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A Passion for Pears

John Sturrock, 7 July 1994

by Graham Robb.
Picador, 521 pp., £20, June 1994, 0 330 33237 6
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Honoré de Balzac 
by Roger Pierrot.
Fayard, 582 pp., frs 180, March 1994, 2 213 59228 4
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César Birotteau 
by Honoré de Balzac and Robin Buss.
Penguin, 279 pp., £6.99, January 1994, 0 14 044641 9
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... a thousand close-set pages of the modern edition for the three years 1845-8 alone, according to Roger Pierrot, whose sadly pedantic new biography is good for dry facts such as this, if not for very much else. Balzac wanted it to be thought that the Comédie Humaine began as a dream for the good reason that, had it in fact done so, the turning of the ...

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