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By Maurice Larkin

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There was the the growing fact of social mobility and the movement that took place between occupations. Not only might a merchant's son become a lawyer, but the merchant himself might change occupations, thereby making it hard to postulate the development of occupational types in the same way as animal species. Even so, these objections were less serious in Balzac's day than later. Despite the far-reaching changes of the early nineteenth century, social mobility was still modest in its proportions.

If this, for Balzac, was a period when the objectives of a class became those of a whole society, it likewise reflected the fact that his imagination was creating a society that was in part a self-portrait: a hazard that every Realist was to encounter in some form. Even so, Zola was later to acclaim Balzac's maturer work, notably La Cousine Bette, as a model of clinical observation, exemplifying the sovereign forces of race et milieu in a society where Man was being remorselessly moulded in new shapes.

Geoffroy broadly accepted the general corpus of Lamarck's beliefs, and was himself to give the system the portmanteau title of 'evolution' in 1831. His own personal contribution to its development was to put particular emphasis on environmental factors in determining change; and he later extended the system to include invertebrates-a move which helped to ignite the great dispute with Cuvier in 1830. At the same time, running parallel to these developments, was his expansion of Buffon's principle of 'the unity of composition' (1753), a concept which had a lineage stretching back to Aristotle.

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