Balzac's letter to authors, Paris (1834)

Source: Association pour la conservation et la reproduction photographique de la presse (ACRPP) : Revue de Paris, Nouvelle Série - Année 1834, tome XI

Balzac's letter to authors, Paris (1834), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

Back | Record | Images | No Commentaries
Record-ID: f_1834

Permanent link:

Full title:
Pro Aris et Focis [For our altars and our hearths]. Letter to the French writers of the nineteenth century.

Full title original language:
Pro Aris et Focis. Lettre adressée aux écrivains du XIXe siècle.

After Beaumarchais's endeavours on behalf of the Society of Dramatic Authors (which he helped to set up in 1777), this letter of Balzac's addressed to the French writers of the nineteenth century is surely one of the most eloquent appeals for a closing of ranks by all men of letters so that they might best defend their property interests. Reflecting an awareness of the writer's 'profession' within a capitalist economy, this coming together of France's authors, who until then (except perhaps for playwrights) had not really been linked by formal ties of association, was envisaged by Balzac as a force capable of 'regenerating the book trade' and securing 'literary property laws' which would be more favourable to them. At a time when in England the lack of true cohesion between authors contributed to the failure of Thomas Noon Talfourd's copyright bills (see uk_1842), Balzac's letter effectively paved the way for the creation, in 1838, of the 'Société des Gens de Lettres de France' (SGDLF) in which the great novelist also played a significant role.

Commentary: No commentaries for this record.


Related documents in this database:
1851: SACEM's act of constitution
1590: Giovanni Fratta's 'On the Dedication of Books'
1880: Franco-Spanish Bilateral Copyright Treaty

Author: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

Publisher: Revue de Paris

Year: 1834

Location: Paris

Language: French

Source: Association pour la conservation et la reproduction photographique de la presse (ACRPP) : Revue de Paris, Nouvelle Série - Année 1834, tome XI

Persons referred to:
Ariosto, Ludovico
Arnal, Étienne
Bacon, Francis
Ballanche, Pierre-Simon
Balzac, Honoré de
Barante, Amable Guillaume Prosper Brugière, baron de
Barthélemy, Auguste Marseille
Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de
Beethoven, Ludwig van
Bouffé, Marie
Buchez, Philippe Benjamin Joseph
Buffon, George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de
Byron, George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale
Béranger, Pierre Jean de
Camoens, Luis de
Catherine II 'the Great'
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de
Charles X
Chateaubriand, François René, Vicomte de
Chénier, Marie André
Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Corneille, Pierre
Courier, Paul Louis
Cuvier, Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, baron
Farina, Giovanni Maria
Frederick II, the Great
Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Anne-Louis
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
Gozlan, Léon
Guizot, François-Pierre-Guillaume
Hugo, Victor
Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique
Janin, Jules Gabriel
Julius II
La Fontaine, Jean de
Lamartine, Alphonse Marie Louis de
Lamennais, Félicité Robert de
Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
Louis XIV
Malesherbes, Chrétien Guillaume de Lamoignon de
Mignet, François Auguste Marie
Monnier, Henri
Monteil, Amans-Alexis
Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Musset, Alfred de
Mérimée, Prosper
Napoleon I
Nicholas I
Nodier, Charles
Odry, Jacques-Charles
Pellico, Silvio
Perrault, Charles
Pope, Alexander
Rabelais, François
Racine, Jean
Richardson, Samuel
Rossini, Gioacchino Antonio
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
Roux-Lavergne, Pierre-Célestin
Saint Pierre, Jacques Henri Bernardin de
Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin
Sand, George
Schiller, Friedrich
Scott, Sir Walter
Scribe, Augustin Eugène
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
Soulié, Frédéric
Sterne, Laurence
Sue, Marie Joseph Eugène
Tasso, Torquato
Thierry, Augustin
Thiers, Louis Adolphe
Vico, Giovanni Battista
Vigny, Alfred Victor, Comte de
Villemain, Abel-François
Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de
Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von
Étienne, Charles-Guillaume

Places referred to:
Le Havre
St Petersburg

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Académie française
Opéra (Paris)
Order of Malta
Société des Auteurs Dramatiques (Society of Dramatic Authors, f.1777, now SACD)

Code civil (Napoleonic code) 1804

French Revolution
authors' remuneration
authorship, romantic concept of
book market
book trade
divine law
foreign reprints
industrial revolution
interest groups
labour theory
personality theory
property analogies
property theory, authors' property
public domain
public performance
societies, authors'

Responsible editor: Frédéric Rideau

Copyright History resource developed in partnership with:

Our Partners

Copyright statement

You may copy and distribute the translations and commentaries in this resource, or parts of such translations and commentaries, in any medium, for non-commercial purposes as long as the authorship of the commentaries and translations is acknowledged, and you indicate the source as Bently & Kretschmer (eds), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) (

With the exception of commentaries that are available under a CC-BY licence (compliant with UKRI policy) you may not publish individual documents or parts of the database for any commercial purposes, including charging a fee for providing access to these documents via a network. This licence does not affect your statutory rights of fair dealing.

Although the original documents in this database are in the public domain, we are unable to grant you the right to reproduce or duplicate some of these documents in so far as the images or scans are protected by copyright or we have only been able to reproduce them here by giving contractual undertakings. For the status of any particular images, please consult the information relating to copyright in the bibliographic records.

Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) is co-published by Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK and CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow, 10 The Square, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK