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Letters of Two Brides

Honoré de Balzac

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Letters of Two Brides is an epistolary novel, largely consisting of letters between two women who become friends in a convent in their teenage years. They begin their correspondence when they depart the order as young women and embark on their lives in different areas of France. Louise is a woman of passion, a lover of love, who must have a great romance in order to be fulfilled. Renée is measured, a women of sense, desiring a love that will last a lifetime rather than (in her way of thinking) flame out like a comet. In several of their epistles, each takes the other to task over her approach to life and love. As their ages and respective marriages progress, it becomes obvious where Balzac’s sympathies lie.

One of the later additions to The Human Comedy, Letters of Two Brides was originally serialized (and heavily bowdlerized) in the French journal La Presse in 1841, in three parts rather than two. It was not until the second edition of the novel that it was repartitioned into its present form.

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