Library of Alexandria
The two Analytical Studies, Physiology of Marriage and Petty Troubles of Married Life, belong quite apart from the action of the Comedie Humaine, and can only be included therein by virtue of a special dispensation on the part of their author, who made for them an eighth division therein, thus giving them a local habitation and a name. Although they come far down in the list of titles, their creation belongs almost to the formative era. Balzac had just shaken his skirts clear of the immature dust of the Oeuvres de Jeunesse, and by the publication, in 1829, of The Chouans, had made his first real bow to his larger public. In December of that same year appeared the Physiology of Marriage, followed eleven months later by a few papers belonging to Petty Troubles of Married Life. Meanwhile, between these two Analytical Studies, came a remarkable novelette, At the Sign of the Cat and Racket, followed soon after by one of the most famous stories of the entire Comedie, The Magic Skin.