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The Death of Balzac

by Octave Mirbeau
translated by Brian Stableford

Short Stories

Here, presented in English for the first time in a translation by Brian Stableford, is one of Octave Mirbeau’s darkest works: a fictionalized account of the death of the giant of French letters, Honoré de Balzac.

Among his journalistic endeavors, Mirbeau contributed a large number of short stories to the newspapers in the fin-de-siècle period, and he honed his skill in that kind of work to near-perfection. Many of his anecdotal short stories make the customary tokenistic pretences to be “true,” and there is a considerable gray area between his explicit works of fiction, and articles that represent themselves falsely as reportage. None of his other impostures of that ambiguous kind, however, are quite as brazen or as seductively persuasive in their deception as the triptych making up The Death of Balzac, which, seen purely as a literary exercise, is a masterpiece of sorts, in terms of the persuasiveness of its mendacious execution and the elegance of its narration. It is a gripping and affectively powerful story, artful in its very atrocity; a prime specimen of the work of an exceptional writer.

Published by Snuggly Books in April 2018
ISBN: 978-1-943813-56-8

The Brian Stableford Website