Amy Lewis


Balls to Balzac began by connecting Lewis’ conversations with composer Bill Wolter to the life of Honoré de Balzac, author of The Human Comedy  Relating these two figures led to a performance art dancelecture on the use of “balls” as slang, the term’s relationship to Honoré de Balzac, and Balzac’s portrayal of 19th century society women.  Wolter’s use of the phrase “balls deep”, and the way in which this phrase relates to Balzac (called “balls-ache” by nineteenth century students) became the basis of their connection, though they are also tied together by their mutual belief that consumerism causes societal disruption.  For Balzac, consumerism meant the increase of his reading public, and therefore his income, yet it also signified the fluidity of class boundaries and the dislocation and chaos that went along with rapidly changing social structures.  Wolter agrees with some of the theories presented by Charles Eisenstein:  “The commoditization of social relationships leaves us with nothing to do together but to consume.  Joint consumption does nothing  to build community because it requires no gifts….Consumption calls upon no one’s gifts, calls forth none of anyone’s true being. Community and intimacy cannot come from joint consumption, but only from giving and co-creativity.” (Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, 78)


Photo: Sierra Murphree; Performer: Amy Lewis








Allan, Keith and Kate Burridge. Euphemism & Dysphemism: Language Used as          Shield and Weapon. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Balzac, Honoré de. Beatrix. Trans. George Burnham Ives. Philadelphia: George
Barrie & Son, c1897.
—.The Correspondence of Honoré de Balzac. Trans. C. Lamb Kenney. Vol.
1. London: R. Bentley, 1878.
—. A Harlot High and Low. Trans. Rayner Heppenstall. London: Penguin
Books, 1970.
—. The Letters of Honoré de Balzac to Madame Hanska. Trans. Katharine
Prescott Wormeley. Boston:     Little, Brown, and Company, 1900.
—. The Lily of the Valley. Trans. Katharine Prescott Wormeley. Boston:
Roberts Brothers, 1891.
—. The Wild Ass’s Skin. Trans. Herbert J. Hunt. London: Penguin Books,
—. A Woman of Thirty. Ed. George Saintsbury. Trans. Ellen Marriage.
London: J.M. Dent and Co., 1897.
Butler, Ronnie. Balzac and the French Revolution. London: Barnes &
Noble Books, 1983 .
Calle, Mireille, ed. On the Feminine. Trans. Catherine McGann. New
Jersey: Humanities Press, 1996.
“Creedence Lyrics: Lodi.” Creedence Online.
Floyd, Juanita Helm. Women in the Life of Balzac. New York: H. Holt and
Company, 1921.
Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form: Twentieth-century Dialectical
Theories of Literature
. New Jersey:     Princeton University Press,
Jay, Timothy. Why We Curse: A Neuro-Psycho-Social Theory of Speech.
Philadelphia: J. Benjamins, c2000.
Kanes, Martin, comp. Critical Essays on Honoré de Balzac. Boston: G.K.
Hall & Co., 1990. Marceau, Felicien. Balzac and His World. Trans.
Derek Coltman. New York: The Onion Press, 1966.
“Medicinal Fried Chicken.” South Park. Season 14. Comedy Central,
New York. 31 Mar. 2010.
Partridge, Eric. A Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.
New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990.
Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Ed. Paul
Beale. 8th Ed. New York:     Macmillan Publishing Company,
Partridge, Eric. Slang Today and Yesterday. New York: Macmillan
Publishing Company, 1934.
Prendergast, Christopher. Balzac: Fiction and Melodrama. London:
Edward Arnold Ltd, 1978.
Proust, Marcel. By Way of Sainte-Beuve. Trans. Sylvia Townsend Warner.
London: Hogarth, 1984.
Reinach, Jacquelyn. Nuts to Nightingale. Illus. Richard Hefter. New York:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.