BIBLIOGRAPHY: THE WORLD OF BUSINESS AND COMMERCE
AS SEEN BY FRENCH LITERARY AUTHORS
Update: January 2008
IMPORTANT NOTE: Working, research-oriented bibliography of works in French literature in which the subject or plot involves a hero who is a businessman and/or the business activity of the period. In a general sense, any literary work in which "money" plays a key or important role. "La chasse à l'argent." and its impact on the society of the day. 8 Maurice G.A. Elton
ANTIER, Benjamin., SAINT-ARMAND, PAULYANTHE. L'Auberge des Adrets (1823) This play introduces the
character Robert Macaire. A highly amusing play,set within a country Inn, where Macaire finds brief refuge following his escape from prison. This play does not fall quite within the subject area though Macaire is certainly to be associated with "La chasse à l'argent" via unscrupulous means. Daumier depicts him as wheeler-dealer. See entry below. AUGIER, Emile
Le Gendre de Monsieur Poirier (1854); La Ceinture dorée (1855); La Jeunesse (1858); Un Beau mariage (1859); Les Effrontés (1861).
Maître Guérin (ca. 1860). (Cf. Sarcey, Vol. 5 -Poirier/Guerin)) La Jeunesse (6 fév 1858) A young "avocat" gives up "la richesse" for love. L'argent is central to action.
BALZAC, Honoré de
Eugénie Grandet (1833)
Histoire de la Grandeur et de la décadence de César Birotteau, marchand parfumeur, adjoint au maire du deuxième arrondissement de Paris,
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, etc. (1837) The rise and fall (bankruptcy) of a Parisian perfumer described in accurate financial and commercial terms. Today, could be considered a classic case-history of how an honest businessman becomes the victim of a former employee. At least a list of 100 or more business terms still in use today!! Mercadet (play, 1851) adapted for the stage by d'Ennery (cf). Originally titled Le Faiseur (1830) and which Balzac finally
completed in 1848 after ten years of revision. Dramatic presentation of a speculator who holds creditors at bay with promises of even greater fortunes and interest. Interesting note: Mercadet hopes for for the return of Godeau, a former partner who had earlier absconded with funds. "Waiting for Godeau..." is a repeated refrain. Godeau does eventually return like a "Deus ex machina." (According to Le Grand Robert: "Faiseur se dit aussi d'un homme d'affaires peu scrupuleux, véreux,
habile à faire des dupes et à leur extorquer de l'argent). NOTE: Le Faiseur was presented at La Comédie Française in Paris in April
1993 in Balzac's original version. (Recorded live performance [April 1993] available on 2 audio cassettes.) From September - November 1996, Le Faiseur was presented in Paris at the Théâtre El Dorado. Extremely well performed by the actors which brought out the humourous side of Balzac. Original Balzac text greatly edited in order to make the play move along more smoothly. Also: Video: Le Faiseur, in the series: Au Théâtre ce soir (n.d.). (TF1 Vidéo)
Illusions perdues; Le Père Goriot
L'Illustre Gaudissart Gaudissart, first encountered in César Birotteau where he, as a young man, helped with the marketing
of César Birotteau's new product, a hair oil. He now has become a renown salesman, travelling across France and able to sell anything he is asked to represent. Balzac presents a humorous glimpse of the ups and downs of this particular profession.
Gaudissart II Another salesman who emulates the original Gaudissart. In this account, Balzacs describes the tactics used by a shopkeeper to pass off old and outmoded merchandise - at a high price - to unsuspecting foreign women customers. La Maison de chat qui pélote (1830) Description of a dreary shopkeeper and his sombre and uninviting shop, typical of so many that would later find themelves pitted against the hype and bustle of the burgeoning department stores. La Maison Nucingen (1838)
Code des gens honnêtes; ou l'art de ne pas être dupe des fripons. (1825) New edition published by Manya (1990) ISBN 2-87742-041-8.
One of Balzac's earliest works, a "how-to" manual, describing a wide range of scams and how to avoid being taken in. Little has changed as we learn each day about new scandals and scoundrels.
Les Journalistes. (1843) New edition published by Arléa (1991) ISBN 2-86959-095-4. It was during Balzac's day that the newspapers and journalists increased in importance and power. Balzac also realized the full potential of using the newspapers for advertising. Balzac's observations are as current today as when he first wrote them. Les employés. (1837 - 1844) Balzac's original title: La Femme supérieure. Little known novel in which Balzac exposes the
inner mindset of civil servants, the growing bureaucracy, but in particular the Ministry of Finance. Balzac was way ahead of his time in seeing the inevitability of corruption in high places. 154 years later, in Paris of 1998, two books reveal that little
has changed for the best: L'Argent des fonctionnaires, Thierry Jean-Pierre. Paris: 1998, Editions Fixot. ISBN 221087968. Dans
les coulisses de Bercy: Le cinquième pouvoir. Jean Arthuis. Paris: 1998, Albin Michel. ISBN 2226100741.
BARRIÈRE, Théodore, & Ernest Capendu
Faux Bonshommes. (Nov 6, 1856) (review Sarcey 1889). Two artists commissioned for portraits for two retired rich merchants. (See Sarcey, Vol. 5).
BEAUMARCHAIS, P.A. Caron de. Les Deux Amis ou Le Négociant de Lyon. (1770) Somewhat feeble plot used to portray
the utter honesty of two close friends(négociant/receveur général) who face bankruptcy but are saved by the other's selfless act. Static action saved somewhat by the love element involving the daughter and son of the two friends in question. BEAUPLAN, Arthur de
Les Pièges dorés.(1856) Source: Henri Gaillard de Champris. Emile Augier et la comédie sociale. (1910)
Les Corbeaux (1882) Well-known play describing the plight of a family when the father, a successful businessman dies, and creditors descend en masse to seek the payment of debts. A typical situation when businessmen failed to share their business activity and affairs with a wife or family.
Les Polichinelles (unfinished play)
BLANCPAIN, Marc. L'Estaminet des coeurs sensibles. Paris, Denoël
BLOCH, Jean-Richard. Et Cie... Paris: Dentu 1917. Set in the west of France, following the Franco-Prussian war, a Jewish family, originally from Alsace, set up a successful clothing business.
L'Argent (ou les mœurs du jour) (1826) 5 actes et en vers. Présenté au Théâtre français le 12 octobre 1826. Original version has just L'Argent. Lengthy preface in which author defends his play. Mentions the subtitle which he decided to delete. Critical of way money, with all its adverse effects, has become predominant in life.
Le Malheur du riche et le bonheur du Pauvre. (roman de mœurs) Paris: Dumont, 1836 (279 pp) La mère rivale (1821); Le Presbytère
(1833); Le Mari à bonnes fortunes (1824) La Filleule ou les deux ages (posthume de Bonjour)
BRIEUX, Eugène (1858-1932)
Les Bienfaiteurs (1896) Philanthropy in the work place. L'Avocat (?) La Robe rouge. Justice in France during the 19th century.
L'Engrenage (1894). An honest worker/businessman is pressured into running for a political office. He resists because he cannot stomach the less-than-honest means used to get elected. Cf. American film: Mr Smith goes to Washington. (Play
critiqued by Francisque SARCEY (1894). Les Trois filles de M. Dupont.
BRUEYS David Augustine de L'Avocat Pathelin (1706) new ed. 1902
BRUEYS et PALAPRAT Le Grondeur (1691) New ed. Gautier, Paris: 1889
CALONNE, Ernest de. L'Amour et l'argent. Paris: 1874
CHAMPMESLÉ, Charles Chevillet de. La Ruë Saint-Denis (1682). Probably first French play to treat the subject of
bankruptcy as a means to amassing a fortune. Note that a play by Fatouville, Banqueroutier (1687) deals also with bankruptcy
as a source of wealth. However, BN has no trace of this work. See below. eCHARLEMAGNE, Jean-Armand. L'Agioteur Max Aghion, in Le Théâtre à Paris au 18 siècle (p.53) mention two "pièces"
satiriques dirigées contre les profiteurs et les "nouveaux enrichis." See MAILLOT below: In L'Agioteur we have Tripoteur,
a shady character "un perruquier trafiquant." La Fille à marier (1793). L'Hommes de lettres et l'homme d'affaires (1795). La Journée
des dupes (1816).
CHANTAL, Olivier. L'Argent et l'amour. Paris: 1890
CHARNACE, Guy de Girard. L'Amour et l'argent. Paris: 1893
CHAZET, Réné-André-Polydore Alisan de Chazet. Les Commissaires, ou Récompense honnête. Paris: 1810. L'Ecu de six francs ou
l'héritage. (comédie) Paris: Barba, 1809.
[CHERCUSAC], Louis de. L'Amour de l'argent. (1882) ] NO TRACE!! Check name again in source document.
CHERON, François. [co-author on various plays] Did not write plays. Récits inédits sur la vie de famille dans les classes bourgeoises avant la révolution. Angers: 1881
CLAIRVILLE, Paul de; et FAULQUEMONT, Commerson.
La Bourse et les Petites Bourses,à propos vaudeville en un acte. Paris: Beck (1845)
CLAIRVILLE (dit: Louis-François NICOLAIE) et DUMANOIR (Philippe François Pinel, dit DUMANOIR)
CLARETIE, Arsène-Arnaud (dit Jules). Le Million (Roman parisien) E.Dentu 1882 Note:20 volumes 1881-1911)
Hortense, Couche-toi! (1897) Saynète, mêlée de chœurs. This short play could be considered comparable to the current sitcoms on American TV. A tenant about to be forced out of an apartment by the landlord invokes a little- known law
which allows him to remain an additional two weeks.
Un Client sérieux (1896) Comédie en un acte. Paris: Stock (nouv. éd.) 1922
CUREL, François de. Le Repas du Lion. Paris, 1897.
DAMPIERRE =Dampierre de La Salle Bienfait rendu ou le Négociant. Paris: Prault 1763. Aussi: Qui Perd gagne; L'Ingrat sans le
savoir; Le Faux avare. Ces pièces sont dans: Le Théâtre d'un amateur, Paris: 1878 (2 vols)
Un Certain M. Blot. Paris, Hachette. An average, middle class Frenchman, wishes to increase his modest savings. DANCOURT, Florent Carton, Sieur d'.
Les Agioteurs (1710). Play on the theme of speculation, much in vogue at the beginning of the 18th century. Dancourt's comedies are realistic pictures of the society he saw about him. His plays are a rich source for the examination of a bour-geoisie corrupted by wealth, the slow pace of justice, administered by scheming lawyers. Considered to be a precursor of Lesage and his Turcaret. The latter, around which the action centers, is evoked more than he is seen on stage. On the other hand, Dancourt's Trapolin in the Les Agioteurs, portrays the feverish daily activity of a financier whose every minute is fully pre-occupied with making money at other's people's expense without, if possible, being duped himself. DAUDET, Alphonse
Fromont Jeune et Risler aîné (1874). Considered by critics to be one of his best novels. Description of how one jealous woman's need for revenge plunges a prosperous company into bankruptcy and tragedy. Le Nabab (1877) The novel about a
Provençal who, having a realized a fortune in Tunis, returns at age fifty to establish himself in Paris. Surrounded by unscrupulous persons, ready to prey on his fortune, he falls victim to the swindlers, flatterers, and the politics of the Second
Empire society. To this bibliographer, one of Daudet's best novels, yet seldomed mentioned. DAUMIER, Honoré (Lithographer and caricaturist)
Les Gens d'affaires (Robert Macaire). Paris: 1979. Editions André Sauret. ISBN 2-85132-002-X A collection of illustrations depicting French businessmen of the 19th century among whom is the legendary Robert Macaire, a cad and villain of the first order. Daumier portrays Macaire in a number of guises, all representing the various business professions of the day. The subject of a later comedy by Lemaître and Antier, Robert Macaire (1834) [see below].
DELAVIGNE, Casimir-Jean-François. L'Ecole des vieillards. Paris: Barba, 1823. Voir aussi: Théâtre de M.C. Delavigne, T.1,
DELAVIGNE, Germain [+ Scribe] L'Héritière, comédie/vaudeville. Paris: Pollet, 1826 (Voir Scribe)
DESAUGIERS, Marc-Antoine-Madeleine. Le Marchand de parapluies, ou la Noce à la Guinguette. Paris: 1825
DOUCET, Camille. La Chasse au fripons, Paris: Furne, 1846
DRUON, Maurice. Les Grandes Familles. Paris: Julliard. A rich family and the stock exchange. Aussi: La Chute des corps.
DUFRESNAY ? any interest? mentioned by Petit du Juville @BN=see Champagne-du-Fresnay (Henri Hercule), perhaps no connection with LITFFB. No entries in catalog.
DUHAMEL, Georges. La Passion de Joseph Pasquier. Story of a financier.
DUMANOIR (Philippe François Pinel, dit: DUMANOIR