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Konson, G. R. On the Phenomenon of Devilising the Old Antiquary in Honore de Balzac’s Novel ‘La Peau de Chagrin’

Published in journal "Psychology and Psychotechnics", 2014-6 in rubric "Philosophy and psychology", pages 577-586.

Resume: The subject under review is the content of different images of morals that initially have the devilish wit — moral temptation of a man which, in its turn, creates the grounds for a fantastic split of the reality in a man’s mind and, finally, his focusing on the feeling of catastrophism. The first impulse towards such a temptation is an unusual talisman ‘La Peau de Chagrin’ (The Magic Skin) which ‘brings bad luck’. In fact, this talisman divides man’s death into parts and provides more insights into personalities of the main characters throughout the entire book. The research method used by the author is based on the combination of several types of analysis including historical, philosophical, psychological, literary and comparative analysis. The scientific novelty of the research is in the description of the two types of morals that have been initially inacceptable for a man. One of such types of morals is for a lonely scientist. It guarantees many years of long life and illusory happiness that is usually safe for a man and a society. The other type of morals is for a man who wastes his life in vain. This type of morals destroys personal values and turns a man into a dangerous element of a society. In conclusion the author states that both types of morals, scientific-like and imaginary, are a deformation of the basic moral nature of a man and temptation of the devil. As for the old antiquary who presents these two types of morals (and whose image is the main subject under research of the present article), he appears to be someone like a devil himself, a kind of criminal, murder and ‘pseudo-savior’ who manages to destroy his victim’s system of morals prior to the victim’s death.

Keywords: Honore de Balzac, La Peau de Chagrin (The Magic Skin), old antiquary, Raphael de Valentin, man and devil, fantastic, talisman, image, desire, deceit and demonism.

DOI: 10.7256/2070-8955.2014.6.12175

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