Next week, Andrew at Air Pollution and I will read and blog about Honoré de Balzac’s Père Goriot, a novel about a middle-aged man of middling means, whose income of preyed upon by family and strangers so that they can make their way in Parisian society. Balzac, like Zola after him, intensively documented the structure and customs of French society in his works, making him almost a sociologist in a novelist’s guise. I expect that the historical inspiration will flow from both of us.