This collection comprises two titles:
Z. Marcas (Z. Marcas)
- Gaudissart II (Gaudissart II)
Z. Marcas (Z. Marcas) is a 1840 novella included in the Scenes from Political Life (Scènes de la Vie Politique) subseries of La Comédie Humaine. Set in Paris, it tells the sad story of the rise and then the fall of a political strategist. Betrayed by the politician he helped ascend to power, he is now forgotten and has no money. He befriends a pair of students who live next door to him in a boarding-house, one of whom is the narrator. The story follows their many discussions about the political situation in France.
Gaudissart II (Gaudissart II), is a 1844 short story included in the Scenes from Parisian Life (Scènes de la Vie Parisienne) subseries of La Comédie Humaine. It is a sardonic portrait of Parisian salesmen. "To know how to sell, to be able to sell, and to sell" is their motto in the words of Balzac. They are cunning masters of salesmanship. In other countries of the world a shopkeeper is merely a shopkeeper, but in Paris things are different.