Date of Award

Summer 1955

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Modern Foreign Language


Although Franch literature is unique in that every period presents interesting material for research, perhaps the most fascinating is that period which involves the Revolution, Empire, and Restoration. The very proximity of these political developments has had a profound effect on the novelists who lived and wrote at this time, and they have not failed to bequeath their observations on the resulting society. These observations naturally include many consequences not recorded by the historians, consequences which they also as individuals have experienced.

Important among these novelists are Benjamin Constant Stendhal Honore de Balzac, and Paul Bourget who not only reveal the direct or indirect influences of Jean­ Jacques Rousseau and Chateaubriand but whose works reflect a similar interest in a particular character type evident in the society of this period--the amoral character "beyond good and evil''. Rivaling Friedrich Nietzsche's superman, he is a parvenu par les femmes beyond the spurious good and evil of the prevalent common morality. Having created his own morality which permits no condemnation of the flesh, he possesses an ascetic "will to power".

In establishing the peculiar amorlity or those characters and the forces which have inspired their creators to portray this type, I have applied only those aspects of the authors personalities and experiences which are comparable and would definitely seem influential. Any further consideration or their lives would be superfluous. With this in mind I also have refrained from any analysis of the plots unessential for an understanding of the characters thmeselves and irrelevant to the purpose of this thesis.