Paratextuality in Balzac's La Peau De Chagrin/the Wild Ass's Skin

Author: King, Jeri
This work is several studies in one, beginning with a positivistic examination of the paratext (subtitles, epigraphs, both editorial and authorial) that surrounds Balzac's first signed novel. It yields several readings equally deserving of consideration. Numerous references to critics like Barthes and Greenblatt support the author's attempt at a deconstructive reading of Balzac, subverting the positivistic approach to the text by focusing on extra-textual elements, with the help of Genette. This study, an exercise in post-structuralist criticism, a celebration of Balzac, and a demonstration of the implications of Genette's work in contemporary literary criticism, will prove useful to both the beginner and the graduate student of Balzac.


"Though this study of Balzac's La Peau de chagrin may disorient those accustomed to less eclectic critical readings, it is refreshing to find a scholarly work that remains suspicious of facile binary oppositions and monolithic approaches to the critical act. This study contains a wealth of information about the history of interpretations of Balzac and about the current state of literary criticism." - Catherine West