosse de 1*amour."10 At l e a s t a part of C o l l i n ' s s k i l l i n handling people then, h i s a b i l i t y to "read thoughts", and h i s r a p i d evalua t i o n of character must be a t t r i b u t e d to h i s knowledge of Lavater.  V a u t r i n has as thorough an acquaintance w i t h Lava-  ter as Balzac does himself and he makes ample use of t h i s knowledge each time he assumes a new d i s g u i s e .  One of the  main problems i n studying the character, i n f a c t , i s the d i s t i n c t i o n which must be made between C o l l i n as V a u t r i n , C o l l i n as Herrera and C o l l i n as C o l l i n .  I t should be remem-  bered that Vautrin's r a t h e r vulgar conduct i n the Vauquer boarding house, along w i t h h i s wig and dyed sideburns, i s part of h i s d i s g u i s e as a r e t i r e d businessman.  Collin is  revealed only through the conversations w i t h Rastignac,  and  even then, he remains concealed behind t h i s d i s g u i s e , since he never t e l l s the young Rastignac who  he i s . He i s glimpsed  again at the moment of h i s unmasking, when he becomes enraged and as suddenly, seizes c o n t r o l of himself again.  One  would l i k e to t h i n k that the o f f e r to send the boarders 10. Honor£ de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes(Par Gamier-Flammarion,1968),p.112. (Henceforth, t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l be quoted as Splendeurs.)  -25some f i g s from Provence i s part of C o l l i n rather than V a u t r i n , but one cannot be sure.  The same s k i l l f u l use of physio-  gnomy and the a r t of d i s g u i s e i s apparent w i t h the i n t r o duction of Carlos Herrera, a t the end of I l l u s i o n s perdues. As long as he wishes, C o l l i n ressembles a p r i e s t .  Yet, i t  i s not long before Lucien f e e l s that something i s amiss because of the c o n t r a s t between C a r l o s ' bearing, and the ideas which he expresses.  This should not. be i n t e r p r e t e d as  a l a c k of s k i l l on C o l l i n ' s p a r t , but r a t h e r as a s i g n that he t h i n k s he has found the instrument he wants i n the person of Lucien de Rubemprl.  I f t h i s i s so, there i s no f u r t h e r  need to mention the d i s g u i s e , and i t i s , i n f a c t , q u i c k l y discarded as f a r as Lucien i s concerned.  And so we see t h a t ,  whereas Balzac, i n h i s r o l e of commentator, u s u a l l y r e s e r ves f o r himself the r i g h t to discuss the t h e o r i e s of Lavater and G a l l , i n the case of Vautrin," he shares t h i s r i g h t w i t h a character i n order to i l l u s t r a t e the source of one of Vautrin's most powerful weapons: a penetrating knowledge of human nature. C l o s e l y associated w i t h physiognomy i n Balzac's mind i s the idea of animal magnetism, as expounded by Mesmer, who enjoyed a great vogue i n Europe p r i o r to the t u r n of the century.  This was bound to appeal to Balzac's underlying  mysticism and he made such use of i t that i t might be s a i d to be one of the trade-marks of h i s strong characters. Lav-  1  -26a t e r a l s o was a proponent of the new f o r c e , and i f Balzac had not already become acquainted w i t h the phenomenon i n other l i t e r a r y works, he would have found ample d i s c u s s i o n of i t i n Lavater.  I t i s there defined as a f o r c e :  " ...que nous appelons lumiere, f l u i d e magnltique ou e l e c t r i q u e , . . . L o e i l du genie semble a v o i r des emanations q u i 'agicJCw. agissent physiquement e t imme'diatement sur d autres yeux. 11. 1  1  Curtius r i g h t l y assigns primary importance t o t h i s f a c t o r i n Balzac's mind: " Mais ce q u i 1 ' i n t e r e s s a i t par-dessus t o u t , c ' e t a i t l e 'regard magnet ique', ce 'rayon charge' d'Hme', par l e q u e l l ' e t r e q u i en est doue peut soumettre a son enti£re volonte d'autres personnes. I I n'y a presque pas un seul l i v r e de Balzac ou. ce regard ne joue un r o l e plus ou moins m y s t i r i e u x . Toutes l e s natures f o r t e s chez Balzac soumettent l e u r s adversaires par ce regard q u i deeharge l e f l u i d e de l e u r v o l o n t l . " 12. So here then i s the second secret inner source of Vautrin's power over others.  A b r i e f look a t some of Balzac's e a r l i e r  works w i l l i n d i c a t e how important t h i s feature was i n the development of h i s strong c h a r a c t e r s . Balzac's work, from Stenie i n 1819-1820, t o Splendeurs e t miseres des courtisanes i n 1847, i s shot w i t h magnetism.  through 13  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 l e s hommes par l a physionomie ( P a r i s :Nile Ed.,Augmented par M.Moreau, 1806-1809) ,vi,93.. 12. C u r t i u s , op_cit.,p.62. 13. Honoris de Balzac, Steliie ( P a r i s :"ConctccL, 1930) ,p. 78.  -27s'echappe d ' e l l e , ce f l u i d e incomprehensible q u i part des yeux, q u i s'exhale d ' e l l e e t que t u rangeras o\i t u voudras..." The e l d e r Beringheld wore dark g l a s s e s , which should be compared t o Carlos" Herrera's double green lenses, worn t o hide his  s h i n i n g eyes.  Since there i s r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e v a r i a -  t i o n i n the way Balzac uses magnetism throughout h i s whole career, i t w i l l s u f f i c e t o give but a few e x a m p l e s , — t h i s one concerning La Femme de t r e n t e ans; " Balzac se souviendra encore de c e t aventurier/mandarin l o r s q u ' i l £crira La Femme: l e c a p i t a i n e P a r i s i e n , seul martre a bord de l ' O t h e l l o , n'est autre qu'Argow, mais h e r i t i e r des t h e o r i e s balzaciennes sur l e magne'tisme e t l'hypnose ou, du moins, d i s c i p l e de c e t abbe F a r i a q u i , d'apr^s Monsieur de Jouy, a de'fraye' quelque temps l a chronique parisienne."15 A passage i n Une Tene*breuse A f f a i r e i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g since i t shows how c l o s e l y t h i s magnetism i s l i n k e d i n Balzac's mind w i t h power, whether f o r good or e v i l : " Depuis t r o i s quarts d'heure, c e t homme a v a i t dans l e geste e t dans l e regard une autorite" despotique i r r e s i s t i b l e , puisne a l a source commune e t inconnue ou puisent leurs pouvoirs e x t r a o r d i n a i r e s et l e s grandssgeneraux sur l e champ de b a t a i l l e ou l i s enflament l e s masses, e t l e s grands orateurs q u i entralnent l e s assembles et, disons l e a u s s i , l e s grands c r i m i n e l s dans l e u r s coups audacieux! I I semble a l o r s q u ' i l s'exhale de l a t£te e t que l a parole porte une i n f l u e n c e i n v i n c i b l e que l e geste i n j e c t e l e v o u l o i r de l homme chez autrui."16 1  14. Ibid.,p.53. 15. P r i o u l t , o p c i t . , p . 3 8 0 . 16. Geoffroy Atkinson, Les I d l e s de Balzac d'apres 'La Come'die humaine(Geneve:Droz. 1949-1950).III.96.  -28B i l l y confirms the importance of t h i s phenomenon i n Balzac's work when he speaks o f : " Le regard magnetique, f a s c i n a t e u r , dont i l se c r o y a i t doue', dont i l l ' e t a i t reellement sans doute et q u ' i l a prete k beaucoup de ses personnages, particulferement a V a u t r i n . . . l e regard froidement f a s c i n a t e u r que c e r t a i n s hommes eminement magne"tiques ont l e don de lancer e t q u i , d i t - o n , calme l e s fous f u r i e u x dans l e s maisons d ' a l i ^ n e s . " 17. Indeed V a u t r i n had recourse t o t h i s c o l d , penetrating gaze on several occasions as he attempted t o calm an h y s t e r i c a l Lucien or Eugene. And so we conclude that V a u t r i n has the same physic a l powers shared by some of these e a r l i e r c r e a t i o n s of Balzac's and we sense that he knows how to use them t o c o n t r o l others.  Indeed, Bardeche says:  " Toute sa t h e o r i e de l a m a t e r i a l i t e de l a pense'e a pour fondement l e s phenomenes psychiques q u i tenaient tant de place dans l'oeuvre de 1820, e t q u i expliquent l e s a c t i o n s des t t r e s dou^s de pouvoirs exceptionnels, les s o r c i e r s , l e s possedes, l e s gens a seconde vue e t l e s demoniaques de toute esp£ce."18 V a u t r i n thus appears mysterious, s a t a n i c , w i t h d i v i n a t o r y powers and, f a c i n g h i s s t a r e , men, women and w a l l s are reduced t o shadows of t h e i r former selves.  As f a r as physio-  gnomy i s concerned, the major emphasis i s placed on h i s "regard devinateur",  on h i s "profondeur immobile d'un 18a sphinx q u i s a i t , v o i t t o u t , e t ne d i t r i e n . " 17. Andre B i l l y , La Vie de Balzac(Paris:Flammarion.1944).PP.217-218, 18. Bardeche, op cit.,p.367. 18a. G o r i o t , p. 104.  -29The Physiognomy of Vamtrin The importance of Balzac's a r t of p o r t r a i t u r e i s c l o s e l y a l l i e d t o h i s b e l i e f that e x t e r n a l features m i r r o r the inner s e l f .  B i l l y suggests that Balzac's e a r l y novels  and those which l a t e r compose La Comedie humaine, have a common t h e o r e t i c a l b a s i s : " La preoccupation d'une psychologie en physionomie."19  fondle  " La r e a l i t e l a plus I j r i v i a l e ou l a plus f o r t u i t e l u i a p p a r a i t r a toujours comme r e n t r a n t dans un systeme occulte e t r e s u l t a n t d'une mystirieuse combinaison 20 des forces q u i depassent 1 entendement commun." 1  Consequently, as w i t h a l l of Balzac's characters, i t i s important t o pay c l o s e a t t e n t i o n t o the small d e t a i l s that r e v e a l the e s s e n t i a l being. Balzac tends t o be vague i n r e l a t i o n t o h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n himself.  One has only t o , r e f e r t o the t e x t  to see that Balzac i s extremely r e s t r a i n e d i n t h i s instance, p r e f e r r i n g t o give s t r i k i n g d e t a i l s rather than r e v e a l i n g essentials,  For example, the f i r s t d e s c r i p t i o n of him i s  l i m i t e d to s c a r c e l y three l i n e s i n the P l ^ i a d e e d i t i o n . I t i s buried between the t y p i c a l lengthy d e s c r i p t i o n of Madame Vauquer and Mademoiselle Michonneau:"...un homme age d'environ quarante ans, q u i p o r t a i t une perruque n o i r e , se t e i g n a i t l e s 19. B i l l y , o p c i t . , p.63. 20. I b i d . ,p7b5~. 21 «• Bal'zacc, G o r i o t p 3 1 e  a  -30-  f a v o r i s , se d i s a i t ancien negociant, e t s ' a p p e l a i t M.Vautrin."  21  As a d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n , t h i s i s e x c e l l e n t , f o r Balzac has not merely given a l i s t of things c o n s t i t u t i n g the d i s guise and not the man.  But t h i s k i n d of b r e v i t y i s rare i n  Balzac, and, i n f a c t , does not l a s t long.  After painting a  rather d e t a i l e d p o r t r a i t of V i c t o r i n e T a i l l e f e r , and one i n l e s s d e t a i l of Rastignac, Balzac places V a u t r i n as a k i n d of t r a n s i t i o n between y o u t h f u l i d e a l i s m and c y n i c a l o l d age, seemingly because he combines elements of each i n h i s complex p e r s o n a l i t y . In h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n , Balzac landed on what could be c a l l e d a p o e t i c technique of p o r t r a i t u r e : port r a i t u r e by suggestion.rather than by p r e c i s e and numerous detail.  Fernand Roux has noted the difference.between the  d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n and the usual B a l z a c i a n d e s c r i p t i o n , without however, seeing the f u l l s i g n i f i c a n c e of the former. A f t e r d i s c u s s i n g d e t a i l i n d e s c r i p t i o n , he says: " Proce*de-t-il autrement, prenez garde! Son imagination vous emportera M e n v i t e dans l e monde des reves ou des cauchemars; e l l e vous o u v r i r a l e c i e l devant S"eraph2ta ou l e s enfers devant Vaj&trin; vous v i s i t e r e z des pays de contours vagues que l'on ne v o i t qu'en songe."22 We w i l l see however, that a double o b j e c t i v e was accomplished by the r e t i c e n c e , only one of which was to make V a u t r i n 21. Balzac, G o r i o t p.31. 22. Fernand Roux, "Balzac j u r i s c o n s u l t e e t c r i m i n a l i s t e , " Archives d a n t h r o p o l o g i c c r i m i n e l l e , ( P a r i s ; 1906),xxi,323. 1  -31-  mysterious. In Le B£re G o r i o t we are f i r s t introduced t o V a u t r i n , the p h y s i c a l f i g u r e , followed by a more general represent a t i o n of the character, going beyond the p h y s i c a l and supplementing i t ,  The ambiguity of the man i s immediately  apparent: " A l a mani&re dont i l l a n c a i t un j e t de s a l i v e , i l annoncait un sang f r o i d imperturbable q u i ne d e v a i t pas l e f a i r e r e c u l e r devant un crime pour s o r t i r d'une s i t u a t i o n Equivoque. Comme un juge seVere, son o e i l semblait a l l e r au fond de toutes l e s questions, de toutes les consciences, de tous l e s sentiments... i l s a v a i t ou d e v i n a i t e l e s a f f a i r e s de ceux q u i 1 e n t o u r a i e n t , t a n d i s que n u l ne pouvait p l n i t r e r n i ses pejise'es, n i ses occupations. Quoiqu'il eut jet£ son apparente bonhommie, sa constante complaisance e t sa gaiete comme une b a r r i e r e entre l e s autres e t l u i , souvent i l l a i s s a i t percer 1'epouvantable profondeur de son c a r a c t e r e . " 23 1  Faguet's extensibrioof t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n i s i n t e r e s t i n g because of the elements of uneasiness, d i s c o m f i t u r e and i n t r i g u e that i t reveals between the l i n e s of Balzac's p o r t r a i t : " V a u t r i n est un bandit e t c'est un homme de puissante volonte'. Mais i l importe, pour l a conduite de son roman, que l'auteur ne d i s e pas tout de s u i t e q u ' i l est un bandit. A cause de c e l a , i l l e pr£sente seulement d'abord comme un homme i i n q u i e t a n t ' . . . II est s e c r e t ; on ne s a i t r i e n de l u i , n i de ce q u ' i l f a i t , e t des personnages plus "eveilles que ceux de l a pension Vauquer en concevraient quelque ombrage; inconsciemment, du r e s t e , i l s sont tous un peu t e r r o r i s e s sinon.de s s n t i r q u ' i l s ne savent r i e n de l u i , / du mo ins de s e n t i r q u ' i l devine .. 23. G o r i o t p. 36.  sinon de s e n t i r q u ' i l s ne savent r i e n de l u i , du moins de s e n t i r q u ' i l devine tout d'eux. De p l u s , i l a un c e r t a i n regard profond e t penetrant e t une c e r t a i n e durete de physionomie quand i l ne r i t pas, q u i font contraste avec ses manieres accomodantes et q u i , *h de moins engourdis, f e r a i e n t soupconner q u ' e l l e s sont f a c t i c e s . Et e n f i n , i l est b i e n a d r o i t a dlmonter l e s s e r r u r e s . Tous ces t r a i t s c o n s t i t u e n t l e 'personnage i n q u i e t a n t , non tout k f a i t pour l e s pensionnaires, mais pour l e l e c t e u r , en l e mettant sur l a vole de soupconner l e forban, ce q u i e s t ce que veut l'auteur. En attendant, l e p o r t r a i t e s t acheve; on a d'ores e t d£ja 1'impression d'un homme e'nergique et a d r o i t , r e s o l u e t h a b i l e , maitre de l u i , autonome, sans prejuges et sans manies et q u i ne peut gu£re £tre autre chose qu'un bandit ou un p o l i c i e r . Le p o r t r a i t , f o r t sombre, trace" a grandes l i g n e s prdcises e t creuse'es, est de toute beaute." 24 1  Yet V a u t r i n , i n comparison w i t h other Balzac f i g u r e s , a c t u a l l y i s s l i g h t e d from the viewpoint of physiognomy. His few outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are w e l l remembered: the eyes; the powerful b u i l d , the strong hands t u f t e d w i t h reddish hair.  One r e c a l l s a l s o that the s i g h t of Vautrin's  unwigged head produced a t e r r i f y i n g e f f e c t i n the Vauquer boarding house and i n the Conciergerie during h i s i n t e r v i e w with Granville.  But when one t r i e s to r e c a l l d e t a i l s ex-  p l a i n i n g why the head was so h o r r i b l e to look on, one i s hard put to f i n d reasons.  The f a c t i s , that w i t h  r e s t r a i n t , Balzac d i d not give them.  admirable  Fernand Roux notes:  24. Emile Faguet, Balzac ( P a r i s : Hachette, Grands E c r i v a i n s f r a n e a i s 1913), pp. 83-WT.  -33-  11  Seul peut-e^tre de tous l e s p o r t r a i t s de La Com^die humaine,celui de V a u t r i n e s t d£pourvu d'inter§t. Les m a i n s , — c e s mains elles-m£mes q u i pour Balzac, decelent t a n t de choses!...ri'indiquent chez l e f o r c a t qu'une puissance b r u t a l e . Dans l e s quatre ou c i n q volumes ou V a u t r i n a p p a r a l t , vous chercheriez en v a i n de l u i un croquis quelque peu net. Sa p o i t r i n e velue, ses muscles gros e t c o u r t s , q u i r a p p e l l e n t ceux d'Hercule Farn&se, l a puissance de volonte q u i s'echappe de son regard, c o n s t i t u e n t des t r a i t s g^neVeux, formules presque en termes a b s t r a i t s , i n - ^ 25 s u s c e p t i b l e s de determiner une i n d i v i d u a l i t e . " (  What Roux sees as inadequacy i n d e s c r i p t i o n could very l i k e l y be the r e s u l t of Balzac's d e s i r e t o i d e n t i f y himself w i t h his creation.  He c e r t a i n l y does so i n ideas, why should he  not a l s o i n physique?  I f Balzac succeeds t o some degree i n  masking h i s own person and p e r s o n a l i t y behind V a u t r i n , he a l s o succeeds i n f u r t h e r i n g the a i r of mystery the master c r i m i n a l .  surrounding  Concluding our remarks on the myster-  ious and powerful V a u t r i n , we t u r n t o what can be considered the purpose of such endowments: using them to Satanic ends. Satanic Soul Balzac says of h i s c r e a t i o n : " ...cet homme q u i ne f u t plus un homme, mais l e type de toute une n a t i o n de'genere'e, d'un peuple sauvage e t logique, b r u t a l et souple. En un moment C o l l i n devint un po£me i n f e r n a l ou se p e i g n i r e n t tous l e s sentiments humains, moins un s e u l , c e l u i 25. Roux, p.323. 26 Goriot p 186 &  ffl  0  -34-  du r e p e n t i r . Son regard e t a i t c e l u i de 26 I'archange dlchu q u i veut toujours l a guerre." EstVve has w r i t t e n too: " La Cornedie humaine aura...les P h i l i p p e Bridau, l e s V a u t r i n , l e s Gobseck, i n c a r n a t i o n s modernes e t re*alistes de c e t t e Inergie malfaisante que Byron a v a i t symbolisle dans Lara e t dans Manfred." 27 I t i s apparent indeed t h a t V a u t r i n was the romantic endowed w i t h Byronic d e v i l t r y ,  hero,  So we come to a question  that has o f t e n been r a i s e d : i s V a u t r i n an i n c a r n a t i o n of S Satan, a h a l f - d i v i n e being who discerns where others are powerless to see?  In studying the elements of mystery and  power i n V a u t r i n s nature, i t would be inappropriate to 1  neglect those elements of demonology which Balzac a t t r i b u t e d to him, though they perhaps are of l e s s appeal today than i n a p e r i o d dominated by the mists and shadows of romanticism^ No doubt he bears many resemblances w i t h Melmoth i n Melmoth re'concilie.  Both suggest an intrusion of the supernatural  i n t o the world of drab r o u t i n e , poisoning souls w i t h c a l c u l a t e d misanthropy and denying d i s t i n c t i o n s between good and  evil. In f a c t , we count w e l l over f i f t y references t o the  D e v i l i n the three novels, i n c l u d i n g V a u t r i n being c a l l e d " d i a b l e supe'rieur".  Esther exclaims j e s t i n g l y a t f i r s t :  "Vous me f a i t e s l ' e f f e t d'un demon!", only to i n q u i r e l a t e r :  —————  7P  "Est-ce l e d i a b l e ? " Balzac does rr-t conceal h i i f . . '• 26. Goriot p. 186. 27. " Edmond Esteve, Byron e t l e romanticisme f r a n c a i s ( P a r i s : B o i v i n et Cie.,1929),p.493.  -35-  Lst-ce l e d i a b l e ? "  Z O e  Bal zac does not conceal h i s t e r r i f i e d  f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h the "archange de"chu" he has created.  The  reader i s h a r r i e d and haunted by an extensive miasma of epithets: " t e r r i b l e mentor","terrible a t h l e t e " , " t e r r i b l e pre^tre", " t e r r i b l e juge", "ge'nie de l a c o r r u p t i o n " , "genie mal","feroce  conducteur","f^roce  du  c a l c u l a t e u r " , " M a c h i a v e l du  bagne", not to mention numerous references to demonology. Not only was V a u t r i n a s p i r i t u a l i n c a r n a t i o n of Satan, but he bore him a p h y s i c a l resemblance as w e l l .  For i n -  stance, Balzac l i k e d to a t t r i b u t e a symbolic colour to the f e a t u r e s , eyes and h a i r of h i s most excessive characters. The red h a i r , colour of l i f e and f i r e , b e f i t s someone he c a l l s a "poete i n f e r n a l " .  I n d i c a t i o n s of Satan become even strong-  er as h i s a l l u s i o n s become more pointed, e s p e c i a l l y when he a s s o c i a t e s h i s r o l e w i t h that of Destiny:Je me charge du r o l e de l a Providence;" o r " V o i c i quarante ans...que nous remplacons l e D e s t i n . "  And f i n a l l y , there i s R a s t i g n a c s 1  neat d e l i n e a t i o n : "Dieu et Satan se sont entendus pour fondre Vautrin."  C e r t a i n l y these signs point to a demonic essence  of unusual proportions who  j u s t i f i e s Balzac's dictum t h a t :  "Tous l e s grands hommes sont des monstres."  His  behaviour  a l s o as an energy of l i f e , an avenging force of reason,  and  a power breaking the f e t t e r s that enchain human thought, give him the pride and strength of a n " i n f e r n a l g£nie". 28. Splendeurs pp.108,112 and f o r the f o l l o w i n g page.  -36-  This semi-demonic s o u l , combining mystery, power and Satanic overtones springs from Balzac's f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h the man motivated by passion: " P a r i s ! i l s'y rencontre des hommes a" passions.. Ces gens-la n'ont s o i f que d'une c e r t a i n e eau p r i s e a une c e r t a i n e fontaine...pour en b o i r e , i l s vendraient l e u r ame au d i a b l e . . Cette fontaine est l e j e u , l a Bourse, l a musique.. Balzac's characters are open t o these powerful  temptations,  extensions of the Archfiend on e a r t h , where l i f e , f a r from being what i t appears on the surface, conceals i t s inner substance i n the shadows of the legendary s p i r i t s of darknness.  " S ' i l importe d'etre sublime en quelque genre , c'est 30 surtout en mal." In f a c t , V a u t r i n derives the p r i d e of L u c i f e r i n being " s e u l contre l e gouvernement avec son tas 31  de tribunaux, de gendarmes, de budgets"  , and, though he  leaves the Vauquer home i n handcuffs, i s remorselessly happy to add:"et j e l e s r o u l e " .  His promise t o send the other  pensionnaires f i g s from Provence, while c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the behaviour of a f a r c e u r , leaves the f o r e t a s t e of a d i f f e r e n t and d i s q u i e t i n g promise — h i s r e t u r n .  A momentary triumph  of order cannot efface the permanence of e v i l . I l l u s i o n s perdues provides a very s p e c i f i c example of Vautrin's s a t a n i c soul i n h i s dealings w i t h Lucien. i s c l e a r l y a demonic pact underneath the r e a l i s t i c  There  events.  29. G o r i o t 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 a t the c o n c l u s i o n of the pact has as i t s counterpart i n Lucien's dealings w i t h Herrera when Lucien, a f t e r s i g n i n g the pact, suddenly f i n d s himself i n possession of a large enough" sumo.pf money to undo some of the damage he had caused a t home.  There i s a v i r t u a l r e -  v e r s a l of the customary pact w i t h the d e v i l however.  In the  usual sense, the human partner who d e l i v e r s h i s soul to the d e v i l gains the power of passing i n t o other people's u s u a l l y those younger and w e a l t h i e r than h i m s e l f .  bodies,  Vautrin  represents the genius of E v i l and Lucien makes a pact w i t h him, but i n t h i s case, i t i s the d e v i l who attempts to f i n d a new l i f e through the body of h i s v i c t i m .  V a u t r i n indeed  claims to have the power of almost complete i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Lucien, much as G o r i o t claims i t i n respect to h i s daughters.  This i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h another p e r s o n a l i t y  and the a b i l i t y t o derive happiness through  another's  pleasures i s perhaps j u s t a more r e a l i s t i c v e r s i o n of the mystic passing of one p e r s o n a l i t y i n t o the body of another such as Balzac no doubt read i n the Arabian Nights. This t r a n s u b s t a n t i a t i o n however, w i l l be l e f t t o Chapter Four. There i s a lineage of t h i s k i n d of Satanic power, or w i l l to dominate, i n Balzac's t o t a l production.  L'Hlritie're  de Birague marked the e v i l f i g u r e of the Abbe" de l a B l e t t e r i e , Le Corrupteur showed the moral d i s s o l u t u i o n of a young man, Argow l e p i r a t e produced a p l o t t i n g s o c i a l climber, La Peau de chagrin d i s c l o s e d a dejected youth u n w i t t i n g l y engaged i n  -38a Faustian pact, Ferragus presented a v e r i t a b l e r e b e l , and La F i l l e aux yeux d'or introduced a d e v i l and h i s d i s c i p l e , the Abbe de Maronis and de Marsay. Vautrin.  But none soars  like  De Marsay, the " c o r s a i r e en gants jaunes" of im-  peccable behaviour and i m p e n e t r a b i l i t y i s i n a sense Vautrin's i d e a l , what he would l i k e Rastignac and Rubempre' to become --the d i s p a s s i o n a t e , e v i l being par excellence who can appear to respect the laws and yet be a "professeur es s c e l e r a t e s s e s " . However, he remains a symbol of an i n c a r n a t i o n , an e x q u i s i t e l y handsome Dorian Gray who can w i t h impunity refuse obedience to' society. wHorhaslgiven  1  V a u t r i n , on the other hand, i s the  spirit  himself wings to swoop down upon the i n f e r n a l  throng of P a r i s but not i n t o i t , not only because he  cannot,  but because he already exercises great power there.  He i s  not the prototype of the i n d i v i d u a l who  l i v e s i n the margin  of s o c i e t y and the law, as many have described him.  Rather,  he i s outside of s o c i e t y , happy to enjoy " l a r o y a u t l que l u i donnaient l e cynisme de ses pensees, de ses a c t e s , et force d'une o r g a n i s a t i o n f a i t e a t o u t ! "  la  C u r t i u s continues:  " V a u t r i n devient done finalement pour Balzac l e type des natures dimoniaques, q u i r€sument £ouj;e's l e g forces .humaines. L'eneVgie, toutes l e s energies amasse'es et condensers dans une f i g u r e grandiose, i l f a l l a i t que Balzac r^alis'ltt dans son oeuvre ce beau spectacle; et i l crea V a u t r i n , l e reVolt^, l e surhomme, ange f a s c i n a n t du mal, V a u t r i n est 1'enfant pref^re" de son imagination 32. F e l i c i e n Marceau, Balzac et son monde E d i t i o n revue et augmented, ( P a r i s : G a l l i m a r d , l y / 0 ; , p.278. ~  -39d ' a r t i s t e et de sa volonte' de puissance, o son propre p o r t r a i t , mais esquisse par l a main de son demon." 33. Conclusion In studying the aura of mystery and power w i t h which Balzac surrounds h i s c r i m i n a l hero, we have shown that i t i s through the process of weaving together s e v e r a l e l e ments that the n o v e l i s t a r r i v e d at h i s end.  We have, i n t h i s  chapter, attempted to show how mystery and power and  awe  were created by w i t h o l d i n g c e r t a i n information i n some cases and by the use of i m p l i c a t i o n i n o t h e r s — f o r example, r e garding V a u t r i n s c r i m i n a l a c t i v i t i e s . 1  Demonology and  the  theme of the outlaw hero were both popular f i e l d s which B a l zac d i d not h e s i t a t e to e x p l o i t .  By c l e v e r l y a t t r i b u t i n g  knowledge of physiognomy and magnetism to V a u t r i n , r a t h e r than r e s e r v i n g i t f o r himself as author-commentator, Balzac gave V a u t r i n power over people and s k i l l i n handling them. F i n a l l y , we have seen how the mystery and power-loving  side  of Balzac's own nature entered i n t o the formation of h i s crimi n a l hero.  We have suggested too that i n producing mystery  through a minimal p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n of V a u t r i n , and t h rough the device of i m p l i e d c r i m i n a l i t y , Balzac a r r i v e d , perhaps u n w i t t i n g l y , a t other ends which c o n t r i b u t e l a r g e l y to the success of h i s character.  Thus,the sum of the elements  discussed h e r e i n makes up the e s s e n t i a l character background f o r the next chapter: an a n a l y s i s of V a u t r i n as a "gdnie de la revolte". 33. C u r t i u s , p.162.  -40CHAPTER THREE: SPIRIT OP REVOLT  Introduction In d i s c u s s i n g V a u t r i n as an embodiment of r e v o l t , several questions must be considered: i s V a u t r i n r e a l l y a r e f l e c t i o n of Balzac's own s o c i a l t h e o r i e s , a medium through which the author expresses h i s views, or i s Vautrin's lawl e s s behaviour j u s t i f i e d by h i s unfortunate treatment by ml society,?  Is h i s character development rounded enough to  make h i s sense of r e v o l t r e a l i s t i c ?  To answer these key  questions, we s h a l l examine some of Balzac's views of soci e t y , as expressed by himself and by characters i n h i s preceding novels.  Having e s t a b l i s h e d the relevance of h i s t h e o r i e s  to the development of V a u t r i n , we s h a l l attempt to show the reasons behind V a u t r i n ' s own indignant o u t c r i e s .  As V a u t r i n  appears well-equipped f o r r e v o l t , we s h a l l observe how he executes h i s a n t i - s o c i a l plans.  F i n a l l y , the intimate bond  between Balzac and h i s c r e a t i o n w i l l be explored while an attempt w i l l be made to convey that V a u t r i n i s not j u s t a mouth-piece but an end i n himself.  We s h a l l begin by t r a c i n g  the growth of r e b e l l i o u s prototypes of V a u t r i n i n Balzac's  _41_ work. Balzac the A n t i - S o c i a l i s t Balzac's e a r l y novels expressed c e r t a i n w e l l - d e f i n e d social principles.  Le Tartare ou l e retour de 1'exile', by  Auguste de V i e l l e r g l l , ( 1 8 2 2 ) , uses as an epigraph f o r the second chapter, a quotation from Lord R'hoone's Essa-is p h i l o sophiques , a work of which we have no f u r t h e r information, which states:"L'homme-de l a nature a des passions plus f o r t e s et surtout plus v r a i e s que 1'homme c i v i l i s e . 2  Rien n ' a l t e r e l a  j u s t e s s e de ses jugements." * Balzac's b a s i c philosophy i n his  e a r l y works puts i n t o d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n Nature and  Civil-  i z a t i o n , and he expresses a general p r o t e s t against a l l s o c i a l laws, as seen i n P h y s i o l o g i e du mariage. The "man  of nature"  has not yet learned to be a h y p o c r i t e ; he has not been corrupted by man-made laws and f a l s e s o c i e t y . La Derniere F i e , a t a l e from Balzac's J u v e n a l i a , i s a sharp and b i t t e r c r i t i c i s m of the inhumanity of man. story, Abel i s a young man who,  by some m i r a c l e , has been pre-  served from the t a i n t e d s o c i e t y around him. of the "man  of nature" who  and a n a t u r a l s i m p l i c i t y .  In t h i s  He i s an example  i s s t i l l capable of pure passion The"derniere  feV'  }  a wealthy E n g l i s h  duchess, has grown weary of the world and i t s ways, and seeks the joys of a true love away from a pretentious s o c i e t y .  This  f a i r y t a l e s a t i r i z e s the s o c i e t y of the duchess by p l a c i n g i t 2. As quoted i n Guyon,p.l61.  -42i n contrast w i t h the i d e a l and n a t u r a l world of Abel.  The  f a i r y e x p l a i n s the r u l e s of her world, showing how absurd the laws are, and how they l e a d , more o f t e n than not, to undesirable ends.  She expounds on the c r u e l t y of s o c i e t y , the l a c k  of concern f o r others and the general i n d i f f e r e n c e of mankind f o r h i s fellow-beings.  She scorns the importance attached to  such status symbols as uniforms, ribbons and badges, thereby severing d r a s t i c a l l y w i t h t r a d i t i o n a l values.  Such preference  f o r man's n a t u r a l g i f t s becomes more and more evident i n B a l zac 's w r i t i n g s . Balzac was also.lgresfcly_ i n f l u e n c e d by the expression of anarchy i n Byron's r e b e l s .  A stronger i n f l u e n c e on t h i s same  subject came from W i l l i a m Godwin.  In the preface to Annette  ou  l e c r i m i n e l , smite du V i c a i r e des Ardennes, he c a l l s Caleb W i l liams by Godwin a masterpiece.  W i l l i a m Godwin presented h i s  theories i n a work c a l l e d Enquiry concerning p o l i t i c a l  justice  and i t s i n f l u e n c e on jim.orale and happiness, and i l l u s t r a t e d them i n the novel Caleb W i l l i a m s .  Godwin expressed,the  extreme end  of i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m as i t concerns s o c i e t y and m o r a l i t y .  The  end r e s u l t of h i s philosophy was a t o t a l anarchy, the doing a\ away w i t h the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l order by an a l l - p o w e r f u l l o g i c . The i n t e l l e c t u a l search f o r t r u t h and j u s t i c e was the only basis f o r h i s system. and lead man  I n t e l l e c t u a l i s m was to conquer emotion  to the highest g o a l , theecommon good.  The d i s -  t r i b u t i o n of wealth, forms of government, standards of l i v i n g , and s o c i a l customs were to be remodelled on the p r i n c i p l e of  -43f u l l r i g h t s of e q u a l i t y and l i b e r t y f o r a l l i n a s o c i e t y founded upon reason.  In Caleb W i l l i a m s , Godwin declares a l l govern-  ment to be a necessary e v i l , which i t i s hoped one day w i l l disappear and no longer be necessary.  He sees man as h i s own  n a t u r a l enemy, the only animal that seeks the d e s t r u c t i o n of i t s own k i n d .  Caleb Williams and Falkland represent the two  types i n t o which Godwin considers s o c i e t y to be d i v i d e d - the slaves and the master.  He condemns s o c i e t y f o r being l i k e t h i s ,  and he defends the type of man who r e s i s t s i t s d i c t a t i o n s . Godwin represented  Balzac's own personal v i s i o n of  the world, and Caleb Williams provided Balzac w i t h the arguments to j u s t i f y the c r i m i n a l ' struggle against organized  soc-  i e t y . The th^'ef, who s t e a l s without a l i c e n s e , as i t were, i s i n open war against the man who s t e a l s withathe sanction of the law. Balzac i n h e r i t e d from Byron and Godwin a secret sympathy f o r anarchy w h i c h i i s t h i n l y v e i l e d throughout h i s works (and t h i s ) despite the f a c t that g e n e r a l l y he claims to support a u t h o r i t y *afui proudly states that he i s w r i t i n g : " ...a l a lueur de deux Ve'rite's e'ternelles: l a R e l i g i o n et l a Monarchie, deux ne"cessites aye l e s £y£.nements contemporains proclament, et vers l e s q u e i i e s tout eGrxvaan de bon sens d o i t ramener notre pays." 3. • Balzac's c r i t i c i s m of s o c i e t y and s o c i a l laws lead from Argow l e P i r a t e and s i m i l a r e a r l y works that g l o r i f y the r e b e l , through the Code des gens honne^tes, and P h y s i o l o g i e du mariage 3. Balzac, Oeuvres completes (Pafr-is-: 'GWfihrd, 1940), V o l . 1, x x x i  -44i n t o the novels of La Cornedie humaine. The f i n a l expression of Balzac* s scorn and condemnation of s o c i e t y reaches i t s peak i n the f i g u r e of V a u t r i n as traced through Le Pe*re G o r i o t , I l l u s i o n s perdues and Splendeurs  et miseres des coutisanes.  the p l i g h t of the i n d i v i d u a l a t the mercy of an  Pathos f o r  impersonal  s o c i a l order, and a f e e l i n g of d i s g u s t f o r that s o c i a l order which forces men  to l i v e outside the law, p r e v a i l throughout  Le P l r e G o r i o t and i n part sets the tone of Balzac's through the r e s t of La Cornedie humaine.  thoughts  We s h a l l now t u r n to  a c l o s e r examination of Balzac's s p e c i f i c thoughts on s o c i e t y and h i s sympathies w i t h a n t i - s o c i a l i s t s . Balzac evolved w i t h keen enjoyment a s o c i a l p h i l o sophy i n defence of thieves and i l l u s t r a t e s i n s e v e r a l pages of the Code a l l the provocative understanding which c h a r a c t e r i z e s any t i r a d e by V a u t r i n .  He t a l k s of t h e i r s p e c i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n  to the s o c i a l order, of the need to judge them w i t h i m p a r t i a l i t y because judges and v i c t i m s a l i k e are of no mind to do so, and of t h e i r rare a t t r i b u t e s : " ...un homme r a r e ; l a nature l ' a concu en enfant gate; e l l e a rassemble sur l u i toutes so sortes de p e r f e c t i o n s : un sang-froid imperturbable, une audace a toute ejpreuve, 1 a r t de s a i s i r 1'occasion, s i rapide et s i l e n t e , l a prestesse, l e courage, une bonne c o n s t i t u t i o n , d e s yeux percants, des mains a g i l e s , une physionomie heureuse et mobile. Tous ces avantages ne sont r i e n pour l e v o l e u r : i l s f o m e n t cependant l e somme des t a l e n t s d un Armibal, d'un C a t a l i n a , d'un Marius, d'un C l s a r . " * 4. Guyon, p.  210.  -45In a d d i t i o n to a l l t h i s , the c r i m i n a l must be a judge of charact e r , an accomplished  l i a r and able to foresee events.  He must  have a l i v e l y mind and be able to seize every a v a i l a b l e opport u n i t y and use i t to h i s advantage.  He must be an a c t o r i n a l l  c l a s s e s of s o c i e t y . Balzac's i n t e r e s t i n the c r i m i n a l and h i s admiration of him do not stop w i t h the i n d i v i d u a l c r i m i n a l but extend to the brotherhood society.  of c r i m i n a l s organized to win over  Though V a u t r i n embodies the above q u a l i t i e s , we  would do w e l l to compare him to a f e l l o w s p i r i t , Gobseck, Balzac's second greatest genie c r i m i n e l . Gobseck i s one of the p r i n c i p a l reproductions of the above category of beings, superior i n i n t e l l i g e n c e and energy, who, i n Balzac's mind, are by d e f i n i t i o n set apart from s o c i e t y . Gobseck says:"...je posslde l e monde sans f a t i g u e et l e monde n'a pas la.moindre p r i s e sur moi."^*  Bardeche points out that  t h i s sentiment i s an a d d i t i o n dating from 1836, not present i n the o r i g i n a l 1830 t e x t of Gobseck. He continues, showing some of that part of V a u t r i n which i s added to Gobseck's character: "Toute l a confession de D e r v i l l e rajoute'e dans l a rendition .^1836), e s t , en r e a l i t e , une echo de l'oeuvre recente de Balzac dans l e s Scenes de l a v i e p r i v e e : ce sont l e s t h e o r i e s de V a u t r i n , q u i , expr im§ e s 1' anne e pre'ce'dente dans L e P l r e G o r i o t , ont sugge're' \ Balzac l e s theories de Gobseck. Et 1 approfondissement^de Gobseck e s t , ^ a c e t t e date, un r e f l e t de l a c r e a t i o n de V a u t r i n . " " B a r r i e r e describes the usurer as f o l l o w s i n the same n o v e l : -  5. Bardeche, p. 288. 6. Ibid,p. 289.  -46" G o r i o t a pour l'humanite un mepris sans bornes. I l exerce par son or un pouvoir illimitl. Son existence est pour lui-meSne une perpe'tuelle £tude de tous l e s mouvements x ignobles du coeur humain, i n s p i r e s par 1'argent; i l puise dans ses observations des j o i e s analogues a e e l l e s de Satan dans son acharnement h damner les hommes. "7 .' /  His  power a r i s e s from money and h i s scorn from h i s obviously  d i s t o r t e d experience of l i f e .  In the l a t t e r sense, he can be  compared w i t h many of the embittered characters of the Comedie humaine, to the vicomtesse de Beauseant a f t e r her d i s i l l u s i o n ment i n Le P i r e G o r i o t , t o Ferragus, to Maitre Cornelius and to de Marsay,:"...sorte de g a l l r i e n des hautes c l a s s e s , dans l a nature duquel Balzac a tout m&ll: ge"nie du v i c e et genie de l a 8 science, genie de l a p o l i t i q u e et g l n i e de l amour sensuel." * 1  P a r a l l e l w i t h these more or l e s s honourable members of s o c i e t y , we f i n d ' B a l z a c expressing admiration of and sympathy f o r c r i m i n a l s , i n s o f a r as they represent v i t a l energy, a n d u f e f e r r i n g to them as"...ces grands hommes manques, que l a societe' marque d'avance au f e r chaud, en l e s appelant des mauvais s u j e t s . " ^ * Perhaps part of h i s sympathy f o r the exceptional i n d i v i d u a l who i s d i s c r i m i n a t e d agahst can be found i n a view of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n and mood. In the f i r s t h a l f of the n i n e t e e n t h century, many w r i t e r s i n c l u d i n g Balzac, were influenced by the example of Napoleon which was s t i l l f r e s h i n t h e i r minds. 11  ...the Napoleonic legend, the ceaseless ambition of the Emperor, s t i l l t r a v a i l e d i n the minds of many w r i t e r s . Beranger, Stendhal^ Balzac, Hugo, a l l revered Bonaparte, a l l dreamed or 1 l a b o r e d -c.lonp lSkmoleon''.y J i • : s  7.Pierre B a r r i e r e , Honor! de Balzac et l a t r a d i t i o n l i t t e r a i r e . ' c l a s s i q u e ( P a r i s : Hachette, iy28;,p.258. 8.ibid.,p.183. 9.Balzac, Les Marana ( P l e i a d e ) , i x , 7 9 2 .  -47labored along Napoleonic l i n e s . A whole new order of p e r s o n a l i t i e s and ideas came i n t o being a f t e r Waterloo."10. V a u t r i n i s proof of t h i s i n f l u e n c e .  Brunetiere r e f e r r e d to him  as "ce de'charnement d'energierbrutale provoque par l'exemple 11 de Napollon e t de sa prodigieuse fortune."  0  * The f a n t a s t i c  h i s t o r y of Napoleon was the most v i v i d image of the s p i r i t of V a u t r i n : the greatest demonstration of r e v o l t the world had ever seen. However, from the very i n c e p t i o n of the Restoration, when the former s o c i a l order was r e i n s t a t e d , the i n d i v i d u a l was r e s t r i c t e d to the c l a s s and p o s i t i o n i n t o which he had been born.  There was much discontentment among the young men  for they were i n s p i r e d by the h i s t o r y of Napoleon on the one hand, and r e s t r i c t e d to t h e i r i n h e r i t e d s o c i a l p o s i t i o n on the other.  V a u t r i n t e l l s Rastignac  i n Le Pe*re G o r i o t , that ihi-France  there must be a t l e a s t f i f t y thousand >young men who were attempting to make a quick fortune.  They spent a great deal of energy  and the struggle was m e r c i l e s s .  These young men were obliged  to endeavour to destroy each other l i k e "des a r a i g n l e s dans un pot", because there were not f i f t y thousand good p o s i t i o n s 12 available.  ' Even V a u t r i n was subject to these same laws of ':  the jungle i f he wished to succeed i n the renewed c l a s s consciousness. 10. E t h e l Dargan and George Weinberg, The E v o l u t i o n of Balzac's 'Comgdie humaine' (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press,1942),p.52 11. Ferdinand Brunetiere, Honor! de Balzac ( P a r i s : Calmann-Levy, 1906) p.220. 12. G o r i o t , p.110.  -48And so, Balzac used h i s a n t i - s o c i a l characters to demonstrate the i n j u s t i c e of French s o c i e t y during the t r a n s i t i o n period between p r e - r e v o l u t i o n a r y days of the a r i s t o c r a c y and the modern French s o c i e t y .  As a r e s u l t of the f r u s t a t i n g  s o c i o l o g i c a l c o n d i t i o n s , i t had become popular f o r w r i t e r s to t r e a t c r i m i n a l s , usurers, p r o s t i t u t e s and the l i k e , as enemies of an u n f a i r s o c i e t y .  As we s h a l l see, through the study of  Balzac's greatest a n t i - s o c i a l hero,Vautrin, these enemies were i d e a l i s t i c and possessed d i g n i t y .  