Le Lys dans la vallée

Le Lys dans la Vallée (English: The Lily of the Valley) is an 1835 novel about love and society by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850). It concerns the affection — emotionally vibrant but never consummated — between Félix de Vandenesse and Henriette de Mortsauf. It is part of his series of novels (or Roman-fleuve) known as La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy), which parodies and depicts French society in the period of the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848). In his novel he also mentions the château Azay-le-Rideau, which can still be visited today.

Le Lys dans la Vallée
Image from Le Lys dans la Vallée
AuthorHonoré de Balzac
IllustratorÉdouard Toudouze
SeriesLa Comédie humaine
PublisherEdmond Werdet
Publication date
Preceded byLe Curé de village 
Followed byLa Peau de chagrin 


Henriette de Mortsauf was modelled on Balzac's close friend Laure Antoinette de Berny (née Hinner), a woman 22 years his senior who greatly encouraged his early career.[1] Mme. de Berny died shortly after reading the completed novel[2] — in which Henriette also dies.


  1. ^ Honoré de Balzac by Albert Keim and Louis Lumet, chapter 4
  2. ^ Women in the Life of Balzac by Juanita Helm Floyd

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