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Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac’s Scènes de la Vie de Province

Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac’s Scènes de la Vie de Province Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac's Scènes de la Vie de Province Robert Decker The political turmoil that reigned in France from the revolution of 1789 until the end of Balzac's life played a central role in his oeuvre. The era was so marked with rebellion and agitation that one can easily forget that another revolution figures into Balzac's plotlines. The Industrial Revolution, and specifically the transfer of economic power from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie, imposed a new set of economic imperatives that served to destabilize sentimental and family life. Balzac reinforces the connection between revolution and the dissolution of the family by adapting a particular character type that appears frequently in the provincial novels: a young girl exploited either by her family or by bourgeois society.1 By inserting this new character type into more traditional narratives of the provinces, he illustrates the human cost of the modernization and capitalism that had already begun to renew France. At the same time he demonstrates how these changes subordinate the family, and especially female children, to economic concerns. An analysis of what the activity of speculation means in the work of Balzac will establish how and in what measure http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac’s Scènes de la Vie de Province

French Forum , Volume 39 (2) – Jan 9, 2014

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 French Forum, Inc.
ISSN
1534-1836
Publisher site
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Abstract

Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac's Scènes de la Vie de Province Robert Decker The political turmoil that reigned in France from the revolution of 1789 until the end of Balzac's life played a central role in his oeuvre. The era was so marked with rebellion and agitation that one can easily forget that another revolution figures into Balzac's plotlines. The Industrial Revolution, and specifically the transfer of economic power from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie, imposed a new set of economic imperatives that served to destabilize sentimental and family life. Balzac reinforces the connection between revolution and the dissolution of the family by adapting a particular character type that appears frequently in the provincial novels: a young girl exploited either by her family or by bourgeois society.1 By inserting this new character type into more traditional narratives of the provinces, he illustrates the human cost of the modernization and capitalism that had already begun to renew France. At the same time he demonstrates how these changes subordinate the family, and especially female children, to economic concerns. An analysis of what the activity of speculation means in the work of Balzac will establish how and in what measure

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jan 9, 2014

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