The Dynamics of Power in Le Lys dans la vallée
Balzac’s Lys dans la vallée (1835) and the twenty-sixth novella of Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron (1558) that inspired it explore much of the same archetypal ground as the Pygmalion myth. Central to all three texts is the desire to shape an ideal companion. A side-by-side comparison of Balzac’s and Marguerite’s texts highlights aspects of Le Lys that are often under-emphasized, particularly Balzac’s treatment of female characters. French and Raven’s theory on the bases of social power provides an approach to analyzing the means by which the female protagonist attempts to shape her younger male admirer into the ideal love object.