ABSTRACT

Ludwig van Beethoven's acceptance by the French public was slow and far from complete even by the end of Balzac's life. Lamartine, although lured by the dreamy exercise of the imagination that Beethoven occasioned in him, indicated nonetheless in his Entretien on Mozart that he would like to be Mozart or Rossini. Beginning with Le Lys dans la vallee of 1835-36, a lyrical novel pervaded by a fragrance of country blossoms, Balzac's references to Beethoven acquired poetic hues. There is what Balzac considered a Germanic sense of harmony in Gambara's aesthetics and in his consciousness of instruments, qualities which the novelist associated with Beethoven. The year 1837 marks neither the end of Balzac's Beethovenian passion nor the beginning of his admiration. It marks, rather, a culmination, after which a denouement occurs. After this year, Balzac endeavors to put the composer of the Fifth Symphony and the composer of Mose in Egitto into perspective.