He originally wrote this under the pseudonym Horace de Saint-Aubin, possibly because its subjects on incest and rape were so controversial. The new vicar is handsome and dashing, but the local bourgeoisie begin to uncover his murky past. This includes a passionate love for his sister Melanie (who turns out not to be his sister) and a sultry friendship with the local Marquise. Comic, satiric and erotic, this is an important rediscovered work..
This early Balzac novel, which has never before been translated into English, was written under the pseudonym of Horace de Saint-Aubain. Balzac wrote several of his early works under pen names, but this work-with its controversial subjects of incest and rape-certainly seems to have justified Balzac's hidden identity. The novel begins with a brilliant comedic scene in which the local bourgeoisie wonders about its new vicar, a dashingly handsome young man with a dark, brooding personality. Ultimately, they begin to uncover his "terrible" past, which includes a passionate love for his sister Melanie (who turns out not be his sibling) and a friendship with the local Marquise, who herself is attracted to the young man-until she discovers that he is her son! At times comic, always adventurous and erotic, and brilliantly satiric, this is an important rediscovered work in the career of one of the greatest authors of world literature.