The Resources of Quinola by Honoré de Balzac


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Resources of Quinola, by Honore de Balzac

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Resources of Quinola

Author: Honore de Balzac

Release Date: July 18, 2005 [EBook #7417]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE RESOURCES OF QUINOLA ***




Produced by Dagny; and John Bickers





THE RESOURCES OF QUINOLA

A COMEDY IN A PROLOGUE AND FIVE ACTS

BY

HONORE DE BALZAC



First Presented at the Theatre de l'Odeon, Paris March 19, 1842.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

Had the author of the following play written it merely for the purpose
of winning for it the universal praise which the journals have
lavished upon his romances, and which perhaps transcended their
merits, _The Resources of Quinola_ would still have been an excellent
literary speculation; but, when he sees himself the object of so much
praise and so much condemnation, he has come to the conclusion that it
is much more difficult to make successfully a first venture on the
stage than in the field of mere literature, and he has armed himself,
accordingly, with courage, both for the present and for the future.

The day will come when the piece will be employed by critics as a
battering ram to demolish some piece at its first representation, just
as they have employed all his novels and even his play entitled
_Vautrin_, to demolish _The Resources of Quinola_.

However tranquil may be his mood of resignation, the author cannot
refrain from making here two suggestive observations.

Not one among fifty feuilleton writers has failed to treat as a fable,
invented by the author, the historic fact upon which is founded the
present play.

Long before M. Arago mentioned this incident in his history of steam,
published in the _Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes_, the author, to
whom the incident was known, had guessed in imagination the great
drama that must have led up to that final act of despair, the
catastrophe which necessarily ended the career of the unknown
inventor, who, in the middle of the sixteenth century, built a ship
that moved by steam in the harbor of Barcelona, and then scuttled it
with his own hands in the presence of two hundred thousand spectators.

This observation is sufficient answer to the derision which has been
flung upon what was supposed to be the author's hypothesis as to the
invention of steam locomotion before the time of the Marquis of
Worcester, Salomon de Caus and Papin.

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