They o f t e n spoke of the f u t i l -  i t y of honesty and the l a c k of reward f o r earnest e f f o r t and fidelity.  Balzac made heroes and heroines of them because he  regarded them as enemies of a s o c i e t y which he considered e v i l . Balzac recognized genius i n the t h i e f and he blamed s o c i e t y and an i n e x p l i c a b l e f a t e f o r having prevented the t h i e f from becoming a great man.  Some of those who are considered to  be great men are those who are i n some sense outlaws or r e b e l s to an e x i s t i n g s o c i a l order, but who  somehow were able to  reach the top and conquer the very s o c i e t y that would have been the f i r s t condemn them.  The c r i m i n a l , l i k e V a u t r i n , r e c o g n i z i n g  genius w i t h i n h i m s e l f , knows that he has the a b i l i t y to climb the s o c i a l scale but, since s o c i e t y scorns h i s poverty, he has to t u r n to crime as a quick way to become r i c h .  During t h i s t  time, he b u i l d s up a scorn f o r s o c i e t y and, as he lacks moral strength, he i s doomed to f a i l i n h i s quest f a r s o c i a l recog-  -49nition.  This c r i m i n a l element formed a r e a l part of the s o c i e t y  which Balzac attempted to p a i n t and, as such, i t gave him the opportunity to a t t a c k s o c i e t y f o r i t s own weaknesses.  For soc-  i e t y , making c r i m i n a l s by the very laws i t enacts to prevent them, causes an i n e v i t a b l e c l a s s struggle between the "have" and the "have-not" elements i n a m a t e r i a l i s t i c system. V a u t r i n the Anarchist Vautrin's character formation points up poverty, unhappiness and m u l t i p l e disadvantages  i n h i s youth,  coupled  w i t h i n s i g h t and an ambition which no s e t of circumstances restrict.  could  Though subject to a l l the i r r e g u l a r i t i e s of the aver-  age human being, he d i s p l a y e d remarkable c o n t r o l over himself adn others, s i m u l a t i n g the man devoid of v i c i s s i t u d e s . His most b a s i c personal motivation was probably the f r u s t r a t i o n he encountered i n s o c i e t y .  By the r u l e s of the game,  V a u t r i n could not r e a l i z e h i s own ambitions because he had been born w i t h severe disadvantages.  Later, he could not hope to  advance himself to a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i o n because of the roughness of h i s manner, h i s l a c k of formal education and h i s u n s u i t ed p h y s i c a l appearance.  A l s o , he was hindered by a c r i m i n a l  record acquired e a r l y i n l i f e . days of the Napoleonic  As we have noted, the g l o r i o u s  era when a man l i k e V a u t r i n might have  held some s i g n i f i c a n t rank i n the Emperor's army, or might have made h i s way to fame and fortune regardless of h i s lowly b i r t h , were no more.  The Restoration, ggvernment of the 1830's attempt-  -50ed to r e t u r n s o c i e t y t o pre-Napoleonic c o n d i t i o n s . Vautrin's r e a c t i o n to f i n d i n g himself d i s c r i m i n a t e d against i n so many ways, was t o t u r n on s o c i e t y and condemn i t f o r i t s narrow-minded'^prejuddtces?. '.After convincing  himself  that he was above l i f e i n s o c i e t y , h i s aim was t o gain s o c i a l power by s o c i e t y ' s own means - wealth and p r e s t i g e .  The i n t e r -  mediary of a s o c i a l l y acceptable protege' through whom he could gain v i c a r i o u s enjoyment of a l l the pleasures denied him persona l l y was h i s v e h i c l e .  V a u t r i n d e s i r e d t o take revenge on soc-  i e t y by f o r c i n g someoneeelse i n t o a s u c c e s s f u l p o s i t i o n despite the status quo of s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n .  To these ends, he r e -  c r u i t e d Eugene de Rastignac and Lucien de Rubempre.  As t h e i r  demonic preceptor, V a u t r i n teaches them that s o c i e t y has gradu a l l y usurped, through i t s a l a w s t r u c t u r e , so many r i g h t s over the i n d i v i d u a l , that a strong freedom-loving i n d i v i d u a l f i n d s he i s forced t o f i g h t i t on terms outside s o c i e t y ' s law. " I I 13 n'y a plus de l o i s , i l n'y a que des moeurs." By h i s d r e a d f u l presence then, V a u t r i n r e g i s t e r s a protfest- against an oppressive  society.  Part of h i s p r o t e s t  i s derived from h i s ancestor, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: " C o l l i n i c i present est un homme moins l£che que l e s autres e t q u i proteste contre l e s profondes deceptions de l ' ^ t a t s o c i a l , comme d i t Jean-Jacques Rousseau, dont j e me g l o r i f i e d'etre l'£leve."14. 13. G o r i o t , p.115. 14. I b i d . p.187. t  -51Above a l l , he i s a r e b e l ; when a r r e s t e d , h i s f i r s t r e a c t i o n i s to i n s u l t the p o l i c e as minions of an unjust system/ 11  Nous avons moins d'infamie sur l'epaule que vous n'en avez dans l e coeur, membres flasques d'une s o c i e t e gangrenie...Je suis seul contre l e gouvernement avec son tas de tribunaux, de gendarmes, de budgets et je l e s r o u l e . " 15.  He wants to " f o u e t t e r l a haute socie'ti", own p e t t i n e s s . though.  " convince i t of i t s  This r e b e l l i o n i s n ' t based on mere a n a r c h y  I f he f e e l s b i t t e r n e s s towards s o c i e t y , i t i s because  he i s convinced that i t i s born of cowardice and based on s t u p i d i t y , on mediocre v i r t u e s , The struggle of the superior man i n s o c i e t y i s mainly against narrow-mindedness and mediocrity.  V a u t r i n t e l l s Rastignac that one must make one's  way p e r s i s t e n t l y i n one d i r e c t i o n without being swayed by the many harassing d i f f i c u l t i e s imposed by t h bigoted world. Though he does not blame people f o r being as they are, one must nevertheless struggle against envy, m e d i o c r i t y , calumny and every l i v i n g being. V a u t r i n helps to i l l u s t r a t e one of Balzac's conceptions' of s o c i e t y .  According to V a u t r i n , the i n d i v i d u a l i s  faced w i t h a major d e c i s i o n which he must make a t some p o i n t in his l i f e .  He must e i t h e r submit himself to societyyarid choose  what V a u t r i n c a l l s "stupide obeissance" to the r u l e s of the "bourbier", or refuse to cooperate and adopt a f o r c e f u l a t t i 15.Ibid., p.186. 16. IBMf,', j p. 37.  -52tude of r e v o l t .  I t i s impossible to mix the two and remain  honest w i t h oneself.  With the former, one accepts a u t h o r i t y ;  w i t h the l a t t e r , one obeys none. lies i n revolt i t s e l f .  One's personal a u t h o r i t y  V a u t r i n says of h i m s e l f :  "Apres a v o i r examine l e s choses d ' i c i - b a s , | a i vu q u ' i l n'y a v a i t que deux p a r t i e s a prendre: ou une stupide oblissance ou ^ l a r e v o l t e . " J e n ' o b l i s a r i e n , est-ce c l a i r ? " He reveals h i s d i s t a s t e f o r those surrounding him i n passages such as the f o l l o w i n g : " S i V a u t r i n mlprise tous ces gens-la,ce n'est pas parce q u ' i l s se sont a l i e n l s , c c'est parce q u ' i l s sont incapables de se f i x e r un but I c l a t a n t , q u ' i l s agissent en sotsget se comportent en aveugles."18. " . . . i l y a de l a bassesse a ne pas oser, a ne pas v o u l o i r , a se s a t i s f a i r e de j o i e s mediocres, a se contenter de p l a i s i r s v u l g a i r e s . I l faut £tre a l a hauteur de ses ambitions, q u e l l e s q u ' e l l e s s o i e n t . 'Tout ou r i e n , v o i l a ma devise."19. I f one chooses r e v o l t , then one goes i n t o the f r a y against s o c i a l convention.  According to V a u t r i n , t h i s i s the only hon-  ourable d e c i s i o n to make.  Once t h i s d e c i s i o n has been made,  f i r m a n t i - s o c i a l a c t i o n should begin immediately.  As f o r  V a u t r i n , he i s w e l l equipped f o r r e v o l t and f e e l s able to command t h i s debased world "et d ' i m i t e r l a Providence q u i nous tue a t o r t et a t r a v e r s . " Even without h i s s e l f assurance and b i t t e r t r u t h s , V a u t r i n makes a profoundly d i s t u r b i n g impression.  For a l l h i s  17. G o r i o t , p.107. 18. Andre Allemand, Unife et s t r u c t u r e de l ' u n i v e r s b a l z a c i e n ( P a r i s : Plon,1965),p.l48: 19. G o r i o t , p.133.  -53indomitable manner, h i s philosophy may be subconsciously the outcome of a disabused, sadly i r o n i c awareness: "L e x p l o i t a t i o n supreme et d^sespe'ree d'une humanite qu'on a u r a i t voulu mais que r i e n ne peut f a i r e m e i l l e u r e . I I faut r e l i r e avec s o i n 1 ' i n d o c t r i n a t i o n de Rastignac ou de2Q Rubempre. P h i l i n t e a u r a i t l e mtme ton." 1  "Je consid^re l e s a c t i o n s comme des moyens, et ne v o i s que l e but! "21. To be a w i l y l i o n that k i l l s and i s not k i l l e d , t r i c k s and i s not t r i c k e d , leaves behind conscience and heart, wears a mask to deceive men arid e x p l o i t women, and that can, as at Lacedaemon, " s a i s i r sa fortune sans £tre vu, pour me'riter l a couronne," t h i s i s the brand of Machiavellism needed t o succeed. The crown of success i s obtained i n one of two ways: " i l faut entrer dans c e t t e masse d'hommes comme un boulet de canon, ou s'y g l i s s e r comme une peste."22. Vautrin's way i s the l a t t e r , to produce the e f f e c t of the former. For man i n general, V a u t r i n f e e l s no compassion: "Qu^est-ce un homme pour moi? Ca! f i t - i l , en f a i s a n t claquer l'ongle de son pouce sous une de ses dents."23. He d i d however, f e e l s t r o n g l y f o r h i s f r i e n d s as i n d i v i d u a l s . V a u t r i n was a f o r c e f u l p e r s o n a l i t y .  Persons of t h i s k i n d are  noted f o r strength i n f r i e n d s h i p s as w e l l as i n enmity.  Vautrin  believed i t i s b e t t e r to be frank i n these matters than to use pretense and subterfuge: 20. G a b r i e l Teuler, Du Cftte* de Balzac ( P a r i s : 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 q u i me font du bien ou dont l e coeur p a r l e au mien. A ceux-la tout est permis. l i s peuvent me donner des coups de pied dans l e s os ou l e s jambes sans que j e l e u r d i s e : Prends garde! Mais, nom dfune pipe! Je s u i s me'chant comme l e d i a b l e avec ceux q u i me tracassent ou qui ne me reviennent pas." 24. Ambition was a l s o a guiding s t a r i n Vautrin's scheme. He b e l i e v e d ambition to be a rare t h i n g , given t o few. ambitious man i s superior to others, he f e l t . determined, and has enormous value.  The  He i s strong,  V a u t r i n b e l i e v e d that i t  i s tiresome always t o want something and never t o be s a t i s f i e d . As f o r h i s own ambition, he d c l a r e d : " ( j ' a ^ l e sang f i e v r e u x 25  des l i o n s e t un a p p e t i t a f a i r e v i n g t s o t t i s e s par j o u r . " What he expounds t o Rastignac i n the garden: " P a r v e n i r ! parvenir A tout p r i x . . . I l l n ' y a pas de p r i n c i p e s , i l n'y a que des eVInements; i l n'y a pas de l o i s , i l n'y a que des c i r c o n s t a n c e s ; e t 1'homme superieur "epouse les evenements e t l e s circonstances pour l e s conduire..."26. i s elaborated i n h i s sermon to Rubempre on the highway: "Ne voyez dans l e s hommes, e t surtout dans l e s femmes, que des instruments; mais ne l e u r l a i s s e z pas v o i r . Adorez comme Dieu meme c e l u i q u i , p l a c l plus haut que vous, peut vous £tre ^ u t i l e , e t ne l e q u i t t e z pas q u ' i l n ' a i t p a y e t r e s cher votre s e r v i l i t e " , soyez e n f i n apre comme le J u i f e t bas comme l u i : f a i t e s pour l a puissance tout ce q u ' i l f a i t pour 1'argent. Mais a u s s i , n'ayez pas plus de souci de 1'homme tombe que s ' i l n'avait jamais e x i s t e . Savez-vous pourquoi vous devez vous conduire ainsi?...Vous voulez A  24.  Ibid.,p.106.  25. TbTcL ,p.329. 26. WH.,pp. 114-115.  -55dominer l e monde, n'est-ce pas? i l faut commencer par o b i i r au monde et l e b i e n e'tudier.. .Or, l e monde, l a socie'td, l e s hommes p r i s dans l e u r ensemble, sont f a t a l i s t e s : i l s adorent 1 eve'nement... Aujourd' h u i . . . l e succes est l a r a i s o n supreme de toutes l e s a c t i o n s , q u e l l e s q u ' e l l e s s o i e n t . Le f a i t n'est done plus r i e n en lui-m^me, i l est tout e n t i e r dans l'ide'e que l e s autres s'en forment... Ayez de beaux dehors! cachez l'envers de votre v i e , et presentez un e n d r o i t tr&s b r i l l a n t . . . Les grands commettent presque autant de la^chete's que l e s miserables; mais i l s l e s commettent dans 1'ombre et font parade de leur v e r t u s : i l s r e s t e n t grands. Les p e t i t s deploient l e u r s vertus dans l ombre, i l s exposent l e u r s miseres au grand j o u r : i l s sont mejprise's... Que devez-vous done mettre dans c e t t e b e l l e t&te? ... Uniquement que v o i c i : Se donner un but e'elatant et cacher ses moyens d ' a r r i v e r , tout en cachant sa marche,..Soyez homme, soyez chasseur, mettezvous a l ' a f f u t , embusquez-vous dans l e monde p a r i s i e n , attendez une p r o i e et un hasard, ne menagez n i votre personne, n i ce qu'on appelle l a dignit£; car nous ob^issons tous a quelque chose, a un v i c e , it une n e c e s s i t ^ ; mais observez l a l o i supreme! l e secret."27. 1  1  One e i t h e r succeeds by an "e'clat de ge'nie" or by the s k i l l of corruption.  One must enter the human masses l i k e a'cannon-  b a l l or s l i p i n l i k e the plague.  "L'honnete' ne s e r t a rien."28.  Vautrin's p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r e a t i s e as expounded to Rastignac gives us opportunity to see how Balzac might have conceived r e v o l t i n i t s darkest and s t e a l t h i e s t form.  The  of  author's  f r u s t r a t i o n and d i s l i k e of c e r t a i n s o c i a l elements are revealed h e r e i n .  V a u t r i n seems to echo some of Balzac's  fulminations against P a r i s , a mud  own  p i t of which he says, w i t h  heavy irony:"Ceux q u i s'y c r o t t e n t en v b i t u r e sont d'honnetes gens, ceux q u i s'y c r o t t e n t a pied sont des f r i p o n s . " 27. Balzac, I l l u s i o n s perdues pp. 591-596. 28. Goriot,p.111. 29. Ibid.,p.62.  -56jE£ t h i s i s t r u e , then the only law i s f o r c e , the law of the j u n g l e , where I l l i n o i s , Hurons or Mohicans know that the supreme r u l e i s t o be a b l e r  and stronger than the r e s t .  In the f o l l o w i n g chapter a more d e t a i l e d examination of V a u t r i n s l i a i s o n s w i t h extensions of himself w i l l take p l a c e . 1  In the meantime, l e t us conclude by summarizing the intimate bond between authoE and c r e a t i o n as evidenced i n t h i s  chap-  ter. Balzac and V a u t r i n I t appears t o be s e l f - e v i d e n t that any w r i t e r can best depict those i n d i v i d u a l s i n t o whose character he has the c l e a r e s t i n s i g h t .  One's understanding goes f u r t h e r  when one i s on f a m i l i a r ground and one understands b e t t e r the person whose ideas resemble one's own; " I I n'y a p o i n t de roman sans une c e r t a i n e modestie du romancier, sans un c e r t a i n Iffacement, sans une c e r t a i n e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n du romancier avec son personnage. Cette i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , l e romancier *a these en est incapable. Tandis que, chez B a l z a c , e l l e est constante. La these est v o l o n t a i r e . Chez B a l z a c , se mele au f l u x cre'ateur exactement comme les r&ves, l e s souvenirs, l e s n o s t a l g i e s dont tous l e s romanciers n o u r i s s e n t l e u r s personnages. Je ne c r o i s pas au romancier catholique n i d ' a i l l e u r s , au romancier commu n i s t e . En ce sens que j'imagine mal un romancier v e r i t a b l e se disant:"js v a i s e c r i r e un;roman c a t h o l i q u e ou communiste," s i c e t t e f o i , c e t t e d o c t r i n e sont pour l u i ce p a i n des anges dont i l se n o u r r i t chaque l o u r , i l ne pourra pas f a i r e que son roman n a i t pas une c e r t a i n e couleur. A i n s i de l a conception  -57du monde chez Balzac. s'est f a i t c h a i r . " 30  E l l e est en l u i ,  elle  I f t h i s i s t r u e , the v i v i d n e s s of Balzac's a n t i - s o c i a l character i s then the r e s u l t of h i s understanding  of V a u t r i n  and of Vautrin's p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y . Lacking great wealth and noble b i r t h , Balzac could never hope to a t t a i n a high rank i n a r i s t o c r a t i c c i r c l e s . Moreover, he was corpulent, t a l k e d too much i n a loud voice and had the mannerisms of a bourgeois of peasant o r i g i n . I t i s probable that at times Balzac entertained thoughts of r e v o l t that he h e a l t h i l y channeled i n t o h i s l i t e r a t u r e ,  lb.  Thus, i n a sense, V a u t r i n , along w i t h Hulot, Gobseck, Bridau, Maxime de T r a i l l e s and others, served as a form of r e l e a s e to Balzac's own f e e l i n g s of r e v o l t .  Along w i t h Samuel Rogers,  we too can perhaps "see projected i n him(Vautrin) h i s c r e a t 31 or's suppressed r e v o l t against s o c i e t y . " However, our i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Vautrin's r o l e i n the Come'die humaine would be incomplete i f we saw  him  merely as a mouthpiece f o r Balzac's p o l i t i c a l and  social  ideas — e v e n though he performs t h i s f u n c t i o n q u i t e o f t e n . He i s u n l i k e the d e v i l i n S o u i l ^ ' s Memoires du diable(18361838), who end.  i s "not an end i n himself; he i s a means to an  He i s l i t t l e more than a l i t e r a r y device, a v e h i c l e  f o r the s o c i a l s a t i r e w i t h which f o u r - f i f t h s of the book i s 30. Marceau, op cit.,pp.242-244. 31. Balzac and the Novel (Madison:University of Wisconsin lL9Ml,  p. 11/.  Press,^  -58taken up."  32  'Vautrin i s an end i n h i m s e l f , as w e l l as being  the v e h i c l e f o r some of Balzac's more r a d i c a l ideas on soci e t y and i s therefore a f u l l e r and more r i c h l y developed character.  He has h i s own l i f e and h i s t o r y .  V a u t r i n the  Anti-Hero  The genius of Balzac manifests i t s e l f i n the  life-  l i k e p o r t r a y a l of h i s characters and i n the h e r o i c defiance which they a t times show s o c i e t y .  An u n f o r g e t t a b l e example  of t h i s defiance i s the e x t r a o r d i n a r y gesture of Rastignac's shaking h i s f i s t a t the c i t y of P a r i s , which reminds us of the n o s t a l g i c confession which Balzac made t o V i c t o r R a t i e r , J u l y 21, 1830: " Oh! mener une v i e de mohican! c o u r i r sur l e s air a v e n t u r i e r s , l e s v i e s d'opposition!..." To be sure, Balzac does enjoy m o r a l i z i n g and making p o s i t i v e d e c l a r a t i o n s of p r i n c i p l e s as, f o r example, we can see i n t h i s passage from the Avant-Propos of La Come'die humaine: " L'homme n'est n i bon n i merchant, i l na'lrt avec des i n s t i n c t s e t des a p t i t u d e s ; l a socie't£, l o i n de l a depraver, comme l ' a p pre*tendu Jean-Jacques Rousseau, l e perfectionne le rend m e i l l e u r ; mais l'inte're t developpe a l o r s €normement ses penchants mauvais. '34 v  But can't we perhaps sense the n o v e l i s t s d e l i g h t a t having 32. Harold March, F r / d e r i c Souilg(New Haven:Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, l>9p^l)i,75pp76 175^176^ •. 33. P r i o u l t , pp.376-377. 34. Balzac, Avant-Propos t o La Comedie humaine, i n Oeuvrgs completes (Paris:Conard,1912), VoU-,xxx. ; 0  v  !  -59-  created i n V a u t r i n "un homme moins lache que l e s a u t r e s , e t qui proteste contre l e s profondes deceptions du c o n t r a t 35 social?"  And doesn't t h i s d e l i g h t of the c r e a t o r o v e r r i d e  mere moral considerations? V a u t r i n was taken from romantic antecedents and c a r e f u l l y developed by Balzac.  As a c r e a t i o n of fantasy  springing from the Gothic n o v e l , the romantic r e b e l , and the h e r o - v i l l a i n , V a u t r i n matured by means of Balzac's observations and experiences i n t o a r e a l i s t i c character; however, Balzac intended t h i s great c r e a t i o n t o be even more than t h a t .  He wanted him t o be a symbol of the s o c i a l cor-  r u p t i o n of the age. What b e t t e r way t o convince h i s readers of the deplorable s t a t e than by c r e a t i n g a character w i t h whom they could sympathize and whose r e v o l t takes on h e r o i c proportions ? At the very l e a s t , V a u t r i n served as an o u t l e t f o r many of Balzac's more r a d i c a l ideas on p o l i t i c s , s o c i e t y and morals.  Since V a u t r i n was c l e a r l y and repeatedly  labelled  "bad" by h i s c r e a t o r , Balzac probably f e l t safe i n g i v i n g vent through him to many of h i s own pent-up emotions.  Guyon  i n d i c a t e s that Balzac p r a c t i s e d "condemning" h i s immoral characters as e a r l y as Le Corrupteur where, i n a footnote, he seems t o warn h i s readers against pernicious ideas put f o r t h by the " v i c i e u x Edouard". 35j Bardeche, o p . c i t . , p . 338.  Guyon adds:  -60-  " Mais i l e s t piquant de comparer c e t t e note aux prefaces-plaidoyers que l e romancier r ^ d i g e r a plus t a r d , en reponse a 1'accusation "d'immoralite", l a n c l e contre son oeuvre. Dans l e s deux cas, i l use des^me*mes arguments, dans l e s deux cas sa s i n c e r i t e nous p a r a l t t r e s suspecte. I I n'approuvera l e s a c t i o n s du f o r c a t V a u t r i n , mais i l l e s admire en a r a r t i s t e et M philosophie qu'expriment ses h£ros s'apparente s i Itrangement a l a sienne propre, l e s discours q u ' i l place dans l e u r bouche ont un accent de c o n v i c t i o n s i passionne'e que l e moins qu'on puisse d i r e e s t q u ' i l s expriment une des t e n t a t i o n s majeures de son e s p r i t . " 36. Balzac f e l t himself to be above the ordinary run of men because of h i s genius and he f e l t superior people were exempt from the ordinary system of laws and moral conduct,  whereas, t h i s manifested i t s e l f i n Balzac's own l i f e ,  c h i e f l y i n h i s evasion of duty i n the National Guard, (and his  imprisonment!), V a u t r i n was free to overlook any and a l l  laws and customs and to speak w i t h f i r e of the i n j u s t i c e s of  society. Balzac a t t r i b u t e d many crimes to h i s hero i n order-.:  to heighten the f e e l i n g of mystery and power surrounding him.  