Les Petits Bourgeois, stands on a rather different footing from the rest of Balzac's work. Both were posthumous, and both, having been left unfinished, were completed by the author's friend, Charles Rabou. Rabou is not much known nowadays as a man of letters; he must not be confused with the writer Hippolyte Babou, the friend of Baudelaire, the reputed inventor of the title Fleurs du Mal, and the author of some very acute articles in the great collection of Crepet's Poetes Francais. But he figures pretty frequently in association of one kind or another with Balzac, and would appear to have been thoroughly imbued with the scheme and spirit of the Comédie. At the same time, it'does not appear that even the indefatigable and most competent M. De Loven joul is perfectly certain where Balzac's labors end and those of Rabou begin.
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