”The Recruit” is a short story from Balzac’s ”Philosophical studies”, set during the horrors of the Reign of Terror. An aristocratic mother is desperately awaiting the return of her only son and heir. Focusing on the small-town talk and gossip, Balzac’s story is a melodramatic and hopeful episode on his literary journey. The author becomes the historian and narrator of the situation, creating a memorable and vivid narrative, rich in character portrayal and human emotions.
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a French novelist and playwright, most famous for his collection of novels and plays, collectively called ”The Human Comedy”. His detailed observation of humanity and realistic depiction of society makes his one of the earliest representatives of realism in Europe. He was a master-creator of complex characters that often found themselves in ambiguous moral dilemmas.