chapter  4
10 Pages

The First Restoration and the Hundred Days

WithRonnie Butler

A great number of Le Monde de Balzac characters are directly affected by the events of the period. In uncovering some of the fundamental forces at work during the period, Balzac reaffirms his overriding concern to examine the effects of the Revolution on French society in the first half of the nineteenth century. The political decisions made by Balzac’s characters during the first Restoration and the Hundred Days emphasise basic loyalty rather than an easy transfer of allegiance, an adherence to principles characterising their behaviour more frequently than a transparent opportunism. The overriding economic question which Balzac examines in the context of the First Restoration and the Hundred Days is that of the continuing opposition of ‘acquereurs’ and emigres. Balzac’s view of the first Restoration and the Hundred Days reveals some fundamental contradictions. In sanctifying the gains of the ‘acquereurs’, the first Restoration must therefore logically bear the blame for encouraging the disastrous process arising out of the Revolution.