My attention was called one day to Balzac the provincial, disclosing the great Parisian world, describing with the imagination of a dazzled country squire, a world he had never seen. Possibly this world is real to-day, in which case life has copied the romance. Such things are not so rare as is supposed.
In the present case, this is probably what happened: Russia, where the novels of Balzac had their first great success, imitated the manners of Parisian high life in his books; then these manners, applied there, and believed to be authentic, came back to us (as in the comedies of Musset), and we have now welcomed and adopted them. This is life in circulation.
(Alphonse Daudet, “Notes on Life.” In: The Novels, Romances, and Memoirs of Alphonse Daudet, Vol. 14. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, p. 188).