News and Reviews

The Balzac House has in its possession close to 70 newspaper and review headlines of the 19th century. These collections are a unique perspective into the era of these two writers: one finds in the course of these articles the signatures of famous authors, courageous journalists, politicians, as well as caricatures and cartoons of recognizable artists, tackling history, literature, arts, shows and fashion of the moment in a lively and surprising way.

Renowned newspaper contributors, Balzac and Gautier developped close relationships with satirical, artistic, and general newspapers: Gautier utilized his experience in art and literary criticism for various journals, and these articles comprise a significant section of his life’s work. Parallel to his journalistic activity, Balzac founded the practice of a daily newspaper with The Old Girl, published in 1836 in Emile de Girardin’s La Presse before becoming its own publication.

But the press was not always so thrilled with Balzac the writer or Balzac the political figure, author of The Monograph of the Press and he who coined the famous phrase “If the press didn’t exist, one should not invent it.” For defending himself as well as diffusing his own views, Balzac provoked conflict in the press and directed many temporary newspapers, of which the library possesses the complete collections.