In doing t h i s he accomplished a double purpose f o r  he a l s o made i t easy f o r the reader to sympathize w i t h Vau£ trin.  This may properly be considered a part of Balzac's  l i t e r a r y craftsmanship i n p o r t r a y i n g the moral side of Vautrin's character.  Though V a u t r i n speaks much of crime  and much i s h i n t e d about h i s c r i m i n a l a c t i v i t i e s , Balzac  -61purposely gives very l i t t l e s p e c i f i c information about them. His comments on V a u t r i n vary according t o the f e e l i n g he wishes t o produce a t a given moment and i t seems t o matter l i t t l e that the comments are d i a m e t r i c a l l y  opposed.  Vautrin  "s'e'tait i n t e r d i t de jamais commettre un a s s a s i n a t par l u i irieme."  " But i n another s i t u a t i o n he i s a man "qui t u a i t 38  comme un o u v r i e r b o i t . "  In the l i g h t of such c o n t r a d i c -  t i o n , one must r e s o r t to an a c t u a l count and e v a l u a t i o n of the c o n v i c t ' s crimes.  V a u t r i n was innocent of the forgery  for whigh he was imprisoned o r i g i n a l l y .  He i n s t i g a t e d  T a i l l e f e r ' s death i n Le P^re Goriot,but through such remote means that the reader i s s c a r c e l y offended, e s p e c i a l l y  since  i t seems t o be r i g h t i n g a wrong done t o the sympathetic young heroine. too.  Balzac's system of e x p i a t i o n i s a t work here  O r i g i n a l l y named Mauricey, the robber and murderer i n  L'Auberge rouge was renamed T a i l l e f e r and became the f a t h e r of V i c t o r i n e .  In Balzacss mind, the death of T a i l l e f e r  j u n i o r , i s j u s t i f i e d by the f a c t that h i s father's wealth was  ill-gotten.  The son, furthermore, never appears i n the  novel and i s unknown to,the reader. concerns the r e a l Carlos Herrera.  Vautrin's next crime But Balzac nowhere says  e x p l i c i t l y that V a u t r i n k i l l e d him and the whole a f f a i r has the f l a v o u r of the mandarin epicode i n G o r i o t .  The read-  er i s w i l l i n g t o s a c r i f i c e an unknown personnage f o r the pleasure o f seeing V a u t r i n succeed i n h i s manoeuvre.  He i s  d i r e c t l y responsible f o r the death of Contenson, whom he 3 7, Bal'zacf S.p lendeur sfcp,. I'7j6qt ens on was t h r =•-.;..-,r:t -. .-. - '. 38. I b i d . , p.329.  -62toppled o f f a roof.  But Contenson was threatening our hero's  w e l l - b e i n g and was furthermore a spy and a stool-pigeon -an a l t o g e t h e r unsavoury character whose death i s not l y to weigh on one;s conscience.  like-  He i n s t i g a t e s Peyrade's  death, but Peyrade too represents "the enemy" and therefore i s r i g h t l y done i n .  The spy's character i s revealed and  h i s daughter's f a t e prepared f o r and  somehow,ironically  j u s t i f i e d when Peyrade curses Baron Nucingen:" Sacre* baron! t u sauras de quel bois j e me chauffe, en trouvant un matin t a f i l l e deshonoree...Mais a i m e - t - i l sa f i l l e ? " As f o r Lydie Peyrade, who  "ressemblait a ces anges  plus mystiques que re'els," Guyon's words i n connection w i t h the f a t e of Auguste de Malincourt a t the hands of the Treize might, w i t h only s l i g h t a l t e r a t i o n , be a p p l i e d to her case: " ...mais ce jeune I t o u r d i nous est i n d i f f e r e n t . La v e r i t a b l e int£r£t du re^cit est a i l l e u r s : dans l a c r i s e grave q u i d e l a t e au s e i n d'un manage jusque-la parfaitement heureux."40 V a u t r i n w r i t e s Esther's w i l l a f t e r her s u i c i d e . But t h i s i s done i n L u c i e n s i n t e r e s t and V a u t r i n has someone e l s e 1  do the a c t u a l forgery. This i s the complete record of Vautrin's reported crimes, spread out over three novels of which two are exc e p t i o n a l l y long.  Through t h i s s k i l l f u l t r i c k e r y , as w e l l  as through a curious e f f e c t of j u x t a p o s i t i o n w e l l formulated 39. Balzac, Splendeurs p.192. 40. Guyon, p.560.  -63-  by Le Breton, Balzac succeeds i n maintaining,(not  dimin-  u i s h i n g ) the favourable impression he wants V a u t r i n to leave. Le Breton says of the c o n v i c t hero, 11  I I repr^sente l a c o r r u p t i o n effronte'e, c e l l e q u i s avoue, en face de l a u t r e , c e l l e q u i se cache; et t e l est l e roman de Balzac qu'en e f f e t V a u t r i n l e revolt!*, V a u t r i n l e bandit, semble l e personnage sympathique au m i l i e u de tant de bourgeois ou de mondains corrompus. I I joue franc j e u . " 41 1  So we see by a c a r e f u l j u x t a p o s i t i o n of values, and by p l a y i n g down h i s crimes, V a u t r i n s dramatic stand i n the 1  face of oppression wins our admiration.  In Goriot f o r ex-  ample, even when the horror of Vautrin's crimes was r e v e a l ed, most of the convives of the Maison Vauquer sympathized w i t h him.  Madame Vauquer h e r s e l f had become attached to  V a u t r i n to the extent t h a t , a f t e r h i s a r r e s t , she forced the two persons who had betrayed him, to leave her boarding house. They had aided i n c a r r y i n g out s o c i a l " j u s t i c e " , yet n e a r l y a l l those who knew V a u t r i n and the c o n d i t i o n s under which he had been a r r e s t e d would have p r e f e r r e d to see punished h i s betrayers.  However, not everyone condones Vautrin's r e v o l t ;  Brunetiere says of Balzac t h a t : "dans son oeuvre, l e crime ou l e v i c e ne sont pas assez souvent punis, n i l a v e r t u suffisament re"compensee." Nevertheless, despite Brunetiere's view, the roman41. Andre Le Breton, Balzac, 1'homme et 1'oeuvre(Paris:Boivin 42. Brunetilre,, W. 2*2(J-2*21. P  -64-  t i c idea of the superior i n d i v i d u a l s t r u g g l i n g alone against s o c i e t y i s w e l l represented by V a u t r i n .  When the odds are  great, but one i s strong and lucky enough t o win, i s i t not inspiring?  The "lone-wolf" concept appeals to the human  mind. The a n t i - s o c i a l characters i n Balzac's novels were . a c u t e l y aware of the d i s t r e s s f u l s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s . I t appeared r i d i c u l o u s t o them t o accept t h i s harsh f a t e .  With-  out s u f f i c i e n t c a p i t a l to launch themselves i n t o an honest career, and considering i t a b s o l u t e l y necessary to succeed, they found the means to acquire wealth i n the only way a v a i l a b l e t o them.  Their crimes were o f t e n great but some-  times they were of such impressive boMriess that they i n s p i r e d admiration and awe.  The shrewd i n d i v i d u a l who, w i t h  questionable and r u t h l e s s t a c t i c s , amasses a large fortune, i s o f t e n admired grudgingly.  People give way under the  impact of the force of genius.  They hate i t and t r y to con-  demn i t because i t i s s e l f i s h but i n time, i f i t p e r s i s t s , they are o b l i g e d t o recognize i t .  They worship i t because  they have not been able to deny or destroy i t . q u i t e as acceptable as success.  Nothing i s  Not only the success of,  Vautrin's r e v o l t , but a l s o something b a s i c to human nature can help us d e f i n e h i s a t t r a c t i o n . a t i o n from Splendeurs  As we see i n t h i s quot-  et miseres des courtisanes , t h i s u n i -  v e r s a l a t t r a c t i o n can be w e l l described i n terms which evoke  -65Baudelaire, Balzac's contemporary and admirer: "C'est l a plante veneneuse aux r i c h e s couleurs q u i f a s c i n e 1'enfant dans l e s b o i s .  C'est l a poesie du m a l . " ^  Conclusion On many l e v e l s of s o c i e t y i n La Comedie humaine one sees characters  i n a state of r e v o l t .  I t would be easy t o  name other examples of r e v o l t i n the Comedie humaine, but as Le Breton has w r i t t e n , " V a u t r i n i s h i s masterpiece and h i s greatest i n c a r n a t i o n or p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of r e v o l t . " ^ Although he can c o n t r o l i t , C o l l i n cannot rub out love from h i s l i f e .  To be sure, where t h e r e i i s love,  there  i s n a t u r a l weakness, and the f a s c i n a t i n g enigma of the char* a c t e r l i e s i n the paradox that V a u t r i n , the indomitable s p i r i t (of r e v o l t ) , cannot e x i s t f u l l y without the human f r a i l t y of C o l l i n .  He forms a part o f Balzac's ggand system  of dynamics and magnetics where everything r e s p i r a t i o n , a t t r a c t i o n and r e p u l s i o n .  i s a s p i r a t i o n and  The f o l l o w i n g chaps  t e r i l l u s t r a t e s the d u a l i t y of t h i s love fierce w i t h i n V a u t r i n that brings about h i s u l t i m a t e downfall. his motivating  The neglect of  f o r c e , the loosening of h i s i r o n w i l l and the  weakening of h i s power over h i s pawn, a l l c o n t r i b u t e t o the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of a supposedly i n f a l l i b l e  43. TSpl-endeursl :p-; • 500. p -C0. 44. Le Breton, p.246. c  anarchist.  -66CHAPTER FOUR: PATERNAL OR HOMOSEXUAL?  Introduction Given h i s mastery over others and h i s determination and i n t e l l i g e n c e , why does V a u t r i n f a i l i n h i s r e v o l t ? The c o n t r o l l e d emotions, the f l a w l e s s d i s g u i s e s , the untraceable past deeds, a l l these elements of h i s a r s e n a l and more are f i n a l l y n e u t r a l i z e d w i t h d i s a s t r o u s r e s u l t s .  In t h i s  chapter, we s h a l l i n v e s t i g a t e Vautrin's need f o r love and the v u l n e r a b i l i t y of h i s p a r t i c u l a r amorous d e s i r e s . haps i n view of t h i s chink i n h i s otherwise  Per-  impenetrable  armour, we s h a l l f i n d that h i s u l t i m a t e downfall i s inescapable.  To seek the causes of Vautrin's human f r a i l t y ,  we s h a l l begin w i t h a look a t Balzac's views on women and powerful men and then study Vautrin's need f o r love and the choices before him.  The conclusion of t h i s chapter w i l l  / analyse Vautrin's breakdown, i t s causes and e f f e c t s . Warnings by Balzac Exemplified by V a u t r i n Balzac held some strong views on the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of mixing business w i t h pleasure i f one was t r u l y ambitious.  Power i s d e s i r e d by many, y e t few o b t a i n i t . The  reason, i n Balzac's view i s that the energies i t demands are o f t e n d i v e r t e d to the opposite sex.  He who d e s i r e s  power must n e c e s s a r i l y r i d himself of women.  Balzac ob-  -67served that the l u s t f o r power was f r e q u e n t l y d i s s i p a t e d by love's capriciousness, He^noticgd that the s t r a i g h t and upward m o b i l i t y of power was c o n s t a n t l y warped by the periodi c i n v a s i o n of d e s i r e . theory. love.  V a u t r i n served to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s th  In Vautrin's l i f e there i s no place f o r female This i s the secret of h i s t i t a n i c power and, as we  s h a l l see, the entrance of love i n t o h i s l i f e w i l l be the cause of h i s downfall. V a u t r i n has only contempt f o r the weak ones who a l l o w t h e i r ambitions  t o be thwarted by love, who forgo  power f o r the favours of a woman: " Les v o i l a done, ces gens q u i de'eident de nos destine'es e t de c e l l e s de nos peuples!... Un soupir pouss€ a t r a v e r s par une feme l i e l e u r retourne 1 ' i n t e l l i g e n c e comme un gant! I l s perdent l a t£te pour une o e i l l a d e ! Une jupe mise un peu plus haut, un peu plus bas, et i l s courent par tout P a r i s , au desespoir. Les f a n t a i s i e s d'une femme re'agissent sur tout l'6feat. Oh! combien de force n'acqui e r t pas un homme quand i l e s t s o u s t r a i t comme moi "a c e t t e tyrannie d'enfant, a ces probites renversees par l a passion, a. ces mechane'ete's candides, a ces ruses de sauvage! La femme, avec son genie de bourreau, ses t t a l e n t s pour l a t o r t u r e , e s t , e t sera touj o u r s l a per.te de 1'homme."1 Thus the anti-feminism that Balzac p e r s o n n i f i e d i n V a u t r i n had a double s i g n i f i c a n c e . F i r s t l y , i t was a r e a c t i o n against the e c s t a t i c c u l t of the period for women, .arida3sec?* 1. g'plendeu£s;lp^d&2-9.'S p„S29.  -68-  ondly, i t expressed the b a s i c formula that r u l e d the world of Balzac:  he who d e s i r e s power w i t h a l l h i s being must  f i r s t renounce love.  But can t h i s d r a s t i c r e s o l u t i o n be  sustained by man? Would i t not destroy h i s very being? " L'homme a l ' h o r r e u r de l a s o l i t u d e . . . l a premiere pense'e de l'homme, q u ' i l s o i t lejpreux ou format, imfitme ou ma lade, est d a v o i r un complice de sa destined. A s a t i s f a i r e ce sentiment, q u i est l a v i e m£me, i l emploie toutes ses f o r c e s , toute sa puissance, l a verve de sa v i e Sans ce d d s i r souverain, Satan a u r a i t - i l pu trouver ses compagnons?"2 1  V a u t r i n recognizes that not even he can escape t h i s law. Knowing V a u t r i n s b i a s against entanglements w i t h 1  women, l e t us t u r n to an obvious a l t e r n a t i v e : homosexual love.  I t would have been very d i f f i c u l t f o r Balzac to  portray homosexuality f r a n k l y and openly.  E a r l y nineteenth  century standards of t a s t e d i d not a l l o w too v i v i d a port r a y a l of s e x u a l i t y i n general and were even more p r u d i s h where sexual a b e r r a t i o n s were concerned.  Balzac therefore  makes no o v e r l y e x p l i c i t p o r t r a y a l of homosexuality and he was c a r e f u l to a s s i g n whatever abnormality e x i s t e d to a con v i c t , n o t only because of the c o n v i c t s s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n outside the bounds of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , but a l s o because of the p o s s i b l e p e r v e r s i o n f o s t e r e d by the nature of l i f e w i t h i n the p r i s o n w a l l s .  -69-  There are h i n t s or a l l u s i o n s to the taboo i n Ferragus, S a r r a s i n e , Une passion dans l e d e s e r t , i n the strange r e l a t i o n s h i p between Paquita Valdes and Euphemia P o r r a b e r r i l i n La F i l l e aux yeux d'or and i n the fond f r i e n d s h i p between L i s b e t h and Madame Marneffe i n La Cousine Bette. Howra ever, i n two instances that V a u t r i n himself suggests, there i s another p o s s i b l e source of t h i s aspect of h i s character. Those two instances are recorded below. In Le P£re G o r i o t , when V a u t r i n i s t r y i n g t o persuade Rastignac t o marry V i c t o r i n e T a i l l e f e r , he exclaims: " Eh bien! pour moi q u i a i b i e n c r e u s l l a v i e , i l n ' e x i s t e qu'un seul sentiment r e e l , une amitie' d'homme a homme. P i e r r e e t J a f f i e r , v o i L a ma passion. Je s a i s Venise sauvee par  coeur."3  And as Carlos Herrera i n I l l u s i o n s perdues, when he f i r s t meets Lucien de Rubempre, V a u t r i n asks him: "EEnfant.. .as-tu medite l a Venise sauvde d' d'Otway? As-tu compris c e t t e a m i t i l pro#o fonde d'homme a homme, q u i l i e P i e r r e \ J a f f i e r , q u i f a i t pour eux d'une femme une b a g a t e l l e e t q u i change entre eux tous l e s termes sociaux?V 4 -  Venise sauvee t o which V a u t r i n r e f e r s i s the 1682 drama Veni c e Preserved or a P l o t Discovered by Thomas Otway based on La Conjuration des Espagnols contre Venise,(1618), by St-R€al. Venice Preserved i s the story of J a f f i e r , a Venetian noble3., §'orioiit^ ig«or35.55:» p ".55, 4. BMusd:o,nsI£^i^i:.- ~, 5C1 0  t  ,  :  ?  ;  0  -70-  man who has j o i n e d a p l o t against the Senate.  Priuli, a  senator and J a f f i e r ' s f a t h e r - i n - l a w , has refused to help J a f f i e r i n the time of need.  P i e r r e , a s o l d i e r , has per-  suaded J a f f i e r to avenge himself against the Senate of Venice, which has c o n t r o l of the c i t y and i s using i t s power f o r i t s own ends.  As proof of h i s l o y a l t y to the con-  s p i r a c y , J a f f i e r l e f t B e l v i d e r a , h i s w i f e , w i t h Renault, the leader of the group. f l e d to J a f f i e r who  I n s u l t e d by Renault, B e l v i d e r a  confided the p l o t to her.  She begged h  him to save her father* s l i f e by informing the Senate of the plans.  J a f f i e r promised to do so i f he could be  that a l l h i s f r i e n d s would go f r e e .  assured  The Senate agreed, but  once the group was a r r e s t e d , the Senate condemned the t h i r t y three c o n s p i r a t o r s to death.  Driven to despair by t h i s  breach of promise on the part of the Senate, J a f f i e r  was  determined to free h i s f r i e n d s even to the point of t h r e a t ening B e l v i d e r a w i t h her death unless her f a t h e r pardoned them a l l . P r i u l i agreed to f r e e them, but i t was too l a t e . On the s c a f f o l d , J a f f i e r i s r e c o n c i l e d w i t h P i e r r e , who  had  accused him of being a t r a i t o r and a coward, stabbed P i e r r e and then committed s u i c i d e , thus f r e e i n g both of mem the dishonourable death of a t r a i t o r to the State.  from When  she heard that J a f f i e r was dead, B e l v i d e r a died of a broken heart. From Venice Preserved stems Vautrin's l i t e r a r y homo-  -71-  sexuality.  P i e r r e ew%d J a f f i e r express not only a deep and  e t e r n a l f r i e n d s h i p , but a l s o symbolize a r e v o l t against  soc-  i e t y i n which the end j u s t i f i e s the means - - o n e of Vautrin's own b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s . Vautrin's  Duality WhatmVajitrin seeks above a l l i n h i s f r i e n d s h i p s ,  i s a person capable of being h i s companion, w i t h whom he can spend h i s l i f e : " Apprends c e c i , grave-le dans t a c e r v e l l e encore s i molle? 1'homme a 1'horreurrde^la• s o l i t u d e . E t de toutes l e s s o l i t u d e s , l a ^ s o l i t u d e morale e s t c e l l e q u i e'prouve l e p l u s . " The motivating  force i n t h i s quest of f r i e n d s h i p i s t h i s fear  of s o l i t u d e , t y p i c a l of most f a t h e r s . needs an accomplice.  V a u t r i n wants and  A f t e r G o r i o t , the e n t i r e p o r t r a y a l of  V a u t r i n i s tinged w i t h sadness and h i s most exuberant outbursts against s o c i e t y and mankind can be i n t e r p r e t e d i n terms of resentment against the very i s o l a t i o n and s u p e r i o r i t y of which he a t other times boasts.  His attachments are there-  fore not t o be reduced to merepperversions.  Rather they r e -  v e a l a complex need. Balzac underlines chosen a s s o c i a t e .  the need t o communicate w i t h the  V a u t r i n i s searching >f o f f r e f l e c t i o n s of  himself: h i s proteges come from the same moral mould. 5. 5p 1 endeufSslp7.d.60/1 v p SOI.  Lucien  -72-  and Eugene are both i n t e l l i g e n t young men, poor and ambitious.  This i s a l l that i s necessary to a t t r a c t V a u t r i n .  They share a t h i r s t f o r pleasure and power.  When Rastignac  returns t o the Pension Vauquer enflamed w i t h a d e s i r e t o succeed i n s o c i e t y , V a u t r i n immediately recognizes t h e i r common bond. va!"  "Bravo! a i - i e d i t , v o i l a un g a i l l a r d q u i me  Disguised as Carlos Herrera, he repeats the same t h i n g  to Lucien: "Savez-vous pourquoi j e f a i s ce p e t i t discours d'histoire?  C'est que j e vous c r o i s une ambition demesure'e."^  In r e a l i t y , he seeks someone l i k e himself.  J u s t as Grandet  wanted a m i s e r l y daughter, so V a u t r i n wants h i s chosen son to be ambitious and unscrupulous. as a teacher before h i s protege's. are s u r p r i s i n g .  To ensure t h i s , he poses No doubt h i s teachings  But one senses ihahim a sincere d e s i r e to  b e n e f i t h i s student by h i s own experiences. h i s protege's f o r r e v o l t .  V a u t r i n readies >  I n showing them the hidden aspects  of s o c i e t y , he hopes t o change them i n t o beings who place themselves above s o c i e t y and e s t a b l i s h e d law. seeks t o c o r r u p t .  Corrupted, he  In p a r t i c u l a r , he succours young men un-  dergoing a moral c r i s i s f o r to. him they represent "une b e l l e proie pour l e d i a b l e " ' Vautrin's search f o r f r i e n d s h i p d r i v e s him to seek alternatives„to women.  That V a u t r i n despises women and be-  6. )I-1lu-sdonslpuvs 59.1f? p -591., 7. Ebrioitg p£cT53t p. 153, c  -73-  l i e v e s i n t h e i r beauty as a mask f o r man's d e s t r u c t i o n i s undeniable.  A woman i s an usurer who would disembowel her  own mother, a t i g e r who who  looks i n t o m i r r o r s , an i n f e r i o r being  i s motivated by animal i n s t i n c t . V a u t r i n , on the contrary,  dominates h i s organs as a r e s u l t of the bond between e f f e c t and cause; h i s philosophy of the weaker sex i s occasioned his  physiology.  by  Even i n t h e ^ h e r e of love, V a u t r i n i s outside  the general laws of s e x u a l i t y .  "Apprenez un s e c r e t : i l n'aime  pas l e s femmes."  surrounding h i s gender i s  The ambiguity  heightened by subtle inferences.  For example, above the  Vauquer door, one reads a d r o l l i n s c r i p t i o n : "Pension bourgeoise des deux sexes et autres."