S/Z is the only book by Barthes to concentrate exclusively on one text. It deals with ‘Sarrasine’, a short story by Balzac originally published in La Revue de Paris in November 1830 and later incorporated in the section of La Comédie Humaine entitled Scènes de la vie parisienne. The anonymous narrator is at a ball in the household of the Comte and Comtesse de Lanty. He sees a mysterious old man come and talk to the daughter of the house, Marianina, and give her a rich jewel before she spirits him away. The woman who is with the narrator, the Marquise de Rochefide, is anxious to know who he is. She implies that she will sleep with the narrator if he tells her.
KeywordsShort Story Creative Writer Cultural Code Prose Fiction Bourgeois Democracy
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