Victurnien d’Esgrignon et la duchesse de Maufrigneuse

Victurnien d’Esgrignon et la duchesse de Maufrigneuse

(The Cabinet of Antiquities)

Victurnien and Duchesse

La duchesse écoutait comme elle savait écouter, le coude appuyé sur son genou levé très haut.

Furne, 1844, t. VII, p. 188
Signatures : Bertal ; Tamisier Sc

6 comments on “Victurnien d’Esgrignon et la duchesse de Maufrigneuse

  1. Jonathan says:

    I’ve recently finished ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ in which appears Victurnien de Surgis, supposedly named after the character in Le Cabinet des Antiques. I wondered if you would have a picture of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How cool, I didn’t know that about the Proust book–although I’ve heard there are numerous references to Balzac in the set.

      I just checked. This is the only one I have in the set of ‘character’ illustrations. I have one general illustration, but the man looks a little too old to be Victurnien (not that I can always tell, lol). I think it might be an old attorney or someone. I’d have to read the book to see. I’ll email the illo to you in the meantime. And if you’ve read Cabinet and can identify the scene, let me know and I can put it up promptly.


      • Jonathan says:

        Yes, it’s at one of the soirees, Charlus spies some young boys that fascinate him:

        “What, so you’re called Victurnien, after the Cabinet des Antiques“, the Baron was saying, to prolong his conversation with the two young men. “By Balzac, yes,” replied the elder Surgis, who had never read a line of that novelist’s work, but to whom his tutor had remarked, a few days earlier, upon the similarity of his Christian names and d’Escrignon’s

        Charlus seems to be always reading Balzac. When I read this I thought to myself if Dagny had a picture of him. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for posting the passage, Jonathan. I seem to recall reading somewhere that there were over forty mentions of Balzac in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Balzac’s Victurnien grows up horribly spoiled and when sent to Paris, he gets in with the high-living crowd.


      • Jonathan says:

        I think I may have to find time to read this one.


      • You should probably read The Old Maid first. It’s the same setting and characters and the action of Cabinet follows the other action. See my note at the top of my summary for Cabinet, one of the characters has a different name in some of the translations. (Probably due to Balzac’s constant reworking of stories.)


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