The Wild Ass’s Skin


Title: Saghari leather

Author: Honoré de Balzac

Translator: Mahmoud Etemadzadeh

Publisher: Scientific and Cultural Publishing Company

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 290

Language: Farsi



The Wild Ass’s Skin  is a book by Honoré de Balzac.

In his human comedy, Balzac places the story of Leather Saghari under the title of philosophical studies. In fact, this strange novel raises a specific issue in the life of the individual. Saghari leather is a spell that seems to make life dense.

Just as the person trying to achieve his desires and aspirations gradually erodes the forces of his body and soul and reduces the capital of his life, so the possessor of the spell achieves his desire and aspiration, which is enough to be expressed only to be fulfilled. The contraction of this piece of leather decreases until the day when the measure of desire is filled and death occurs with the disappearance of the leather. In this novel, perhaps more than any other Balzac’s work, the author’s spirit of pessimism is reflected.

Throughout the story, there are doubts about all manifestations of human knowledge and activity, and the transgression of political and philosophical thoughts and ideas. Balzac wrote this work in 1831. But many of the issues he points out are new to our time and can be instructive.

About the book Saghari Leather by Honoré de Balzac
Saghari Leather was written in 1831 by the French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1899-1799). In early nineteenth-century Paris, he tells the story of a young man who finds a magical piece of leather that meets all his desires.
However, for every wish granted, part of his physical energy is reduced and consumed. Before the end of the book, Balzac caused a stir by publishing a series of articles and short stories in several Parisian magazines.

Although he was five months behind the delivery of the manuscript, he managed to create enough interest that the novel sold out immediately after its publication. The second edition, which included a series of twelve other “philosophical stories,” was published a month later.

Although the novel uses extraordinary elements, its main focus is a true depiction of the extravagance of bourgeois materialism.
Balzac’s attention to detail is used to describe a gambling house, an antique shop, a royal banquet and other local areas.
His book also contains details of his life as a militant writer, placing the main character in a house similar to the one he occupied at the beginning of his literary career. The main issue of Saghari leather is the contrast between desire and longevity. Magical skin represents the life force of the owner.

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