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Le musée imaginaire de Balzac

Yves Gagneux

Recently we witnessed something similar with Proust, that is, the reconstitution of his ideal museum, based on quotes from his Recherche. In the case of Balzac, the work was just as out of proportion since it was necessary to pick throughout the Comédie humaine, from la Rabouilleuse to la Peau de chagrin, from la Cousine Bette to Cousin Pons. We owe this to the curator of the Balzac museum, whose investigation has unveiled Hippocrate refusant les présents d’Artaxerxès (from Girodet-Trison, quoted in Illusions perdues), a Madone by Piola the elder, today at the Fesch museum in Ajaccio (mentioned in Le Cabinet des antiques) up to an obscure Frans Mieris hidden at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden (mentioned in Beatrix. This treasure hunt of sorts started from the introduction with mention of the interiors of the writer’s home (what furniture, engravings, rugs did he possess at home?), and ends in the last chapters dedicated to his correspondence and to the portraits of Balzac by his contemporaries: the examiner becomes the examined …

Le musée imaginaire de Balzac by Yves Gagneux, Beaux Arts éditions, 2012, 288 p., 34 €

Le musée imaginaire de Balzac - Yves Gagneux

Review published in the newsletter #260 - from 24 May 2012 to 30 May 2012

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