Balzac's Belles-Noiseuses: Troublemaking Bodies in Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu

Madeleine Wolf

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper examines the female body in Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu in relation to the title of Frenhofer’s painting, La Belle-Noiseuse, which Balzac added in 1837 but then removed from the final 1847 publication. Arguing that there is not one Belle-Noiseuse but two, the paper claims that this title reflects the role of women as troublemakers in the text. Their unruly, troublemaking bodies thwart Frenhofer’s genius, frustrate the narrative, and provide a new theory of creativity based on conflict.
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)115-129
    JournalThe Balzac Review
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2020


    • nineteenth-century French literature
    • Balzac
    • Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu
    • La Belle-Noiseuse
    • trouble
    • female body
    • creativity


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