^ "Et a u t r e s " points to d i l apidated beings, "mollusques" or larvae of the human species l i k e Mademoiselle Michonneau or Monsieur. P o i r e t .  But i t a l s o  points to V a u t r i n i n three respects: the father-mother admixture, the sexlessness of a f a l l e n angel, and the homosexual.  A c l o s e r look a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p s that V a u t r i n de-  velops i n the t r i l o g y w i l l c l a r i f y which of these categories V a u t r i n belongs t o . The f i r s t of Vautrin's attachments i s traced back to a period spent i n p r i s o n where he j o i n e d up w i t h a young hoodlum, Theodore C a l v i , whose feminine nickname was " l a b e l l e Madeleine".  In slang, C a l v i was a l s o known as Vautrin's  "tante", a feminine noun that conjures up a mutual love and 8. 6§riot,p. 160. 9. I b i d . , p. 27.  -74affection.  Balzac f e e l s i t necessary to e x p l a i n the term  as r e f e r r i n g to the t h i r d sex, l e a v i n g us i n no doubt as to t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . In V a u t r i n s second r e l a t i o n s h i p , the "coeur de 1  bronze" brings as much devotion to Rastignac as he had to Calvi.  However, Rastignac refuses to understand Vautrin's  advances, or at l e a s t turns a b l i n d eye.  He wished n e i t h e r  tco explore " l e s motifs de l ' a m i t i e que l u i p o r t a i t cet homme e x t r a o r d i n a i r e , n i l ' a v e n i r d'une semblable union."  Others  however, had no d i f f i c u l t y i n p e r c e i v i n g Vautrin's i n t e n t i o n s . A comment by Mademoiselle Michonneau, a f t e r V a i i t r i n ' s a r r e s t opens Eugine's eyes:" Monsieur [de Rastignacj s o u t i e n t C o l l i n . . . , i l n'est pas d i f f i c i l e de s a v o i r p o u r q u o i . F i n a l l y the t r u t h dawns on Rastignac, who tanglement.  resolves to avoid any such en-  Vautrin's "regard vetiimeux j e t a une h o r r i b l e  lumie're dans l'^me  de Rastignac,"'^ who understood "toutes  les p e r f i d i e s " i n i t .  The end of I l l u s i o n s perdues brings us  to V a u t r i n s f i n a l and most important attachmant, and  leaves  1  no doubt as to h i s i n t e n t i o n s ; Lucien states that he  has  "vendu sa v i e " arid i s nothing but " l a c r e a t u r e " of Herrera. Because Lucien occupies Vautrin's existence f o r such a long and intense p e r i o d , l e t us look at t h e i r f i r s t encounter as an example of Vautrin's technique of a t t r a c t i n g and 10. G o r i o t p.116. 11. I b i d . , p.189. 12. IbTd"., p.189.  en-  -75-  t i c i n g prospective "companions"./ The t h i r d prote'ge whom Carlos adopts i s Lucien Chardon, or Lucien de Rubempre, as he p r e f e r s t o be c a l l e d . In 1822, begins the longest a s s o c i a t i o n i n V a u t r i n s career 1  and the most f r u i t f u l i n events.  Without going i n t o d e t a i l s  about L u c i e n s previous experiences i n the provinces and i n 1  P a r i s , s u f f i c e i t t o say that t h i s would-be poet was a v i c t i m of h i s own v a n i t y .  In P a r i s he got himself i n t o such  an unsavoury p o s i t i o n that he was forced t o beat a r e t r e a t to h i s home and f a m i l y , thus p u t t i n g himself d i r e c t l y on C a r l o s ' route from Rochefort t o P a r i s .  P a r t of the l e t t e r he  l e f t f o r h i s s i s t e r a f t e r u p s e t t i n g her l i f e and before  slink-  ing away i n t o the n i g h t t o drown himself, reveals Lucien's character.  I t w i l l be seen that he isavready-made subject  f o r Carlos t o e x p l o i t . " 0 ma chere Eve, j e me juge plus severement que q u i que ce s o i t car j e me condamne absolument e t sans p i t i e pour moi-me*me. La l u t t e a P a r i s exige une force constante, e t mon v o u l o i r ne va que par acc&s: ma c e r v e l l e est i n t e r m i t t e n t e . L'avenir m'effraye t a n t , que j e ne veux pas de l ' a v e n i r , e t l e present m'est insupportable. J ' a i voulu vous r e v o i r , j ' a u r a i s mieux f a i t de m'expatrier a jamais. Mais 1 ' e x p a t r i a t i o n sans moyens d e x i s t e n c e , s e r a i t une f o l i e e t j e ne l ' a j o u t e r a i pas a toutes l e s autres. La mort me semble pre'*" fArable a une v i e incomplete e t , dans quelque p o s i t i o n que j e me suppose, mon excessive vanite" me f e r a i t commettre des s o t t i s e s . Certains etres sont comme des ze'ros, i l l e u r faut un c h i f f r e q u i l e s precede, et l e u r n£ant a c q u i e r t a l o r s une v a l e u r de'culpe . 1  <  -76-  Je ne puis a c q u l r i r de v a l e u r que par un mariage avec une v o l e n t i f o r t e , impitoyable. Madame deeBargeton e t a i t b i e n ma femme, j ' a i manque" ma v i e en n abandonnant pas C o r a l i e pour e l l e . David et t o i vous p o u r r i e z e\re d'excellents p i l o t e s pour moi; mais vous n'£tes pas assez f o r t s pour dompter ma f a i b l e s s e q u i se detobe en quelque sorte a l a domination, j'aime une v i e f a c i l e , sans ennuis; e t , pour me d l barrasser d'une c o n t r a r i e t y , j e s u i s d'une l a c h e t i qui peut menmener t r e s l o i n . Je suis ni p r i n c e . J ' a i plus de dexte'rite' d ' e s p r i t q u ' i l ne faut pour p a r v e n i r , mais §e n'en a i que pendant un moment, et l e p r i x dans une carrie*re parcourue par tant d'ambitieux est a c e l u i q u i n'en de'ploie que l e ne'c.essaire et q u i s en trouve encore assez au bout de l a journe'e. Je f e r a i s l e mal comme j e viens de l e f a i r e i c i , avec l e s m e i l l e u r e s i n t e n t i o n s du monde. I I y a des homme s-cheWs, j e ne s u i s peut-etre qu'un arbuste elegant et j ' a i l a p r e t e n t i o n d'etre un c^dre. V o i l a mon b i l a n e c r i t . Ce disaccord entre mes moyens et mes de'sirs, ce de^faut d'e"quil i b r e annulera toujours mes e f f o r t s . " 1 3 1  The s i g n i f i c a n t passage, of course, i s that concerning nature of c e r t a i n people who  the  r e q u i r e domination by a strong-  er p e r s o n a l i t y i n order to amount to anything more than a cipher.  What i s i n t e r e s t i n g i s the f a c t that at the  end  of Lucien's career, one of the "grandes dames" of P a r i s r e f e r s to h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h C o l l i n as aamarriage, and here Lucien r e a l i z e s that h i s only hope l i e s i n a marriage not s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h a woman, but w i t h a "volonte f o r t e et impitoyable".''"^  Carlos i s indeed t h i s , and t h e i r r e l a t i o n -  ship i s indeed a k i n d of marriage and l a s t s , i n f a c t , u n t i l death doth them p a r t . 1 3 . I l l u s i o r i s t p p . 581-582. 14. I b i d . , p.581.  -77-  A f t e r t h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , we are ready f o r Herrera. Were Balzac a l e s s subtle author, C o l l i n would have appeared a t t h i s moment, i n a c l a p of thunder t o c l a i m the hand of h i s "ame soeur".  As i t i s , he only appears some three  pages l a t e r i n h i s p r i e s t s s r r o b e s .  C o l l i n i s f i r s t struck  by L u c i e n s personal beauty, f o r h i s poet's v a n i t y has caused 1  him t o don h i s f i n e s t o u t f i t t o commit s u i c i d e : " En entendant Lucien q u i sauta de l a vigne sur l a route, l'inconnu se retourna, parut comme s a i s i de l a beaute" profondiment melancolique du poete, de son bouquet symboi l i q u e e t deesa mise e l e g a n t e . Le voyageur ressemblait £l un chasseur q u i trouve une j r p r o i e longtemps e t i n u t i l e m e n t cherchee." A f t e r t a l k i n g f o r a w h i l e , and presumably weighing the q u a l i f i c a t i o n s of not j u s t C a l v i and the poet, but of a t h i r d candidate f o r h i s a t t e n t i o n s — f o r we must include Rastignac i n t h i s -- V a u t r i n chose Lucien.  Beside the long s e p a r a t i o n  from h i s Vauquer boarding-house acquaintance, a year during which h i s i n f l u e n c e was not d i r e c t l y e x e r c i s e d , Eugene had shown himself to be too independant, moral and u n p l i a b l e f o r C o l l i n ' s purpose.  Despite Theodore's charms, because of  C a l v i ' s c r i m i n a l nature C o l l i n could foresee i n the renewal of that a s s o c i a t i o n only a s t r i n g of crimes ending necessari l y on the s c a f f o l d .  To thi§; aging c o n v i c t , the poet o f f e r e d  something new and v e r y a t t r a c t i v e .  "La v i e avec Lucien,  gar^on pur de toute condamnation e t q u i ne se reprochent que des p e c c a d i l l e s , se l e v a i t d ' a i l l e u r s b e l l e e t magnifique 15. I l l u s i o n s p. 584.  -78-  comme l e s o l e i l d'une journe'e  d'ete"."  Rubempre' doesn't h e s i t a t e . at l e a s t very l i t t l e .  ib  He has no choice, or a  Between s u i c i d e and a d r o i t temptation,  he chooses the e a s i e s t way and f o l l o w s the path drawn by h i s strange mentor.  His success i s stunning.  In a few years,  the former d e s p a i r i n g poet i s on the point of marrying the wealthy and t i t l e d C l o t h i l d e ae Grandlieu.  Everything breaks  down a t the l a s t minute, but one senses t h a t , i n large measure, Lucien's f i n a l catastrophe i s imposed by c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of p u b l i c t a s t e ; a f t e r a l l , the success of the Rubempre'Herrera p l o t would have been too immoral f o r many readers of 1840. The d u a l i t y of V a u t r i n i s now made c l e a r i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the poet.  The V a u t r i n who wants h i s pro-  tege' to be l i k e him and who uses h i s i n t e l l i g e n c e and power to slowly b r i n g about t h i s transformation, acts very l i k e a father,"peu curieux de se r e p l a n t e r i c i par bouture"; the same man who denies himself p h y s i c a l p a t e r n i t y i s obsessed by the d e s i r e to l i v e on. sence, not h i s f l e s h .  He wants to preserve h i s es-;:  As he says to Esther:  " On me r i v e r a i t pour l e r e s t a n t de mes j o u r s a* mon ancienne chal'ne, i l me semble que j e p o u r r a i s y r e s t e r t r a n q u i l l e en me d i s a n t : i l est au b a l , i l est a l a cour.' Mon Itaie et ma pense'e triompheraient pendant que ma g u e n i l l e s e r a i t livr£e aux argousins."17 I 16. Splendeurs p. 495. 17. I b i d . , p.249.  -79-  I t i s t r u l y h i s soul that V a u t r i n wishes to impart to h i s prot£g6s so that he might continue to l i v e beyond h i s  own  life-span; V a u t r i n i s the f i r s t to emphasize the p a t e r n a l aspect of h i s love.  I r o n i c a l l y , he c a l l s himself "Papa Vaufe  t r i n " , he smiles a t Rubempre "d'un a i r pateraellement  railleur",  and i t i s w i t h a "maternelle" s o l i c i t u d e that he takes L u c i e n s arm, at t h e i r f i r s t meeting. 1  The abundance of  such terms used to describe him u n d e r l i n e t h i s  undeniable  aspect of h i s f e e l i n g . Speaking of Vautrin's d r i v e toward moral p a t e r n i t y , Curtius says: " . . . i l f a i t passer de sa propre v i e dans c e l l e de ses creatures. A i n s i i l s'e'tend demesure'ment. I n u t i l e de d i r e que ce double dynamisme --creer une v i e nouvelle en f a i s a n t appel aux puissances de son e s p r i t et transfu,ser sa propre experience a des cre"atures nees de s o i -- appartient a ce que Balzac ,g a l e plus profondement e'prouve' en lui-meme." Most s t r i k i n g i s the s i m i l a r i t y between h i s love f o r Eugene and f o r Lucien, and Goriot's love f o r h i s daughters. conceive love i n the same way.  Goriot l i v e s through h i s  daughters because he has created them. joy l i f e v i c a r i o u s l y  They  This a b i l i t y to en-  i s b a s i c to V a u t r i n .  He t e l l s Lucien t;  that man has a f e a r of being alone and that he must have an alter  ego:  18. C u r t i u s , p.  159.  -8011  J'aime a me devouer, j ' a i ce v i c e - l a . Je v i s par l e devouement...Je veux aimer ma creature, l a fa^onner, l a p l t r i r a mon usage, a f i n de 1'aimer comme un p&re aime son enfant... je me re"jouirai de ses succes aupres des femmes, j e d i r a i : — c e beau ieune homme, c f e s t moi! Ce marquis de Rubempre^, j e l ' a i cre*e et mis au monde a r i s t o c r a t i q u e ; sa grandeur est mon oeuvre, i l se t a i t ou p a r l e a" ma v o i x , i l me consulte en tout."19  V a u t r i n i s a s o c i a l outcast who can no longer (enter s o c i e t y nor2enjoy i t s pleasures. him.  Lucien must t a s t e them f o r  "Je r o u l e r a i dans t o n t i l l b u r y , mon garc^on."  As G o r i o t  l i v e d f o r and through h i s daughters,"Ma v i e a moi est dans 20 mes deux f i l l e s "  , so V a u t r i n l i v e d f o r and through Lucien.  Vautrvin shared Lucien's l i f e which he created, and a l l that Lucien accomplished  i n s o c i e t y , V a u t r i n accomplished.  Lucien  represents the l i f e that Carlos Herrera would have wanted: as a c y n i c , corrupt and c r i m i n a l , the soul o f t h i s s p i r i t u a l father i s reborn i n Lucien. was denied the other.  He i s able to f u l f i l l a l l that  Being young, handsome and famous, women  adore him and he i s t o marry i n t o one of the most noble f a m i l i e s i n France.  Through him, V a u t r i n has been able t o  enter a world forever closed t o himself. As Allemand notes: " I I £ Vautrin] n'a pas seulement l e ge"nie de l a c o r r u p t i o n , i l s'incarne dans l e s e^res q u ' i l c h o i s i t , i l se l e s a s s i m i l e . I I aime a j o u e r , mais ne s'int£resse qu'au grand jeu. Rastignac he'site a signer l e pacte que l u i propose ce demon: une circonstance f o r t u i t e l e sauvera. Lucien se l a i s s e ent o r t i l l e r : i l ne sera plus de'sormais que l a cr'eature de V a u t r i n , sa chose; non pas 19. I l l u s i o n s p. 602. 20. G o r i o t p.130.  -81-  n'importe q u e l l e chose, mais c e l l e q u i l e i repre'sente en a l t e r i t e , c e l l e q u i l u i manque pour e*tre tout a f a i t lui-m'eme. V a u t r i n se de'double. I I v i t par i n t e r p o s i t i o n de personne, i l a g i r a de me*me. I I r e a l i s e r a h t r a c e r vers Lucien l e s p r o j e t s q u i j u s q u ' i c i l u i etaient interdits."21 And so, the p a t e r n a l i s t i c leanings w i t h i n a homosexual r e l a t i o n s h i p enable V a u t r i n t o enjoy a two-fold love.  Because  of the essence of s e l f that he transmits t o Lucien, he i s a l s o able to 'lead a double l i f e . The Unmaking of V a u t r i n Lucien i s Vautrin's h e i r , having i n h e r i t e d Vautrin's nature.  As an i d e a l son, Lucien embodies a l l of Vautrin's  dreams.  "Je s u i s un grand poete.  Mes poesies, j e ne l e s 99  e c r i s pas: e l l e s c o n s i s t e n t en a c t i o n s . "  V a u t r i n , the man  who spoke thus t o Rastignac, has created through Lucien h i s most b e a u t i f u l poem. i n t o f l e s h and blood.  He has transformed a dream of himself Lucien i s the c l a y from which V a u t r i n  t r i e s to mould a b e t t e r s e l f .  A l l of h i s hopes, d e s i r e s ,  ambitions and love are i n s t i l l e d i n Lucien. Lucien i s h i s c r e a t i o n .  Behind Vautrin's f e e l i n g s  f o r Lucien l i e s a w i l l to power which stops j u s t short of 1i'he d i v i n e .  V a u t r i n confesses:" J ' a i appris a i m i t e r l a 23 Providence." " Quand j ' a i iti p l r e , j ' a i compris Dieu," 21. Andre' Allemand, I l l u s i o n s ( P a r i s : 22. G o r i o t p. 112. 23. I b i d . , p. 130.-  Ple'iade,l 9<50),p.lO28. ,  -82-  Goriot used to say.  V a u t r i n f e e l s capable of r e p l a c i n g God  and c r e a t i n g h i s own son.  The theme of c r e a t i n g i s always  upon h i s l i p s . " Je vous a i pe^che; j e vous a i rendu l a v i e , et vous m'appartenez comme l a creature e s t 2 ^ au c r ^ a t e u r . . . comme l e corps est a l'ltme!" The very n o t i o n of c r e a t i n g , a r e f l e c t i o n of tremendous p r i d e , conveys a passionate d e s i r e f p r power: "J'aime l e pouvoir 25 pour l e pouvoir,moi!"  As Lucien i s an image of V a u t r i n , so  i t i s a r e l a t i o n s h i p between c r e a t o r and creature, s i m i l a r to that between man and God, as w e l l as the two other aspects of the r e l a t i o n s h i p p r e v i o s l y discussed. " Je vous m a i n t i e n d r a i , moi, d'une main p u i s s ante, dans l a voie du pouvoir...et vous b r i l l erez, vous paraderez, pendant que, courbe dans l a boue des fondations, j assumerai l e b r i l l a n t e d i f i c e de votre fortune."26 The very day that t h i s i r o n w i l l deserts him, Luc i e n dies as i f only the presence of V a u t r i n a t h i s side can make him go on l i v i n g . commits s u i c i d e .  Separated f o r f o r t y - e i g h t hours, he  A f t e r a i l , V a u t r i n i s not God. He i s a  superman, but h i s w i l l , as powerful as i t i s , cannot stand i n the face of f a t e .  S i m i l a r l y , i n l i v i n g through Lucien, Vaut  t r i n i s a l s o vulnerable through him..  In s i g n i n g the demonic  pact, Lucien receives from V a u t r i n the strength of purpose that he lacks and, i n exchange,fendows V a u t r i n w i t h a r e f l e c t i o n of h i s human s i d e . 24. Oil-Ms ions p i 597. 25. i b i d . , p. 598.  26.  P  . 597.:r.  Each discovers i n the other a com-  -83-  plement of r e a l i t y that i s indispensable t o h i s own personal fulfillment.  Accordingly, when V a u t r i n learns of Lucien's ,  s u i c i d e , he c o l l a p s e s , crumbles and i s completely overwhelmed.  The strength, the energy, the l i f e that he unceasing-  l y i n j e c t e d i n t o the poet's s o u l , seeps from him f r u i t l e s s ly.  The death of Lucien not only staggers h i s being, i t  deprives him, i n a very r e a l sense, of h i s reason f o r being£„ I t i s the doctor who hastens to t r e a t him who t e l l s C o l l i n that Lucien has hanged himself i n h i s c e l l . II  Jamais t i g r e trouvant ses p e t i t s enleves n'a frappe l e s jungles de l ' l n d e d'un c r i Jacques C o l l i n , q u i se dressa sur ses pieds comme l e t i g r e sur ses patters, q u i lanca sur l e docteur un regard b r u l a n t , comme 1 1 ' E c l a i r de l a foudre quand e l l e tombe; puis i l s ' a f f a i s s a sur son l i t de camp en d i s a n t : 'Oh! mon f i l s ! * — Pauvre homme! s'£cria l e midecin emu de ce t e r r i b l e e f f o r t de l a nature. En e f f e t , c e t t e explosion f u t s u i v i e d'une s i complete f a i b l e s s e , que ces mots:'Oh! mon f i l s ! ' furent comme un murmure."27  However strong h i s emotion i s , Jacques C o l l i n does not f o r get h i s d i s g u i s e and i n s t i n c t i v e l y masks h i s r e a c t i o n s t o f i t the gauge of h i s present i d e n t i t y .  The idea that t h i s  may have been a t r a p t o unmask him apparently does not enter his  mind.  This shows another side of h i s character — a side  whose existence may heretofore have been open t o question but 27. Splendeurs p. 496.  -84-  which i s now c l e a r l y revealed. S i vous avez des enfants, Messieurs', d i t Jacques C o l l i n , 'vous comprendEez mon imbe'cilit£, j ' y v o i s a peine c l a i r . . . C e coup est pour moi b i e n plus que l a mort,mais vous ne pouvez pas s a v o i r ce que j e dis...vous n'e'tes p£re, s i vous l ' e t e s , que d'une mani£re...je s u i s 28 mere, a u s s i ! . . . J e . . . j e s u i s fou, j e l e sens."  M I  He spends the n i g h t w i t h Lucien's body, and i s found i n the morning k n e e l i n g beside the bed, c l a s p i n g Lucien's c o l d hand and apparently praying. " En voyant cet homme, l e s porteurs s'arreterent un moment, car i l ressemblait a une de ces f i g u r e s de p i e r r e agenouille'e pour l'e'ternite sur l e s tombeaux du moyen ^ge, par l e genie des t a i l l e u r s d'images. Ce faux p r e t r e , aux yeux c l a i r s comme ceux des t i g r e s e t r a i d i par une immobility s u r n a t u r e l l e , imposa t e l l e ment a ces gens, q u ' i l s l u i d i r e n t avec douceur de se l e v e r . -- Pourquoi? demnanda-t-il timidement. Cet audacieux Trompe-la-Mort e t a i t devenu f a i b l e comme un enfant." 29 Conclusion Lucien's death marks an important stage i n Vautrin's life.  With h i s passing, V a u t r i n seems to lose a l l i n t e r e s t  i n continuing t o l i v e .  His despair i s overwhelming. For  V a u t r i n i s a l o n e l y man and i t i s the l o n e l i n e s s and h i s uns u c c e s s f u l attempts t o overcome i t which lead t o h i s undoing. The b a s i c d r i v e f o r companionship, f o r s o c i e t y , was too great to a l l o w him t o maintain h i s l o f t y detachment, e s s e n t i a l t o 28. Splendeurs p. 497. 29. I b i d . p."498. f  -85-  c a r r y i n g out h i s p r o j e c t of revenge.  As Corentin  says,  " . . . s i vous n'aviez pas eu ce p e t i t imbecile a de'fendre, vous nous a u r i e z r o u s s ^ s , " ^  One f e e l s that i t i s , p a r a d o x i c a l -  l y , w i t h an immense sense of l i b e r a t i o n , that V a u t r i n f i n a l l y abandons h i s struggle against s o c i e t y and submits to i t s laws, indeed, becomes an agent f o r t h e i r reinforcement. i s p a r a d o x i c a l , but understandable,  It  By g i v i n g up e g o t i s t i c  i n d i v i d u a l i s m , he sheds a l l the r e s p o n s a b i l i t y f o r h i s deeds. Although V a u t r i n s aim i n h i s c r i m i n a l a c t i v i t i e s i s not so 1  l o f t y as S c h i l l e r ' s Moor, nor i s h i s r e n u n c i a t i o n so flamboyantly expressed, he could have understood without d i f f i c u l t y K a r l Moor's awakening to the f a c t that h i s p o s i t i o n outside of s o c i e t y was untenable: " Ah! miserable fou, q u i me suis imagine" perf e c t i o n n e r l e monde par l e crime, e t r ^ t a b l i r l e s l o i s par l a l i c e n c e ! J'appelais c e l a l a vengeance e t l e bon d r o i t . . . J e p r i t e n d a i s , o Providence! rendre l e f i l a t o n g l a i v e ^mousse,, e t reparer t a p a r t i a l i t e . Mais... •6 p u e r i l e vanite*!.. .maintenant me v o i c i au terme d'une v i e abominable, e t j e reconnais avec des grincements de dents, que deux hommes t e l s que moi renverseraient tout 1 ' E d i f i c e du monde moral."31 V a u t r i n becomes but a shadow of h i s former s e l f .  