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La Vendetta (Balzac)

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Wikipedia article

'La Vendetta' ('The Vendetta') is a novel by the French writer Honor de Balzac. It is the eighth of the 'Scnes de la vie prive' ('Scenes of Private Life') in La Comdie humaine. The novel was first published in 1830 by Mame et Delaunay-Valle. In 1842 it appeared in the first Furne edition of 'La Comdie humaine'. 'La Vendetta' was the fourth work in Volume 1, making it the fourth of the 'Scnes de la vie prive'.[http://www.v1.paris.fr/musees/balzac/furne/aatable.htm Furne (1842-48)]. In Balzac's final arrangement of 'La Comdie humaine', 'La Vendetta' is the eighth of the 'Scnes da la vie prive'.

Balzac may have been inspired to write 'La Vendetta' by Prosper Merime, whose novel 'Mateo Falcone', which was serialized by the 'Revue de Paris' in 1829, also deals with the subject of Corsican vengeance and family honour.


The manuscript of 'La Vendetta', which is preserved in the Lovenjoul Collection of the Institut de France in Paris,[http://www.calames.abes.fr/pub/#details?id=IF4A10002 Collection Lovenjoul: Ms Lov. A 239.], is in three separate parts: 'L'Atelier' ('The Artist's Workshop'), 'La Dsobissance' ('The Act of Disobedience') and 'Le Mariage' ('The Marriage'). The novel was completed in Paris in January 1830, when Balzac was assisting the Duchesse d'Abrants with her 'Mmoires de l'Empire'.

The first edition of 'La Vendetta' was published in April 1830 by Mame et Delaunay-Valle, appearing immediately after the preface in the first volume of a two-volume collection of Balzac's novels entitled 'Scnes de la vie prive' Balzac had not yet conceived of 'La Comdie humaine'. The work was divided into a prologue and four sections entitled: 'L'Atelier', 'La Dsobissance', 'Le Mariage' and 'Le Chtiment' ('The Punishment').

In May 1832 Mame-Delaunay brought out a second edition. By now the 'Scnes de la vie prive' had grown to four volumes. 'La Vendetta' retained its place immediately after the preface in the first volume.

In July 1835 Mme Bchet published a third edition of 'La Vendetta' as part of a twelve-volume collection of Balzac's works entitled 'Etude de Moeurs au XIXe sicle' ('Studies of Manners in the 19th Century'). In this edition 'La Vendetta' was no longer divided into sections and was placed at the end of the first volume. Balzac altered the marriage scene for this edition.

In October 1839 Charpentier brought out a fourth edition of 'La Vendetta' in a newly revised and corrected edition of the 'Scnes de la vie prive'. 'La Vendetta' was the first work in the second volume of the series.

In July 1842 a fifth edition of 'La Vendetta' appeared in Furne's first publication of 'La Comdie humaine'. 'La Vendetta' was the fourth work in the first volume ('Scnes de la vie prive') of this five-volume series.


'La Vendetta' is a short work relating the tragic fate of Ginevra Piombo, the daughter of proud Corsican immigrants, who has the misfortune of falling in love with another Corsican Luigi Porta. When it becomes known that Luigi is the sole survivor of a massacre in which the rest of his family were the victims of a bloody vendetta with Ginevra's family, Ginevra's father Bartolomeo is determined to complete the act of vengeance by having him killed. But Ginevra refuses to yield to her father's demands and she and Luigi are married. Over the following years the pair eke out a miserable existence, dogged by hunger and poverty, while Ginevra's wealthy father refuses to lift a hand to support her: it is as much as he can do to refrain from murdering Luigi. Ginevra gives birth to a child, but she and the child die on the very day that Monsieur Piombo finally relents and decides to assist the impoverished couple. Before he can act, however, Luigi visits him and gives him the tresses of his deceased daughter. "Dead! Our two families were doomed to exterminate each other. Here is all that remains of her," he says, laying Ginevra's long black hair upon the table. Ginevra's parents are shaken, as though a stroke of lightning has blasted them. Luigi departs. "He has spared me a shot, for he is dead," says Bartolomeo, slowly, gazing on the ground at his feet.

See also

* Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine




Further reading

* Claudie Bernard, Raison et draison vendettales dans 'La Vendetta' de Balzac et 'Les Frres corses' de Dumas , 'Stendhal, Balzac, Dumas : un rcit romantique ?' Toulouse, PU du Mirail, 2006, p. 265-81.

* Pierrette Jeoffroy-Faggianelli, De Paoli 'La Vendetta' , 'L'Anne balzacienne', 1975, p. 307-10.

* Franc Schuerewegen, La Toile dchire : texte, tableau et rcit dans trois nouvelles de Balzac , 'Potique', fv. 1986, n 17 (65), p. 19-27.

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