The novel has four main themes.
(1) The lifestyle of the provinces is juxtaposed with that of the metropolis, as Balzac contrasts the varying tempos of life at Angoulême and in Paris, the different standards obtaining in those cities, and their different perceptions.
(2) Balzac explores the artistic life of Paris in 1821-22, and furthermore the nature of the artistic life generally. Lucien, who was already a not quite published author when the novel begins, fails to get that early literary...
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