He aban-  dons h i s most obsessive ambition; Trompe-laMojixt:, the outlaw, the soul of s a t a n i c r e v o l t , j o i n s ranksawatth s o c i e t y .  30. I b i d . , p. 612. 31. F r e d e r i c S c h i l l e r , Les Brigands (New York: Unger, 1961),p.58.  -86CHAPTER FIVE: TEE MASTER'S TOUCH  Introduction No matter how i m p a r t i a l an a r t i s t may t r y to be, he cannot create r e a l i s m without deception.  This deception w i l l  be accepted, however, i f i t manages, by suggesting i n t e n s i t y and immediateness, t o i n t e r e s t us d i r e c t l y and v i v i d l y i n the event depicted.  Let us see to what extent t h i s view of r e a l -  ism i s r e l e v a n t to the c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n ; and to what extent r e a l i t y has been deformed; the extent to which V a u t r i n i s removed from h i s c r e a t o r ; how much more intense he i s as a r e s u l t of Balzac's s k i l l i n reproducing r e a l i t y . Balzac's Use of Realism There are s e v e r a l f a c t o r s from Balzac's own persona l i t y which appear i n Vautrin's character, c o n t r i b u t i n g t o the impression of r e a l i t y and l i f e . tilled  As Wilson says, i n d i s  style, " The r e a l elements, of course, of any work of f i c t i o n , are the elements o f the author's p e r s o n a l i t y : h i s imagination embodies i n the images of c h a r a c t e r s , s i t u a t i o n s and scenes the fundamental c o n f l i c t s of h i s nature o r the c y c l e o f phases through which i t h a b i t u a l l y passes. His personnages are p e r s o n i f i e d cations of the author's various impulses and emotions: and the r e l a t i o n s between them i n his s t o r i e s are r e a l l y the r e l a t i o n s between these." 1  1. Edmund Wilson, Axel's C a s t l e (New York: Scribner, 1950), p.176.  -87-  Though i n some cases Balzac may have, as he s a i d ,  2  succeeded  i n becoming h i s character, i t seems f a i r l y obvious that i n t h i s case the character became Balzac.  B i l l y indicates a  whole unexplored and perhaps unexplorable, aspect of Balzac's work, " S u r l a v i e de Balzac t e l l e q u ' e l l e apparalt dans ses ouvrages, i l y a u r a i t un gros l i v r e a e c r i r e . Balzac, q u i passe pour l e romancier l e plus transcendant a son oeuvre, s i l'on ose employer l e langage des the*ologiens, y est peut-etre l e plus immanent. Dans chaque personnage, dans chaque Episode de l a Comedie humaine, un examen approfondi d i c e l e sa pr£sence. Madame Bovary, c'est moi, d i s a i t Flaubert 1'impassible. Balzac n'est pas impassible, i l i n t e r v i e n t v i s i b l e m e n t dans ses remits, m mais combien plus souvent encore i n v i s i b l e m e n t ? Combien plus souvent i l se p e i n t meme sans l e vouloir? 3 Thus, by l i v i n g i n h i s work and through i t , Balzac i s able to endow V a u t r i n w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r l y l i f e - l i k e appearance. Perhaps the most s t r i k i n g device by which V a u t r i n i s made to l i v e i s so a t y p i c a l of Balzac's method that i t appears to be a c c i d e n t a l . We r e f e r to the imprecise manner i n which V a u t r i n i s descibed p h y s i c a l l y . TKis technique has been considered e a r l i e r i n t h i s essay as a means of c r e a t i n g an " a i r of mystery" v e i l i n g both the character and h i s c r e a t o r . Granted, Balzac was was doing.  l i k e l y aware of at l e a s t t h i s much of what he  Speaking of s e t t i n g s more than of people, Balzac  wrote i n an unpublished Avertissement f o r Le Dernier Chouan(1828) 2. Balzac, Oeuvres completes 3. B i l l y , p. 304.  (Conard,1940),xl,289.  -88-  " . . . j e n ' a i pas eu peu si combattre dans mon penchant a ne q u i t t e r un tableau qu'apres a v o i r longtemps tourn^ autour, 1'avoir le'che en tous sens,... M o r s l e s imaginations ardentes me reprocheront de ne l e u r r i e n l a i sser a deviner; mais c e t t e f a u t e . . . a p p a r t i e n t peut-etre a. notre l i t t e r a t u r e moderne; e l l e ^ n'a plus que l'immense verite' des d e t a i l s ; . . . Judging from the r e s t of h i s work, Balzac didn't put up much of a struggle against t h i s penchant*  There are enumerable  l i n e s i l l u s t a t i n g h i s u n w i l l i n g n e s s to leave a great deal toe the reader's imaginative f a c u l t y .  This proved i r r i t a t i n g to  Le Breton, who comments a c i d l y on B e a t r i x : " Ces p o r t r a i t s sont v r a i s , l i s sont p u i s s a n t s , i l s sont ce q u ' i l y a de m e i l l e u r ou meme tout ce q u ' i l y a de bon dans Beatrix;mais quel l e c t e u r a l a patience de l e s l i r e tous? I I y en a t r o p , e t dans chacun d'eux i l y a trop de d e t a i l s , trop de minuties, l e seul p o r t r a i t physique de Camille Maupin r e m p l i t p l u s i e u r s pages; v i n g t - c i n q l i g n e s pour ses yeux, quinze pour son nez, autant pour sa ^ bouche, pour son menton, pour ses o r e i l l e s . . . Though aware of the dangers connected w i t h scenic desc r i p t i o n , Balzac was apparently unaware that a vague suggest i o n of p h y s i o l o g i c a l t r a i t s allows the reader to use h i s own imagination, i n the s t r i c t sense of the word.  Yet procuring  the reader's p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the v i s u a l i z a t i o n of a charact e r i s one of the most important elements i n producing a f e e l i n g of a u t h e n t i c i t y and r e a l i s m .  Bard^che approaches t h i s  idea when he speaks of the "other" existence of Balzac's 4. Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, H i s t o i r e des oeuvres de Honore" de-Balzac a s s c i t e d by Bardeche, p. ~2~2~?T. ~ 5. Le Breton, p.126.  -89characters,  .".  " Car, chaque personnage dans 1'oeuvre de Balzac est vu deux f o i s , dans l e roman q u i l u i est consacre d'abord, et l a i l apparait comme tous personnages de roman, et dans l a perspective de l a Come'die humaine, et c e t t e v i s i o n peut £tre sinon d i f f e r e n t e , du moins b i e n plus complete et b i e n plus profonde. . . . a l o r s , quelque p a r t , dans un espace de l a Comedie humaine q u i ne porte point de t i t r e et q u i en est l a contre'e l a plus pre'cieuse, se leve un immate'riel p o r t r a i t . . . q u e n i 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 V a u t r i n was  inten-  ded as a secondary f i g u r e , though he emerged as a c e n t r a l f i ure. " Mais i l s ne sont pas des etres r e e l s . l i s sont beaucoup moins re'els, en tout cas, que l e s personnages de second plan que Balzac a f a i t a p p a r a l t r e d e r r i ^ r e eux. Seuls, ceuxc i sont de "I'humanite" v i v a n t e . Dans Eugenie Grandet, l a grosse Nanon n'£tait-elle pas plus v r a i e que Grandet lui-meme? I I en est toujours a i n s i chez Balzac: l a viarite est b i e n moins dans l e he'ros du l i v r e que dans l e s s i l h o u e t t e s ejpisodiques." 7 J u l e s Bertaut too, has d i s t i n g u i s h e d between the p o r t r a i t s of the main and subordinate characters, while maintaining t l that both groups were t r e a t e d by Balzac "avec l a rneme minu t i e , avec l e meW  souci constant de c o p i e r l e re'el."  That  he has had a r e a c t i o n s i m i l a r to Le Breton's i s shown when he w r i t e s , " Seulement, lorsque l e s protagonistes ne d£passent pas l a t a i l l e o r d i n a i r e de I'humanite', 6. Bardeche, Op.Cit., p.526.  -90lorsque 1'imagination du romancier n ' i n t e r v i e n t pas pour l e s g o n f l e r , i l s paraissent d'autant plus v r a i s , d'une ve'rite^ photographique, s i l'on peut d i r e . " 9 Having mentioned "ve'rite' photographique", Bertaut's next remark approaches c o n t r a d i c t i o n , f o r he says, "C'est a i n s i que l e groupe des habitue's de l a t a b l e de Madame Vauquer forme un admirable ensemble aux t r a i t s p r e c i s , p a r f o i s t r e s appuye's e t v o i s i n s de l a c a r i c a t u r e , . . . "  This curious j u x t a -  p o s i t i o n of photography and c a r i c a t u r e continues the thorny question of r e a l i t y i n a r t without r e s o l v i n g i t , but c e r t a i n l y s,without damaging Le Breton's a s s e r t i o n e i t h e r .  The dess  c r i p t i o n Of V a u t r i n w i l l be found t o c o n s i s t l a r g e l y of d e l i n eations of h i s d i s g u i s e s or of h i s a c t i o n s , plus a minimum of t a n g i b l e p h y s i c a l d e t a i l s : h i s r e d h a i r , h i s strong, h a i r y hands, a passing reference t o the Farnesian Hercules and mainly h i s eyes -- and not even h i s eyes i n themselves, but r a t h e r the e f f e c t of h i s eyes.  Just as i t was f i r s t Vautrin:!.!  d i s g u i s e which was described i n G o r i o t , s i m i l a r l y i t i s Vaut r i n ' s apparel which receives f i r s t mention a t the end of Illusions.  Lucien sees "un voyageur vetu tout en n o i r , l e s  cheveux poudre's, chausse' de s o u l i e r s de veau d'Orleans a boucles d'argent, brun de visage, e t couture' comme s i , dans son enfance, i f f u t tombe' dans l e f e u . " ^ ^ Later comes the c l a s s i c l i s t of p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : 9. I b i d . , p. 59. 1 0 . I l l u s i o n s p. 584.  -91" Gros e t court, de larges mains, un large buste, une force herculienne^ un regard t e r r i b l e , mais adouci par une mansuetude de commande; un t e i n t de bronze que ne l a i s s a i . t r i e n passer du dedans au dehors, inspiraient'beaucoup plus l a -repulsion que 1'attachement." 11 In Splendeurs, V a u t r i n f i r s t appears as "un masque 12 a s s a s s i n , gros e t court, roulant sur lui-meme comme un tonneau." Later we are t o l d that "des p l i s profonds que l e s v i e i l l e s c i c a t r i c e s d'une h o r r i b l e p e t i t e v e r o l e rendaient hideux et semblables a des ornieres de'chirees, s i l l o n n a i e n t sa f i g u r e oliva!tre e t c u i t e par l e s o l e i l . "  We are shown again  "son  buste d ' a t h l l t e , ses mains de vieux s o l d a t . sa c a r r u r e ; ses f o r t e s epaules  i . . " " ^  When Lucien knocks Carlos down, h i s  wig f a l l s o f f and "un crtne p o l i comme une t£te de mort r e n d i t a cet homme sa v r a i e physionomie; e l l e £tait e'pouvantable. ""^ The lack of d e s c r i p t i o n here i s perhaps p a r a l l e l e d i n desc r i p t i o n s of Madame de Se'risy, who was "une blonde de moyenne t a i l l e , conservee comme l e s blondes,qui . ..""^  se sont c o n s e r v e s ,  and of G o r i o t , who shows Eugene "une t e t e dont l e s  cheveux blancs i t a i e n t epars et q u i mena^ait par tout ce q u i pouvait exprimer l a menace."^ Edmund Wilson has  stressed  Proust"s emphasis on "the f u t i l i t y of t r y i n g t o represent r e a l i t y by c o l l e c t i n g and organizing the data of the e x t e r n a l 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.  16. 17.  I b i d . , p . 599. Splendeurs, p. 52. I b i d . , p. 79. I b i d . , p. 79.  TbTd., p. 401.  p. 401. G o r i o t , p,  -92world."  18  Suggestion allows the reader to imagine, to  p r a c t i s e s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n or to make a combination of both. A s t r i k i n g d i f f e r e n c e i n tone marks Vautrin"s appearance i n Goriot and i n the two l a t e r novels.  There are  two  p o s s i b l e ways to account f o r the disappearance of what Balzac c a l l s V a u t r i n s "grosse g a i e t e " . 1  The f i r s t i s based on  Balzac's method of composition and would assume that under Balzac's hand V a u t r i n evolved i n theccourse of  formation,  for b e t t e r or f o r worse, i n t o the predominantly grave and almost t r a g i c f i g u r e of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes . The second i s based on the' f i n i s h e d - p o r t r a i t , as i t were, and assumes that the "grosse gaiete^" i s part and p a r c e l of the c o n v i c t ' s d i s g u i s e a t the Maison Vauquer.  The second assump-  t i o n does not i n v a l i d a t e the f i r s t , nor i s i t i n v a l i d a t e d by i t , and seems, f o r a e s t h e t i c reasons, a f a i r e r way Balzac's work.  of judging  When he makes V a u t r i n a genius a t d i s g u i s e  he a l s o accounts f o r d i f f e r e n c e s i n the various i n c a r n a t i o n s . To support t h i s , one should r e c a l l that a l l of the e s s e n t i a l elements of Vautrin's character, other than g a i e t y , are pre-* sent i n G o r i o t .  An e v a l u a t i o n of the t o t a l e f f e c t of a p o r -  t r a i t must be based on the surface colours r a t h e r than on the lower layers of c o n s t r u c t i o n .  Jean-Louis Bory has commented  p e r c e p t i v e l y .on the confusion which i s created by 18. Wilson, Op.Cit., p.178.  Balzac's  -93-  p e c u l i a r use of d i s g u i s e as an element of t h e , o b s c u r i t y which surrounds the c r i m i n a l hero.  D i s t i n g u i s h i n g from the  masks and cloaks of the r o m a n t i c i s t s , he says: " L ' i d e n t i t y du he'ros n'est plus i n a c c e s s i b l e -- j e connais ce monsieur, c'est un p r e t r e , i l s'appelle Carlos Herrera, i l v i e n t d*Espagne --mais e l l e est f l u i d e , parce q u ' e l l e est a chaque i n s t a n t truquee. Le f a r c e u r de t a b l e d'hote, dont ie s a i s l e nom, l'£ge, l a n a t i o n a l i t y , l e s gouts, se metamorphose en cet abb€, dont j e s a i s l e nom, l'a^ge, l a n a t i o n a l i t y , l e s gouts. Mais l e l i e n entre l e farceur et l'abb€, Jacques C o l l i n , v o i l a ce que j e ne connais pas et que j e ne puis pas conna"Itre tant que 1'autre me t i e n t par son stratageme..."19 Balzac himself gives strong i n d i c a t i o n s that Vautrin''s j o v i a l i t y i s only part of h i s d i s g u i s e when he says: " Des gens moins s u p e r f i c i e l s . . . n e se s e r a i e n t pas a r r e t e d a 1'impression douteuse que l e u r causait Vautrin... Q u o i q u ' i l eut jete* son a p p a r e n t e ( i t a l i c s ours) bonhomie, sa constante complaisance et sa g a i e t i comme une b a r r i e r e entre l e s autres et l u i , souvent i l l a i s s a i t percer l'e'pouvant a b l e profondeur de son caractere."20 Disguise or impression, the f a c t remains that Vautrin's l i v e l y speech, s p r i n k l e d w i t h r a t h e r s a l t y comments, c o n t r i b u t e s much to the favourable impression he makes upon f e l l o w boarders and readers a l i k e .  Discussing the inmates of P a r i s -  i a n boarding houses i n Balzac's time, J u l e s Bertaut says: " . . . i l en est un que l'on trouve presque invariablement dans toutes l e s d e s c r i p t i o n s que l'on nous e n i f a i t , c'est l e Farceur de t a b l e d'h&te." 21 19. Jean-Louis Bory, Balzac et l e s te'nebres(Paris:La Jeune Parque,20. G o r i o t p. 36. 1947), p.107. 21. Bertaut, p.52.  -94He quotes from one of these d e s c r i p t i o n s and remarks on the s t r i k i n g resemblance to V a u t r i n . " Le farceur de t a b l e d'h6te est gen^ralement un gros homme v u l g a i r e , haut en couleurs, de c a r a c t ^ r e j o v i a l , f a m i l i e r avec l e s pensionnaires masculins, galant avec l e s dames et l i b e r t i n avec l a bonne. Grand mangeur, grand buveur, grand amateur de chansons, i l n he'site pas a en fredonner une au dessert. C'est l u i q u i lance l e q u o l i b e t , l e mot pour r i r e , l e calembour et l e coq-a-1'a"ne. C'est l u i q u i poursuit de ses moqueieies un souffre-douleur q u ' i l a a c h h i s i i p a r m i l e s hdtes et q u i sera l a c i b l e v i v a n t e sur l a q u e l l e i l decochera ses f i l c h e s . C'est l u i q u i montera l e s s c i e s , q u i inventera les p e t i t e s p l a i s a n t e r i e s quotidiennes,... C'est l u i q u i demandera a C^I&QEC toutes l e s f e t e s par l a montee d'une bonne b o u t e i l l e . C'est l u i qui re'galera et q u i finalement f e r a payer aux autres son e'cot. Toujours l e premier a r i r e et l e d e r n i e r a payer." 22 That Balzac was not u n f a m i l i a r w i t h t h i s character i s shown when he has the unnamed p a i n t e r say to V a u t r i n "Vous 23 d e v r i e z poser pour un Hercule-Farceur."  I t would seem that  V a u t r i n chose a d i s g u i s e which he f e l t himself capable of c a r r y i n g out f o r an extended period of time, j u s t as he l a t e r chose that of a p r i e s t , thereby imposing a formidable s h i e l d between s o c i e t y and himself. "Sa v o i x de b a s s e - t a i l l e , " undisguis~edsM9IGoriot and recognized even through a Spanish accent i n Splendeurs by Madame Michonneau-Poiret and B i b i Lupin, was "en harmonie avec sa grosse gaieteV' 22. Bertaut,- Op.Cit., p . 5 2 - 5 3 . 23. G o r i o t p.168. 24. Splendeurs p.483.  :  "  -95His  speech i t s e l f i s g e n e r a l l y d i r e c t and f o r c e f u l ^ "  3  devoid of " s t y l e " and peppered w i t h i n t e r j e c t o r y words and phrases such as "Connu, connu, "merci, "Bien o b l i g e " , "Bah!," 26 "pouah!". One of h i s picturesque comparisons i s "malheur27 eux comme l e s p i e r r e s d'e'gout..." and h i s c a l l i n g Mademoiselle Michonneau " l a Vdnus duyPere-Lachaise" and P o i r e t " l e d i e u 28 ,m  des j a r d i n s "  i s unforgettable.  11  Though the tone of Vautrin's  language changes, i t s occasional abundance does not, and i f he i s fond of short expressive words, he i s a l s o as adept a t lengthy speeches i n I l l u s i o n s and Splendeurs as he i s i n Goriot.  Balzac does not h e s i t a t e t o pen page a f t e r page  of Nucingen's p a i n f u l p a t o i s , but Vautrin's t h i c k Spanish accent i s not t r a n s c r i b e d .  The author abandons the use of  phonetic s p e l l i n g as much, one f e e l s , out of respect f o r h i s character as because such d i s t r o t i o n s " h u i r a i e n t a l a rapidite" 29 d'un denoument".  Balzac does t r y to introduce another  element of force i n t o Vautrin's speech by having him use underworld slang, and he expatiates on the strenghc of imagery inherent i n t h i s vocabulary. The e f f e c t i v e n e s s of 25. "lersonne n'a remarque', e t cependant c e l a saute aux jeux e t aux o r e i l l e s combien l a langue de Napoleon 1 , c e t t e langue par p e t i t e s phrases de commandement, l a langue conserved par Las Gasas dans Le Memorial de Sainte-H^l^ne,efetencore mieux dans l e s Entretiens~de Roederer, a e'te' p r i s e et mise par Balzac dans l a bouche de ses types m i l i t a i r e s , gouvernementaux, humanitaires depuis l e s t i r a d l l s de ses hommes d'etat jusqu'aux t i r a d e s de V a u t r i n , Edmond et Jules de Goncourt, J o u r n a l , ( P a r i s : Flammarion and Fasquelle, n.d. E d i t i o n d e f i n i t i v e ) I, 198-199 26. G o r i o t p. 109. 27.Ibid., p. 29. 28.TEI5., p. 168., 29.Splendeurs p. 231. r  -96the device i s almost n u l l i f i e d by the n e c e s s i t y of i n cluding p a r e n t h e t i c a l t r a n s l a t i o n s which are c e r t a i n l y indispensable  though almost as t r y i n g as Nucingen's  A l s a t i a n French. A more successful l i f e - g i v i n g device i s " that of '* the v e i l e d a l l u s i o n s as used between Rastignac and Vau^. trin.  While these a l l u s i o n s are understood by the reader  and the two p a r t i e s concerned, they are not understood by the others i n the boarding house.  When V a u t r i n  finds  Euglne and V i c t o r i n e t a l k i n g together a f t e r dinner, he says " I I y a u r a i t done promesses de mariage entre Monsieur l e c h e v a l i e r de Rastignac e t Mademoiselle V i c t o r i n e 30 Taillefer?"  Rastignac i s extremely embarrassed t o have  V a u t r i n i n t e r p r e t t h i s conversation as a s i g n of c a p i t u l a t i o n t o Vautrin's  scheme.  the duel between Franchessini  Later, V a u t r i n has arranged and V i c t o r i n e ' s. brother and  i s happy a t the prospect of obtaining h i s commission out of the dowry.  To Madame Vauquer's comment on h i s cheer-  f u l n e s s , V a u t r i n , i n h i s r o l e as businessman, r e p l i e s : "--Je s u i s toujours g a i quand j ' a i f a i t de bonnes a f f a i r e s . --Des  a f f a i r e s ? d i t Eugene.  " E h ! bien, o u i . J ' a i l i v r e ' une p a r t i e de marchandise q u i me vaudra de bons d r o i t s de commission." 31 The  i n t e r v i e w between V a u t r i n and Corentin i n G r a n v i l l e ' s  30. Goriot p. 52. 31. I b i d . , p. 168.  -97o f f i c e i s almost as loaded w i t h c u t t i n g remarks as i s that between Madame de Beauseant and Madame de Langeais i n 32 Goriot. V a u t r i n acknowledges defeat but t e l l s Core n t i n that i t was a c o s t l y v i c t o r y . "Oui, r^pondit Core n t i n , en acceptant  l a p l a i s a n t e r i e ; s i vous avez perdu 33  votre r e i n e , moi j ' a i perdu mes deux t o u r s . . . "  And  again, "Monsieur, monsieur, d i t Jacques C o l l i n , vous m'accablez...De votre p a r t , ces ^loges f e r a i e n t perdre l a t e t e . . . - - l i s sont m e ' r i t ^ s ! "  34  In passing, one should a l s o mention Vautrin's gest u r e s , many of which merely i l l u s t r a t e h i s herculean strength, but most of which have, again, to do w i t h the r o l e he i s p l a y i n g i n h i s d i s g u i s e s .  At the age of f i f t y ,  he has no d i f f i c u l t y i n h o i s t i n g himself through a s k y l i g h t to escape p u r s u i t , and does so w i t h as much ease as he embraced Madame Vauquer's large circumference.  On the  pretence of embracing Corentin, he picks him up b o d i l y and sets him outside G r a n v i l l e ' s o f f i c e .  His Herculean  strength even has a negative value when i t i s compared to the strength of the drug administered by Mademoiselle Michonneau and when V a u t r i n allows Lucien to knock him down.  