Vautrin and Same-sex Desire in Le Père Goriot

This essay is a re-examination of male same-sex desire in Balzac's 1834 novel. Starting with the observations made by Philippe Berthier in his landmark 1979 article, it proceeds, in the light of the work of historians of homosexuality such as Michel Foucault and David Halperin, to examine how Balzac presents Vautrin and his attraction to Rastignac. It concludes that there is no indication in the text of our modern concept of a distinct homosexual sexuality. It also shows, however, that Balzac seems to have been intent on undermining stereo-types associated with men attracted to other men (effeminacy). (RMB) 

Berrong, Richard M.
Volume 2002-2003 Fall-Winter; 31(1-2): 53-65.