Balzac's reputation is as a novelist. But short stories make up over half La Comedie humaine, besides scores of other tales and articles. Short forms appear early in Balzac's output, and shape his work throughout his career. Balzac's Shorter Fictions looks at the whole of this corpus, at thenature of short fiction, and at how Balzac's novels developed from his stories - at the links between literary genesis and genre. It explores the roles of short fiction in Balzac's creation, its part in producing effects of virtuality and perspective, and reflects ultimately on the relationshipbetween brevity and length in La Comedie humaine.This, the first complete English-language study of Balzac's work for over forty years, synthesizes recent research on Balzac's practice within the context of modern thought on the author. It is an indispensable book for students and scholars of Balzac, and for all those interested in prose fiction.