Balzac à la charge. Journalistic Writing and Theories of Caricature Preluding Comédie humaine

Michela Lo Feudo

Abstract


Like most writers of his age, the young Balzac tries to become well known to the reading public and earn his living by devoting himself to the non-political petite presse. From 1824 to 1830 he wrote for several journals and newspapers. However, the weekly magazines la Silhouette and la Caricature are particularly interesting, because they give us important information on his early aesthetic tendencies. He chooses, in fact, a new and still undervalued journalistic genre, which had come into the forefront as a consequence of the spreading of lithography. La Silhouette and la Caricature, both of them founded in the years of the July Revolution, are characterized by an interweaving of text and image, seen as an effective way to describe contemporary events. Satire may thus become the outstanding descriptive code, marking the primacy of the Parisian caricature at it was taken to its top by Philipon's journals and by Grandville, Daumier and Cham's plates. Through a close analysis of the texts published by Balzac in these magazines, this paper aims at understanding if this experience and the use he made of satirical and caricatural languages drove him to reflect upon his writing style as the Comédie humaine was taking shape in his mind. Pioneering as it undoubtedly was, Balzac's output in this period also permits to figure out the relationship between literature and caricature in the France of XIXth century, which was to be developed in the following years by Gautier, Baudelaire, Champfleury and Vallès.


Keywords


Balzac; Caricature; Satirical press; La Sihouette

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2470

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-20282

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