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'What holds sway over this country without morals, beliefs, or feelings? Gold and pleasure.' Sexual attraction, artistic insight, and the often ironic relationship between them is the dominant theme in the three short works collected in this volume. In Sarrasine an impetuous young sculptor falls in love with a diva of the Roman stage, but rapture turns to rage when he discovers the reality behind the seductiveness of the singer's voice. The ageing artist in The Unknown Masterpiece, obsessed with his creation of the perfect image of an ideal woman, tries to hide it from the jealous young student who is desperate for a glimpse of it. And in The Girl with the Golden Eyes, the hero is a dandy whose attractiveness for the mysterious Paquita has an unexpected origin. These enigmatic and disturbing forays into the margins of madness, sexuality, and creativity show Balzac spinning fantastic tales as profound as any of his longer fictions. His mastery of the seductions of storytelling places these novellas among the nineteenth-century's richest explorations of art and desire. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.