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Brander Matthews (1852–1929).  The Short-Story.  1907.

By Alphonse Daudet  (1840–1897)

Notes to The Siege of Berlin

DAUDET is like Dickens in his sentiment and in his sympathy with the humble. He came from Provence to Paris; he began as a poet and he ended as a realistic novelist. But there is a lyric grace in his prose even when he is dealing with the lower realities of life in Paris. His short-stories have often a ballad-like quality as though they might have been told in verse. They deal with his native South often but almost as frequently with his adopted Paris, and especially with the capital when it was besieged by the Prussians. The “Siege of Berlin” was written about 1872.
This is the simplest of tales, scarcely more than an anecdote, but it is told with tender irony and with patriotic pathos. There is a directness, a sense of reality, due to the device of putting the narrative into the mouth of the attending physician, who tells merely what he saw.