du Plessis, Eric H. Books

Eric H. du Plessis is Professor of French Studies at Radford University. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.

An English Translation of HonorÉ De Balzac's Novel wann-Chlore
2005 0-7734-6062-4
The early work of a once-struggling author who subsequently became a major contributor to world literature represents a fascinating incursion into the making of a literary genius. Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) dropped out of law school in 1820 and began his literary career in Paris as a hack writer, producing reams of pulp fiction to help pay the rent for his unheated apartment. He dreamed of early recognition of his talent, but found himself relegated to the quick production of fairly insipid romantic novels, sold primarily to “cabinets de lecture,” or neighborhood public libraries. Yet Balzac persisted in his quest for literary fame. In 1825, at the age of 26, he placed all his hopes in Wann-Chlore, his most elaborate novel to date, which he felt certain would soon consecrate him as a major writer in France. Unfortunately, Wann-Chlore failed to impress Parisian critics. Utterly dejected, Balzac abandoned literature to become instead an obscure and unsuccessful publisher. Seven years later, riddled with debts, Balzac returned to writing as a desperate measure to fend off creditors. This time, success was immediate. From 1832 to his death in 1850, he wrote over eighty novels, most of which are still in print to this day, and secured for himself the place he had longed for in the pantheon of world-famous authors. It is today an illuminating experience to revisit Balzac’s juvenilia and discover the burgeoning talent it exemplifies. Among all of Balzac’s early works, Wann-Chlore represents the most accomplished effort of a young writer on the threshold of success. Recently reprinted by two major publishing houses in Paris and rediscovered by French readers, Wann-Chlore is now made available to American scholars and general readers in this first-ever English translation of the original 1825 edition.

Life of a Teenage Schoolboy in Paris During the 1960s: A Personal Memoir
2009 0-7734-4750-4
There is enduring interest in the historical study of contemporary European society, especially from a pedagogical and sociological point of view, yet there are few available sources in English analyzing these themes from personal experience. This book introduces the American reader to an exotic depiction of France in the 1960’s. As a unique social and historical document, it constitutes an original contribution to the field of comparative cultural studies. This book contains twelve black and white photographs.

Nineteenth-Century French Novel: A Reader's Path to Classic Fiction
2013 0-7734-4498-X
The purpose of the book is to provide in-depth evaluations of forty-five French novels chosen as the most representative of nineteenth-century classic fiction. Selected titles are given succinct plot overviews followed by a thorough textural analysis. The evaluations provide a social, historical and literary context in order to capture both the readers’ interest and their curiosity in order to entice them to discover these classic novels in their entirety.