He seems to forget h i s usual r e s t r a i n t when he  32. I b i d . , p. 82. 33. Splendeurs p. 611. 34. I b i d . , pT~612.  -98pushes Goriot's hat down over h i s ears.  But since t h i s  occurs i n a s l a p s t i c k episode, we can assume e i t h e r that Balzac was c a r r i e d away w i t h h i s p o r t r a y a l of the or that V a u t r i n was r e i n f o r c i n g h i s d i s g u i s e .  Farceur  One r e -  c a l l s a l s o the scene i n the p r i s o n courtyard during which V a u t r i n gives a l l the appearances of being a p r i e s t unctuously consoling the wretched while he i s i n r e a l i t y d i s c u s s i n g d a s t a r d l y c r i m i n a l a f f a i r s i n energetic underworld slang.  The e f f e c t i s heightened by the f a c t that  some of h i s r e a c t i o n s are p e r f e c t l y genuine, as, f o r example, when he learns that C a l v i i s about to be executed.  While Camusot i s questioning V a u t r i n and  telling  him the l i f e - h i s t o r y of h i s aunt Jacqueline, V a u t r i n i s c a r e f u l to t h i n k about h i s happy childhood  --"me'ditation  q u i l u i donnait un a i r veritablement e'tonn!.  Malgre'  l ' h a b i l i t e de sa d i c t i o n i n t e r r o g a t i v e , Camusot n'arracha 35 pas un mouvement a c e t t e physionomie p l a c i d e " .  In  sum,  we are i n c l i n e d to agree g e n e r a l l y w i t h Bertaut's e v a l u a t i o n of Balzac's r e n d i t i o n of Vautrin's words and gestures.  " Admirons que Balzae ne l ' a i t pas dou6 de l a faconde dont l'eut d o t ! plus d'un g c r i v a i n de son temps, e t , a. part l e monologue devant Rastignac, l u i a i t conserve" une sobri^te' de paroles et de gestes q u i en f a i t un personnage ve'ridique dans 1 exceptionnel et sincere dans 1 outrance."36  35. I b i d . , p. 418. 36. Bertaut, pp. 86-87.  -99Turning from the p h y s i c a l to the moral aspects  of  the character, we f i n d that Balzac has given V a u t r i n the motivation which other r e b e l heroes l a c k and which d i s tinguishes him from them.  Not only i s the motivation ad-  equate, but i t i s based on what may be c a l l e d e x t e r n a l i s s u e s : the p l i g h t of the transgressor of laws -- both as c o n v i c t and as ex-convict; the s t a t e of mind of the i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d ; that of the homosexual and  finally  the whole p a t t e r n of s o c i a l hypocrisy and i n c o n s i s t e n c y . Though Balzac l i k e d to consider h i m s e l f , and i s indeed most o f t e n considered, a s o c i a l h i s t o r i a n , he should be regarded a l s o as a s o c i a l reformer because of the i n sistence w i t h which he spoke of the e v i l s of branding, of the law concerning " c o n t r a i n t e par corps", a subject 37 a l s o t r e a t e d by Appert ence of the p r i s o n s .  , and of the c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u The characters Jacques Farrabesche  and Maxence G i l e t both provide the occasion f o r d i a t r i b e s against the c o r r u p t i o n and immorality of prisons and V a u t r i n acts out i n h i s adventures what i s said i n connection w i t h the others.  The i m p l i c a t i o n i s that i f  V u a t r i n were not corrupt before going to p r i s o n , he would have had ample motive f o r being so a f t e r h i s r e l e a s e or escape.  The sorry p l i g h t of the ex-convict was known  37. Benjamin Appert, Bagnes, prisons et c r i m i n e l s ( P a r i s : Guibert, 1836), pp.134-148.  -100to Balzac through reading Benjamin Appert, V i c t o r Hugo and Vidocq.  Society, by i t s use of tie brand mark and  the yellow work-card, refused to be s a t i s f i e d w i t h the penalty i t had i t s e l f assigned f o r a given offense, and by making i t impossible f o r ex-convicts to earn a decent l i v i n g , forced them back i n t o crime.  I t i s this kind  of i l l o g i c a l i t y as w e l l as the b a r b a r i t y which s o c i e t y d i s p l a y s f o r the i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d and f o r the homosexual which i n f u r i a t e s V a u t r i n .  Because he i s i n t h i s  t h r e e f o l d manner r e j e c t e d by s o c i e t y and because he i s a c u t e l y aware of the waste of h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l f a c u l t i e s , Vautrin i n turn rejects society.  However, h i s need f o r  love i s greater than h i s hatred of the e v i l that s o c i e t y represents and we have seen how t h i s need u n d e r l i e s a l l his actions. In V a u t r i n ' s p o r t r a i t , Balzac has gone to great lengths bo?make h i s character as r e a l i s t i c as p o s s i b l e by a t t r i b u t i n g to him i d i o s y n c r a c i e s i n gesture, speech and tone and has taken great care to prepare us f o r any d e v i a t i o n s i n t h i s p o r t r a i t by emphasizing Vautrin's mast e r y of d i s g u i s e .  That the r e l a t i o n s h i p between author  and creature i s c l o s e i s unquestionable  but that t h i s  r e a l i t y had to be to some extent deformed was a form of s e l f - p r o t e c t i o n .  necessary  In conclusion however, Balzac's  -101e f f o r t s i n r e a l i s m have been rewarded by the c r e a t i o n of a more intense c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . Balzac and Symbolism How much should be s a i d of symbolism i n connection w i t h an author who died i n 1850?  Perhaps a great d e a l .  Perhaps t h i s i s the " r e a l " symbolism since i t i s , or may be, unconscious, In any case, there would seem to be, i n the f i r s t pages of G o r i o t , too many words p o i n t i n g to V a u t r i n to l e t t h i s aspect of Balzac's technique go unnoticed.  Indeed, Balzac seems to i n v i t e examination of  h i s t e x t i n t h i s l i g h t when he says of Madame Vauquer's statue of Love: " A v o i r l e v e r n i s e"caill£ q u i l a couvre, l e s amateurs de symboles y de'couvriraient un mythe de 1'amour p a r i s i e n qu'on gu£rit a quelques pas de la."38 Many words express confinement, r e s t r a i n t -- the confinement and r e s t r a i n t of a p r i s o n whose presence i s invoked d i r e c t l y when Balzac r e f e r s to Madame Vauquer's p o s i t i o n i n r e l a t i o n to the pension saying: "Le bagne ne va pas sans l ' a r g o u s i n , vous n'imaginerez pas l'un sans l ' a u t r e . " C e r t a i n l y a l s o l e bagne ne va pas sans 3e bagnard.  Confine  ment i s even i n d i c a t e d by Balzac's c a l l i n g the rue NeuveSainte-Genevieve "un cadre de bronze, l e seul q u i convienne a ce re"cit, auquel on ne s a u r a i t t r o p preparer 1 ' i n t e l l i g e n c e par des couleurs brunes, par des i d i e s g r a v e s " ( I t a l i c s ours).  The walk i s "borde^e de ger-  38. G o r i o t pp. 27-30 and on the f o l l o w i n g two pages.  -102aniums"; the courtyard, which has no part i n the s t o r y , i s an enclosure " l a r g e d'environ v i n g t pieds," and mention i s made of the engraving i n the d i n i n g room, "eneadre'es en bois n o i r . "  Surely one could never be so aware of  w a l l s any place but i n a p r i s o n -- even L a t i n w a l l s - - f f o r when one f i n i s h e s the s t o r y , "peut-£tre aixa-t-on vers6 quelques larmes i n t r a muros et e x t r a . "  In the s t r e e t  grass grows along the w a l l s , and the w a l l s smell p r i s o n like.  The garden i s flanked by the facade and along the  fapade i s an area of pebbles.  There i s a w a l l opposite  the s t r e e t and a t n i g h t a s o l i d door blocks o f f the s t r e e t . The garden i s as wide as the facade i s long, and i s " e n caiss£ par l e mur de l a rue et l e mur mitoyen" of the neighbouring house.  Each of tbase w a l l s i s decorated w i t h  e s p a l i e r s and vines and along each w a l l i s a pathway. T The facade i s four s t o r i e s high.  With small v i o l e n c e to  Lovelace, stone w a l l s may not a p r i s o n make --even the twelve references to them i n the fifrst four pages of Goriot -- nor i r o n bars-a cage, although there are rae enough references to the l a t t e r to s t r o n g l y suggest a p r i s o n -- beginning w i t h the "porte a c l a i r e - v o i e " opening onto the s t r e e t .  The same "porte a c l a i r e v o i e e s t  remplacee par une porte p l e i n e " a t n i g h t f a l l .  "Les cinq  c r o i s e e s percees a. chaque £tage ont de p e t i t e s carreaux et sont garnies de j a l o u s i e s dont aucune n'est releve"e  -103de l a m£me maniere, en sorte que toutes leurs l i g n e s j u r e n t entre e l l e s " .  On the s t r e e t s i d e of the house the "deux  croise'es... ont pour ornement des barreaux en f e r grillage's". One enters the house through a "porte-f ene^tre" w i t h i t s suggestion of bars aad one sees again the two "croise'es de l a rue" w i t h t h e i r i r o n bars.  The f u r n i t u r e i s sadly  upholstered i n "e'toffe de c r i n a r a i e s alternativement mates e t l u i s a n t e s " .  Again, on the panel "d*entre l e s  croise'es g r i l l a g ^ e s " , i s the scene of Calypso's f e a s t f o r Ulysses' sons.  The mantlepiece i s decorated w i t h  " f l e u r s a r t i f i c i e l l e s , v i e i l l e s et encage^es," and the l i v i n g room "sent l a renferm!".  In a corner of the d i n i n g  room i s a " b o i t e ai cases" w i t h i t s v e r t i c a l and h o r i z o n t a l l i n e s , "qui s e r t a garder l e s s e r v i e t t e s " . The d i n i n g room i s separated from the k i t c h e n by " l a cage d'un e s c a l i e r dont l e s marches sont en b o i s et en carreaux" In the enclosed courtyard hangs " l e garde-manger" and at the end of i t the shed "a. s c i e r l e b o i s " .  The board-  ing house, l i k e a p r i s o n , "admet l e s hommes et des femmes, des jeunes gens e t des v i e i l l a r d s " .  Balzac com-  p l a i n s here that the word"drame" has been treated i n a "maniere...tortionnaire." A P a r i s i a n wandering i n t o t h i s s t r e e t would only see "de l a joyeuse jeunesse c o n t r a i n t e a t r a v a i l l e r , " a n d the young boarders b e l i e v e themselves superior to t h e i r p o s i t i o n by mocking Madame Vauquer's dinner,"auquel l a misere l e s condamne." In  -104the d i n i n g room are pieces of f u r n i t u r e " p r o s c r i t s part o u t , mais place's la. comme l e sont l e s d e b r i s de l a c i v i l i s a t i o n aux Incurables."  I f a l l the preceding are  slanted toward producing a f e e l i n g of confinement, rest r a i n t and p r i s o n , what of the famous wallpaper and the statue of Love?  In Splendeurs et mi'seres des c o u r t i s a n e s , 39  Balzac c a l l s V a u t r i n Lucien s mentor, and i n I l l u s i o n s perdues, V a u t r i n r e f e r r i n g to man's "de'sir s o u v e r a i n " ^ f o r companionship, says: " I I y a l a tout un poeme a. f a i r e q u i s e r a i t l'avant-scene  du Paradis perdu, q u i n'est que  l'apologie de l a ReVolte. - - C e l u i - I a s e r a i t 1 ' I l l i a d e de l a c o r r u p t i o n , d i t Lucien."^''"  I t i s Minerva ( V a u t r i n . . .  c o n n a i s s a i t tout d ' a i l l e u r s . . . " ) i n the guise of Mentor who leads Telemachus i n search of h i s f a t h e r .  The statue  of Love - - " q u i que t u s o i s , v o i c i ton maltre:/ I I l ' e s t , l e f u t ou l e d o i t e^tre."  Scaly as i t i s , i t can rep-  resent Vautrin's as w e l l as Goriot's f e e l i n g s -- both pathological.  And we should not forget the famous s i g n :  "Pension bourgeoise  des deux sexes e t a u t r e s " hanging c  over the "porte-batarde"! Compared to t h i s compact mass of suggestive images or symbols paving the way f o r V a u t r i n , the preparation accorded h i s entrance i n I l l u s i o n s perdues i s v a s t l y i n f e r i o r through i t s obviousness. 39y.t~Splendeurs p. 196. 40. I l l u s i o n s ~ p . 602. 41. I b i d . , p. 602. 42. Goriot p. 27.  45. ; '  One r e c a l l s  Lucien's  -105l e t t e r to h i s s i s t e r i n which he wrote "Je ne puis a c q u e r i r de v a l e u r que par un mariage avec une volonte' f o r t e , impitoyable." pages l a t e r .  and V a u t r i n s entrance two or three 1  Perhaps Balzac f e l t that extensive prep-  a r a t i o n was no longer necessary f o r V a u t r i n to appear i n I l l u s i o n s perdues and i n Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes.  I t i s almost c e r t a i n that some mysterious  process of a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the p r i s o n and prisoner images i n the f i r s t pages of Le P l r e Goriot makes the presence of the escaped c o n v i c t i n t h i s boarding house as n a t u r a l and ...believable as a r t i s t i c t a l e n t i s capable of making i t . Conclusion Balzac's d e v i a t i o n from h i s usual mode of desc r i p t i o n i s a f i r s t clue i n d i c a t i n g h i s d i f f e r i n g approach to V a u t r i n .  The lack of d e t a i l s , so a t y p i c a l of the ."  author, nevertheless achieves a strong sense of r e a l i s m by encouraging the reader's imaginative p a r t i c i p a t i o n . We smell V a u t r i n , hear h i s awful v o i c e , we are struck by h i s gestures, f e e l h i s penetrating gaze and are overwhelmed by a tremendous aura of power. step to f i l l i n any missing d e t a i l s .  I t i s but another The suggestion  and i n t e n s i t y t y p i c a l of Balzac's e f f o r t s i n r e a l i s m are a l s o evident i n h i s f i r s t attempts a t a form of symbolism. Because V a u t r i n i s such a prominent underworld f i g 43. I l l u s ions p.581. . _  -106ure, i t seems n a t u r a l that Balzac's symbolism should be derived from p e n i t e n t i a r y imagery and include terms of r e s t r a i n t and repression.  Through t h e i r use we are  subtly prepared f o r the d i s c l o s u r e of Vautrin's calling.  true  Combining r e a l i s m w i t h e a r l y attempts a t sym-  bolism, Balzac achieves one of h i s most s u c c e s s f u l l y realistic  characters.  CHAPTER SIX:  CONCLUDING NOTES  The f i r s t chapter of our study set out to f i n d the sources of Balzac's V a u t r i n .  By asking ourselves whether  or not V a u t r i n was an innovation, we a r r i v e d at several p o s s i b l e l i t e r a r y prototypes, dominated by the  influ-  ence of Ann R a d c l i f f e , Byron, Goethe and S c h i l l e r i n particular.  In t h e i r works, i t was p o s s i b l e t o d i s c e r n  a remarkable s i m i l a r i t y i n the p h y s i c a l and metaphysic a l make-up of t h e i r most s u c c e s s f u l characters and the make-up of V a u t r i n . Dark, s i n i s t e r deeds are cloaked i n an aura o f c h i l l i n g mystery which no one dares question once they have been mesmerized by the penetrating g l a r e of Conrad Moor, Schedoni, the Giaour and V a u t r i n ,  He shares the  fearsome and r e b e l l i o u s s p i r i t of a Conrad, the s o c i a l c o r r u p t i o n of a K a r l Moor and the deep longing t o escape i t a l l i n some paradise that c h a r a c t e r i z e s Rene'. V a u t r i n shares a l l t h e s e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i t h h i s predecessors as w e l l as an a b i l i t y to r i s e to h e r o i c proportions as a v i l l a i n as do Melmoth, Ferragus and Satan. At times V a u t r i n seems deserving of our sympathy as a champion wrong-doer and dresser of wrongs operating against and: e v i l , corrupt s o c i e t y , on h i s own or as a leader of adventurers l i n k e d by a common cause.  Just  -108how many can c l a i m to be at l e a s t p a r t i a l prototypes of t h i s remarkable the question. his  f i g u r e of l i t e r a t u r e , i s r e a l l y not  We have shown that he shares many of  outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i t h h i s l i t e r a r y  predecessors and i t only remains f o r us to see how Balzac synthesized these i n f l u e n c e s w i t h those of the r e a l prototypes  life  of nineteenth-century s o c i e t y .  Both i n l i f e patterns and p h y s i c a l appearance, V a u t r i n bears a stong resemblence to two  legendary  f i g u r e s of reformed c r i m i n a l i t y of Balzac's time. Vidocq and Coignard share not only lengthy c r i m i n a l records w i t h Balzac's "Machiavel du bagne", but they a l s o d i s t i n g u i s h e d themselves by e v e n t u a l l y applying t h e i r knowledge of the underworld i n the s e r v i c e of Law and Order.  As reformed c r i m i n a l s a l l three rose to great  heights as they had done i n t h e i r buccaneer days.  That  Balzac was a master at combining both the l i t e r a r y i n f l u e n c e s w i t h the s e n s a t i o n a l r e a l i t y of h i s day i n the c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n there can be no doubt.  As our  study progresses however we f i n d that there i s much more to t h i s complex c r e a t i o n than a mere s y n t h e s i z i n g of outside i n f l u e n c e s . Chapter Two succeeds i n e x p l o r i n g the complexity of Vautrin's make-up.  Combined w i t h prototypes,  ary and h i s t o r i c a l , are character a t t r i b u t e s by Balzac's personal c r e a t i v e a b i l i t y .  liter-  developed  Two of these  -109prominent features of V a u t r i n s character are elaborated 1  upon i n t h i s chapter: mystery and power. R e f l e c t i n g the author's t a s t e f o r secret machinations and h i s f a s c i n a t i o n by the t h e o r i e s of G a l l , Lavater  and  Mesmer, are V a u t r i n s a t t r i b u t e s of mysteriousness  and  1  an aura, of power.  The techniques used to convey these  a t t r i b u t e s are examined i n d e t a i l as i s t h e i r i n f l u e n c e s on V a u t r i n s f e l l o w characters. 1  In f a c t , they are only  revealed to us through two sources: e i t h e r viewed as a technique of the author's, or as reacted to by the r e c i p i e n t s , v i c t i m s or whatever.  In other words the  r e s t r a i n t used i n g i v i n g d e t a i l s of Vautrin's former l i f e , the omission of a cataloguing of h i s crimes,  and  the ambiguousness of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h young  men  are techniques of the author's, used to perpetuate  a  sense of mystery and power.  On the other hand, the  p o r t r a i t of those other Vautrinesque  features that  convey a sense of mystery and power, such as h i s p h y s i c a l ! appearance, h i s f i n a n c i a l resources or h i s motivations, are revealed c l e a r l y by V a u t r i n himself..  Rather,  we  gain our impression of them through the impression they; make on h i s f e l l o w s .  A c l e v e r heightening of  emotional  r e a c t i o n i s thereby a t t a i n e d by the author. F i n a l l y , because of the r e c u r r i n g s i m i l a r i t i e s and ambiguous references, we f e l t i t r e l e v a n t to draw a  -110p a r a l l e l between V a u t r i n and Satan.  There i s much  evidence to support a demonic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of V a u t r i n . This p o s s i b i l i t y i s demonstrated by our d e t a i l e d study of the mystery and power which dominates the persona of V a u t r i n . Having introduced a l l the more important  aspects  of Vautrin's character, we then explored his. " r a i s o n dj§tre, h i s "passion".  Beginning w i t h a look a t Balzac's  own emancipated ideas on s o c i a l r e s p o n s a b i l i t y to the individual.  We see that h i s motivation can i n part be  traced t o h i s strong d i s l i k e of the bourgeoisie and h i s own personal f a i l u r e i n s e v e r a l aspects of s o c i a l behaviour.  His own s o c i a l awareness increased h i s d e s i r e  to a l e r t others to the i l l s and e v i l s i n f e c t i n g s o c i e t y . The c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n came as a n a t u r a l r e s u l t of this desire. P a r t i c u l a r l y i n f l u e n c e d by Godwin's Caleb W i l l i a m s , and h i s ideas on the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the c r i m i n a l ' s struggle against s o c i e t y , Balzac's a n t i - s o c i a l ideas are voiced through V a u t r i n among others.  The passing of the  great Napoleonic e r a a l s o g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d the c r e a t i o n of V a u t r i n .  Through him, Balzac expresses the f r u s t r a t i o n  of those not born to power and r i c h e s but who have been stimulated by Napoleon's example. Having explored Balzac's reasons f o r c r e a t i n g an  -111a n t i - s o c i a l .mouthpiece, we t u r n to V a u t r i n i n order to e s t a b l i s h h i s r i g h t to e x i s t as a separate There can be no question that he was i n h i s anarchy.  entity.  fully justified  The deplorable l i f e he l e d , fraught  w i t h s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e s , makes h i s r e v o l t a b e l i e v a b l e one.  For him there are but two p o s s i b i l i t i e s : s t u p i d  obedience to an oppressive order or open r e v o l t .  He  accomplishes the l a t t e r most e f f e c t i v e l y through the use of intermediaries such as Eugene and Lucien.  Their  triumph and success i n the s o c i a l world, despite a l l odds, come to represent Vautrin's triumph.  Using  s t o l e n mone and blackmail V a u t r i n creates the a l l important  image f o r h i s prote'gds - power and  wealth;  proving that s o c i e t y f o r g i v e s the means by which these two gods m a t e r i a l i z e themselves.  Claiming  forcefully  that honesty has no s o c i a l value, V a u t r i n combines h i s s k i l l at c o r r u p t i o n and an " € e l a t de ge'nie"tto complete h i s revenge. We have thus c l e a r l y shown the intimate l i n k between V a u t r i n and h i s creator through the s i m i l a r i t y of t h e i r s o c i a l consciousness.  Vautrin's success as a  s p i r i t of r e v o l t i s l a r g e l y due to the n a t u r a l understanding that Balzac had f o r h i s motivations.  We have  been c a r e f u l to s t r e s s however, that while V a u t r i n expresses many of Balzac's f r u s t r a t i o n s  and  reforming  -112-  ideas, he i s w e l l  able to stand apart from h i s c r e a t o r .  