Balzac, Honoré de: The Wild Ass's Skin, v1, 04 Sept 2007.
Honoré de Balzac
The Wild Ass’s Skin
(La Peau de Chagrin)
Translated by Ellen Marriage
A novel of about 97,000 words.
The same translation has also appeared under the titles, 'The Skin' and 'The Magic Skin'.
Raphael de Valentin is writing a treatise on the Will (which owes a lot to Swedenborg). Then he is given a magic ass's skin, which grants his every wish. However, each wish causes the skin to shrink and his life shortens accordingly. Eventually, Raphael orders his life so as to wish for nothing. But will the beautiful Pauline inspire a fatal desire?
I've restored the accents and italics and included a TOC.