The Blue Illusion of Fromont jeune et Risler aîné

This novel supposedly marks a high point in Daudet's realism, and appeared only two years after he began to meet regularly with Flaubert, Turgenev, E. de Goncourt, and Zola. Daudet claimed that the sources for his characters and settings were drawn from real life. Yet many traditional components of the realistic novel (money) play a small role here, and the notion of échéances is resolved in an overtly folkloric episode, the "Légende fantastique du petit homme bleu." The following characters and incidents are examined in an attempt to define the novel's vein of illusion: Désirée and her hat decorations, Chèbe and his empty store, Sidonie and her articles de Paris, Risler and his dream of a perfected wallpaper press, Delobelle and his non-existent dramatic career, and particularly "Cazabon dit Cazaboni," a swaggering, pomaded Tartarin who performs in a scruffy café chantant. (SH)

Haig, Stirling
Volume 1977-1978 Fall-Winter; 6(1-2): 111-17.