His anarchy not only seems j u s t i f i a b l e , but the success of h i s r e v o l t wins our admiration. Dealing w i t h Vautrin's amorous i n c l i n a t i o n s , Chapter Four expresses another aspect of Vautrin's revolt.  In examining the major reasons f o r Vautrin's  f a i l u r e to overthrow s o c i e t y , we are f a ed w i t h h i s overwhelming need of companionship and love.  This  flaw i n an otherwise i n d e s t r u c t i b l e w i l l to power, r e s u l t s i n h i s u l t i m a t e downfall.  However, because he  i s a homosexual, the form of t h i s love i s a r e v o l t i n i t s e l f and, even as he loses h i s f i g h t against s o c i e t y , he might have been able to lose w i t h a smile.  The  reason he doesn't l i e s i n the dual nature of h i s love. His homosexuality  i s c l o s e l y a l l i e d toj a strong p a t e r n a l  d r i v e so that i n l o s i n g Eugene, Lucien and almost C a l v i , he loses not only a w i l l i n g agent but a l o v e r and a son. E x p l o r i n g the reasons f o r t h i s innovative character t r a i t , we f i n d that there are s e v e r a l p o s s i b l e sources. F i r s t , a l i t e r a r y precedent was set by Venice  Preserved  i n which an intimate bond between two men i s portrayed. Secondly, we f i n d i n Balzac's own w r i t i n g s ample evidence of h i s previous attempts to portray r e l a t i o n s h i p s between members of the same sex, though i n a much l e s s overt manner.  Most important perhaps, i s Balzac's strong b e l i e f  -113that women and power don't mix. Having set out to port r a y an almost completely s u c c e s s f u l f i g u r e of r e v o l t , he had to j u s t i f y the removal of d i s t r a c t i n g lures.  feminine  Hence the s o l u t i o n found i n a p a t e r n a l or homo—  sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p . V a u t r i n , i t appears, opts f o r homosexuality  i n his  love f o r C a l v i , Eugene and Lucien, while Balzac, perhaps to be l e s s o f f e n s i v e to h i s readers, emphasises the paternal side of Vautrin's r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h young men. E i t h e r option leaves V a u t r i n w i t h a c e r t a i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y . I t would seem that he i s only a t t a c k a b l e through t h i s weakness and indeed, i t i s as a r e s u l t of h i s love f o r Lucien that he gives himself up to the forces of Law and Order. Our f i n a l chapter explored the r e a l i s m w i t h which Balzac endows V a u t r i n .  Making him come a l i v e through  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of speech, gesture and a t t i t u d e y e t a l l o w i n g f o r Vautrin's chameleon-like  changes by s t r e s s i n g  h i s command of d i s g u i s e s , Balzac involves h i s reader t o t a l l y i n his creation.  He heightens Vautrin's impor-  tance by a t t i b u t i n g symbolism to h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s , a c t i o n s and words.  Balzac's use of symbolism enables  us to seemmore of the inner emotions and forces that a mere p o r t r a y a l would. In summary, Balzac shares Lucien's r e a c t i o n compounded of scorn and admiration, so that the reader w i l l  -lite detest h i s a c t i o n s but pay t r i b u t e to the source which galvanizes them. "C'est qu'ordinairement l a grandeur de caractere r l s u l t e de l a balance de p l u s i e u r s q u a l i t i e s oppose"es." 1 explained Rameau's nephew.  Like a l l of the great f i g u r e s  i n world l i t e r a t u r e , V a u t r i n moves u l t i m a t e l y from the l i m i t a t i o n s imposed by h i s c r e a t o r and c l e a r s h i s  own  path to immorality. Balzac considered V a u t r i n one of h i s warmest characters.  He has put i n t o him some of the fervour  that burnedaat the centre of h i s own being.  To keep  up appearances, Balzac^seems a t times to condemn h i s c r e a t i o n but behind thesmoral chastisement! however, there i s a strong sense of sympathy.  As an example of  the forces which a t t r a c t us to that immoral f i g u r e of r e v o l t , l e t us re-read Lucien's f a r e w e l l l e t t e r , a l e t t e r which Balzac thought well-enough... of to put twice before the reader's eyes i n Splendeurs: "... I I y a l a p o s t e r i t e de Cain et c e l l e vdt'tAbel^comme vous d i s i e z quelquefois. Cain, dans l e grand drame de 1 Humanite', c'est 1'opposition. Vous descende>z d'Adam par c e t t e l i g n e en q u i l e d i a b l e a continue' de s o u f f l e r l e feu dont l a premiere e t i n c e l l e a v a i t 6t6 j e t ^ e sur Eve. Parmi l e s demons de c e t t e f i l i a t i o n , i l s^en trouve, de temps en temps, de t e r r i b l e s , a organisations vastes, q u i re'sument toutes l e s forces humaines et q u i ressemblent a ces f i e v r e u x animaux du desert dont l a v i e exige l e s espaces immenses q u ' i l s y trouvent. Ces gens-la sont dangereux dans l a s o c i e t e comme des l i o n s l e s e r a i e n t en p l e i n e Normandie: i l l e u r faut une pature, i l s deVorent l e s 1. Diderot, Le Neveu de Rameau (Geneve: Jean Eabre),1950j  p.73.  -115hommes v u l g a i r e s e t broutent l e s e'cus des n i a i s ; l e u r s jeux sont s i pe^rilleux q u ' i l s f i n i s s e n t par tuer l humble chien dont i l s se sont f a i t un compagnon, une i d o l e . Quand Dieu l e veut, ces etres myste'rieux sont Mo'ise, A t t i l a , Charlemagne, Mahomet ou Napoleon; mais quand i l l a i s s e s r o u i l l e r au fond de l'ocean d'une generation ces instruments gigantesques, i l s ne sontpplus que Pugatcheff, Robespierre, Louvel et l'abbe" Carlos Herrera. . Dou£s d'un immense pouvoir sur l e s ames tendres, i l s l e s a t t i r e n t et l e s b r o i e n t . -C'est g^and, c'est beau dans §6ii genre. C'est l a plante ven^neuse aux r i c h e s couleurs q u i f a s c i n e n t l e s enfants dans l e s b o i s . C'est l a po£sie du mal. Des hommes comme vous autres doivent h a b i t e r des antres e t n'en pas s o r t i r . Tu m'as f a i t v i v r e de c e t t e v i e gigantesque, e t j ' a i b i e n mon compte de l ' e x i s t e n c e . A i n s i , j e puis r e t i r e r ma t e t e des n^oeuds gordiens de t a p o l i t i q u e , pour l a donner au noeud coulant de ma cravate... 1  Adieu done, adieu, grandiose statue du mal et de l a c o r r u p t i o n , adieu, vous q u i , dans l a bonne v o i e , eussiez ete plus que Ximenes, plus que R i c h e l i e u ; . . . Ne me r e g r e t t e z pas: mon mejpris pour vous e t a i t £gal a mon admiration." 2  Each reader of the Comgdie humaine can, w i t h the marvelous freedom accorded readers, choose one or another character as h i s f a v o r i t e .  But there i s probably none  more s o l i d l y imposing than t h i s f i g u r e as ambiguous and complex as human beings are complex, and ambiguous, and to whom Balzac r e f e r s as t h i s "Alpe f r o i d e , blanche et voisine, du c i e l , i n a l t e r a b l e et s o u r c i l l e u s e , aux flanes de g r a n i t , e t cependant b i e n f a i s a n t " . ^ Just as h i s c r e a t o r says "... l e s plus £tonnants coups de 2/ Splendeurs pp. 500-501. ( L e t t e r a l s o on pp. 463-465.) 3. I b i d . , p. 82.  -IK-  foudre avaient pu seuls l e changer, s i t o u t e f o i s une 4 p a r e i l l e nature e t a i t s u s c e p t i b l e de changement  ?  ,  so does one suspect that readers' f o r a long time to come w i l l continue to regard w i t h f e e l i n g s as mixed as those expressed i n Lucien's l e t t e r , t h i s f i g u r e standing at the end of Balzac's work and dominating i t all.  4. 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New Brunswick: Rutgers U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1957. Gozlan, Le'on. n.d.  Balzac intime. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e  Guiraud, Edmond.  Vautrin.  illustree.  P a r i s : 1923.  Guy on, Bernard. La Cremation l i t t e ^ r a i r e chez Balzac. P a r i s : C o l i n , 1969. La Pense^e p o l i t i q u e e t s o c i a l e de Balzac. C o l i n , 1967.  Paris:  Haycraft, Howard. Murder f o r Pleasure. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1941. Hemmings, Frederick. Balzac: an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of La Comgciie humaine'. New York: Random House, 1967. 1  Hourdin, Georges. Balzac: romancier des p a s s i o n s . P a r i s : Ed. Les Temps presents, 1950. Hunt, Herbert. Balzac' s ' Comdclie himine'. London: Unive r s i t y of London Press, 1964. Lavater, Johann. L'Art de connaltre l e s hommes par l a £physio nomi e. P a r i s : N i l e Ed., augmentee par M. Moreau, 1806-1809.  yily31  Le Breton, Andre'. Balzac, 1'homme et 1'oeuvre. P a r i s : B o i v i n et C i e . , 1925. L o t t e , Fernand. D i c t i o n n a i r e biographique des personnages f i c t i f s de 'La Comddie humaine. P a r i s : C o r t i , 1952; Marceau, Fe'licien. Balzac et_son monde. E d i t i o n revue et augmente'e, P a r i s : G a l l i m a r d , 1970. Maturin, Charles. Melmoth the Wanderer. I n t r o d u c t i o n by W.Faxton. L i n c o l n , Nebraska: Bison, 1961.  -121-  Mauriac, Claude. Maurois, Andr! . 1965.  Aimer Balzac. P a r i s : C o l i n , 1945. Prometheus. New York: Harper and Row,  -  M i l a t c h i t c h , Douchan. P a r i s : Hachette,  Le Theatre de Honor! de Balzac. iJW.  O l i v e r , Edward. Honor! de Balzac. New York: Macmillan and Company, 1964. Poulet, Georges. 1952.  La Distance i n t ! r i e u r e . P a r i s : Plon, "  Etude sur l e temps humain.Paris: Plon, 1949. Praz, Mario. 1956.  The Romantic Agony. New York: M e r i d i a n ,  Preston, E t h e l . Recherches sur l a technique de Balzac: Le Retour systematique des personnages dans 'La~ Com!die humaine.'Paris: Presses f r a n p a i s e s , 1926. P r i o u l t , Albert. Balzac ayant 'La Com!die humaine'. P a r i s : C o u r v i l l e , 1936. Rogers, Samuel. Ba1zac and the Nove1. Madison: Univers'.. t y osi¥ysof nWis.consin. Pre"ss, 1953. Royce, W i l l i a m . A Balzac B i b l i o g r a p h y . Chicago: Universi s i t y of Chicago Press, 1929. Sainte-Beuve, Charles. Les Grands E c r i v a i n s Romanciers. P a r i s : Garnier, 1927.  francais:  Savant, Jean. La V i e fabuleuse et authentique de Vidocq. P a r i s : E d i t i o n du S e u i l , 1950. S c h i l l e r , Fr!deric.  Les Brigands. New York: Ungar, 1961.  S c h i l l i n g , Bernard. The Hero as F a i l u r e : Balzac and the Rubempr!' Cycle. Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1968. Spoelberch de Louvenjoul, Vicomte. H i s t o i r e des oeuvres de Honor! de Balzac. P a r i s : CalmannLevy, 1888.  -122Vaughan, Charles. The Romantic Revolt. London: Blackwood, 1907^ Vidcoq, F r a n c o i s . Memoires de Vidocq. P a r i s : Tenon, 1828-1829"; .  ~  l g 3 7 >  Les Voleurs. P a r i s : Chez l'auteur,  •  . Les V r a i s Memoires de Vidocq. Ed. Jean Savant, P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Corre"a, 1950. Werblowsky, K.J. Zwi. L u c i f e r and Prometheus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul L t d . , 1952. Wilson, Edmund. 1950.  Axel's C a s t l e . New York: S c r i b n e r s , ~  Wurmser, Andre\ La Come'die inhumaine. P a r i s : G a l l i mard, 1964. Zweig,ZStefan?L.efBalzac. New York: The V i k i n g Press, 1946. "~  Articles Gould, C. "The Present State of Balzac Studies". French Studies. 1970. X I I , 299-323. . .. • Richer, M.F. "Autour de l a pierce ' V a u t r i n ' " . Merciire de France. 1 novembre, 1950, pp. 178-189. Roux, F. "Balzac j u r i s c o n s u l t e e t c r i m i n a l i s t e " . Lyon: Archives d'Anthropologie c r i m i n e l l e . 1906.  XXI,  67-74.  V e r n i ^ r e , P. "Balzac e t l a gene^se de VautrinV. Revue d ' h i s t o i r e l i t t e r a i r e . juillet-de'cembre, 1939. pp. 180-200. janvier-mars, 1948. pp.53-68. Works by Balzac a. F i c t i o n Balzac, Honore' de. Oeuvres completes de Honore de Balzac. P a r i s : Conard, 1940. I l l u s i o n s perdues. P a r i s : GarnierFlammarion, 196"5T .  -123Balzac, Honore' de. Le Pere G o r i o t . P a r i s : GarnierFlammarion, I96TT. Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes. P a r i s : Garnier-Flammarion, 1968. b. Correspondence Balzac, Honore de. Correspondance 1819-1850. P a r i s : Calmann- Levy, 1B77~. . Correspondance i n c i t e avec Madame Zulma Carraud 1829-1850. P a r i s : Armand C o l i n , 1935. . r—i. Correspondance ineldite avec l a Duchess de C a s t r i e s 1831-1848. P a r i s : Ed. Lapina, 1928. L e t t r e s \ l'Etrangere 1833-1844. P a r i s : Calmann-L€vy, 1954. . L e t t e r s to h i s Family. Ed. W.S. Hastings, P r i n c e t o n : Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1934.  •124«  APPENDIX « BIOGRAPHIC SKETCH OF VAUTRIN  1  Fausse i d e n t i t e p r i s e par Jacques C o l l i n , sous l a q u e l l e i l est l e plus connu. Ne en 1779, f i t ses Etudes aui c o l l e g e des Oratoriens jusqu'a l a rhdtorique (S&M) et debuta commis dans une banque ou l e placa sa tante, Jacqueline C o l l i n , q u i l ' a v a i t elevi. I l y endossa l a responsabilite* d'un faux en • i c r i t u r e (S&M), commis "par un t r l s beau jeune homme q u ' i l aimait beaucoup, jeune I t a l i e n assez joueur q u i entra dans 1 1'armeV ( l e c o l o n e l Franchessini) (PG). Condamn£ pour ce, d'elit \ cinq ans de travaux forces (S&M), i l f u t envoy! au bagne et s'en evada. Dissimulant son i d e n t i t ! sous c e l l e d'un s i e u r V a u t r i n , r e n t i e r , i l se t r o u v a i t a P a r i s en 1815 pensionnaire a. l a pension Vauquer, rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve . I I y r e s t a jusqu'en 1820. La p r o p r i ! t a i r e a v a i t s i grande confiance en l u i q u ' i l e t a i t l e seul a posse'der un passepartout, ses " a f f a i r e s " l ' o b l i g e a n t a r e n t r e r p a r f o i s t a r d dans l a nuit(P.G). En 1818, l a p o l i c e , q u i recherchait toujours l e f o r c a t Trompe-la-Mort, commenga a s ' i n t ! r e s s e r a M. V a u t r i n et l e s u r v e i l l e discretement. En 1819, a peu pres sur de son f a i t , B i b i - L u p i n , chef de l a Surete, s'abouchait avec deux pensionnaires de l a pension Vauquer, M. P o i r e t et M i l e . Michonneau, a f i n de l'espionner plus efficacement (PG). Vers c e t t e epoque, l e jeune baron de Rastignac p r i t pension a l a maison Vauquer. Devinant sa devorante ambition, V a u t r i n essaya de se l ' a t t a c h e r et tenta de l u i f a i r e e'pouser V i c t o r ine T a i l l e f e r q u ' i l r e n d i t h e r i t i ^ r e des m i l l i o n s paternels 1. Fernand L o t t e , D i c t i o n n a i r e biographique des personnages f i c t i f s de l a Come*die humaine ( P a r i s : C o r t i , 1952), pp.629-631.  -125' en f a i s a n t tuer son f r l r e en duel par un breteur q u i l u i a v a i t des o b l i g a t i o n s : l e c o l o n e l F r a n c h e s s i n i . Drogue* par V a u t r i n , Rastignac ne pouvait i n t e r v e n i r a temps pour e V i t e r l e combat, mais ayant encore "quelques langes tstches de v e r t u " , i l £luda l e pacte. Peu apr^s, l e 15 f e v r i e r 1820, arre^te par B i b i Lupin, V a u t r i n r e t o u r n a i t au bagne de Rochefort (S&M). I I ne t a r d a i t pas a s en evader avec son camarade de chaine, Theodore C a l v i , d i t Madeleine, l e s bagnards ayant tout f a i t pour f a c i l i t e r l a f u i t e de l e u r "dab". P a s s ! en Espagne e t cherchant a se r e f a i r e une autre p e r s o n n a l i t ! , i l s ' i n c l i n a pour l ' ! t a t eccle'siastique. Dans une embuscade, i l tue l'abbe Carlos Herrera, chanoine de l a c a t h i d r a l e de Tolede, q u i vena i t d'etre c h a r g l d'une mission diplomatique en France comme envoy! secret de S.M. Ferdinand V I I \ S.M. Louis X V I I I . Devant le cadavre du pre^tre, a l ' a i d e de r e a c t i f s chimiques, i l changea son visage a f i n de l u i ressembler, e t se f i t des b l e s s ures au dos pour e f f a c e r l e s i n d ! s i r a b l e s l e t t r e s T.F., i r r e cusables tlmoins de son pass!, a p p r i t l'espagnol "et autant de l a t i n qu'un p r e t r e andalou en d e v a i t s a v o i r " . A Barcelone, en confession, une deVote l u i r e v e l a q u ' e l l e poss!dait un tr£sor du a un crime q u ' e l l e a v a i t commis. Continuant a jbuer son r O l e , i l ne c o n s e n t i t a l u i donner 1'absolution que l o r s q u ' e l l e l e l u i eut remis: i l promit de l e r e s t i t u e r aux ayarits d r o i t s Riche des pesetas de sa p!nitente e t du tre'sor de Carlos Herrera, i l r e n t r a i t en France sous l e s t r a i t s de sa v i c t i m e par l a d i l i g e n c e (S&M). Le 15 septembre, 1822, sur l a route d'AngouleW a P o i t i e r s , pres de Marsac, i l renc o n t r a i t Lucien de Rubempr!, ruminant des p r o j e t s de s u i c i d e . I I eut t S t f a i t de dissuader cet i n d ! c i s , se l ' a t t a c h a comme s e c r e t a i r e p a r t i c u l i e r e t l'emmena avec l u i \ P a r i s , apres un melancolique coup d ' o e i l donne en passant a l a v i e i l l e demeure des Rastignac ( I P ) . Sur Rubempre i l r e p o r t a l ' a f f e c t i o n presque p a t e r n e l l e q u ' i l a v a i t vou!e au precedent e t subvint 1  •126a ses besoins pendant s i x ans. Les deux hommes habite*rent d'abord rue Cassette^ puis quai Malaquais; i l f a i s a i t passer Lucien pour son f i l s n a t u r e l . Apres a v o i r vainement tente de l ' e i o i g n e r de l a courtisane Esther Gobseck q u ' i l j u g e a i t n u i s i b l e a ses p r o j e t s , i l f i n i t par c o n s e n t i r a l a l u i l a i s s er pour maitresse, tout en i n t r u i g a n t dans 1'ombre pour l u i manager un r i c h e mariage avec C l o t i l d e de Grandlieu. Vers 1829, ses ressources commencant a s'e'puiser, i l de'cide "de vendre" Esther Gobseck au baron de Nucingen e t dut se l x v r e r a une s e r i e de manoeuvres q u i a t t i r e i c e n t 1 ' a t t e n t i o n de l a p o l i c e . I l p r i t un moment l e pseudonyme de W i l l i a m Barker, r i c h e ne"gociant a n g l a i s , dans l e but d'extorquer une signature a C e r i s e t dont i l c o n n a i s s a i t l e passe. Sur l e p o i n t d'aboutir, ses p r o j e t s furent contrecarres par l a p o l i c e , alerte*e par Nucingen, au de*but de 1830. Le 13 mai 1830, Lucien de Rubemprl £tait a r r e t e sur l a route de Fontainebleau, et lui-meme a P a r i s , puis e'croue's \ l a Conciergerie sous 1 ' i n c u l p a t i o n de v o l e t d'assassinat sur l a personne d'Esther Gobseck (S&M). En cet extreme danger, cet homme e x t r a o r d i n a i r e parvenait encore a sauver l a s i t u a t i o n e t e v i t a i t l a peine c a p i t a l e a son ancien camarade de bagne Madeleine, "pour l e q u e l i l c o n f e c t i o n n a i t j a d i s de s i b e l l e s patarasses". D^tenteur de l e t t r e s d'amour q u i compromettait gravement l'honneur de p l u s i e u r s f a m i l i e s de haiate noblesse, i l t r a i t a presque d ' i g a l & e'gal avec l e procureur general, M. de G r a n v i l l e en vue de l e u r r e s t i t u t i o n . I I ne put malheureusement empecher l e s u i c i d e de c e l u i q u ' i l a i m a i t comme f i l s , l e f a i b l e Lucien de Rubempre' (S&M). Corentin l e demanda comme second, mais i l r e f u s a c e t t e o f f r e dangereuse, se trouvant separ^ de l u i "par t r o i s longeurs de cadavres", e t d e v i n t 1'adjoint de B i b i - L u p i n sous l e nom de V a u t r i n . A l a f i n de 1830, i l l e remplacait a l a t£te de l a p o l i c e de s u r e t ^ , place q u ' i l occupa pendant quinze ans: i l p r i t sa r e t r a i t e en 1845 (S&M).  -127Dans ses nouvelles f o n c t i o n s , i l s ' a c q u i t t a admirablement de sa ta'che, et en quelques mois i l a v a i t f a i t arrester l e s assas s i n s des r e n t i e r s C r o t t a t (S&M). En 1843, chef de l a p o l i c e de Surete, i l r e c e v a i t l a v i s i t e du depute V i c t o r i n Hulot q u i l e p r i a i t de del>ar<rasser sa f a m i l l e de Mme. C r e v e l . I l y c o n s e n t i t et quelques mois plus t a r d , ddguise' en"pauvre pr£tre", i l se p r e s e n t a i t au domicile du depute", l u i reclamant l a somme convenue, quarante m i l l e f r a n c s , "pour i(tune) oeuvre p i e , un couvent ruine* dans l e Levant". Banquier des t r o i s bagnes, "dab" des D i x - M i l l e et des Grands Fanande1s, V a i t r i n e t a i t unifoersellement connu dans l e monde de l a pe"gre sous l e parl a n t pseudonyme de Trompe-la-Mort (S&M-PG). I l f u t t r e s probablement l'un des"TreizeV. On l i t en e f f e t , dans l a Preface aux Treize : "Un jour l'un d'eux, apr^s a v o i r l u Venise sauvge ( l i v r e que Jacques C o l l i n se v a n t a i t de " s a v o i r par coeur") et admire* l'union sublime de P i e r r e et de J a f f i e r (...) v i n t a songer aux vertus p a r t i c u l i e r e s des gens j e t e s en dehors de l'ordre s o c i a l , a l a probite' des bagnes, e t c . " Cette supposition est corrobore'e par l e f a i t que l e comte Henri de Marsay, autre T r e i z e , e t a i t f o r t au courant des a c t i v i t e s de V a u t r i n , comme nous l'apprend dams une l e t t r e , e'crite sur un ton mi-badin mi-se'rieux, a* Paul de M a n e r v i l l e (CM). Comme beaucoup de bagnards, Jacques C o l l i n "n'aimait pas l e s femmes" (PG) et appartenait au "troisieme sexe" (S&M). I I xi m'etait t o u t e f o i s devenu homosexuel qu'en 1800, a l'age de v v i n g t et un ans, apres une v i v e deception sentimentale, "ayant c r u \ 1'amour d'une femme q u i l e bafoua" (PG). I I reporta a l o r s son a f f e c t i o n sur l e jeune I t a l i e n ( F r a n c h e s s i n i ) , pour l e q u e l i l endossa l a responsabilite" du faux en e c r i t u r e q u i devait l e conduire pour l a premiere f o i s au bagne. V a u t r i n s a v a i t tout f a i r e e t , i l e'tait t r ^ s f o r t t i r e u r au p i s t o l e t : "A t r e n t e - c i n q pas, ±1 m e t t a i t cinq f o i s de s u i t e sa b a l l e dans un as de pique...en renfoncant chaque b a l l e nouvelle sur 1'autre.." Son r^ve e t a i t de devenir planteur en F l o r i d e . . . ( P G ) . Peutetre l e r ^ a l i s e r a - t - i l apre*s a v o i r p r i s sa r e t r a i t e .  

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