The Commission in Lunacy provided me with a look into a historical question I had not previously pondered. How did they treat controversies arising over claims that a person was allegedly not fit to manage own affairs in Paris in the 1830s. Of course such cases normally only came up for government ruling among the rich where spouses, siblings, or potential heirs thought someone was handling their moneyed in an insane fashion. The Commision in Lunacy takes us inside a case where the wife of a wealthy man is trying to get a court order declaring him insane so he can be stopped from giving large sums of money to a family he seems to have no connection with.
Much of the enjoyment in this story is following the judge's deliberations, sitting in as he meets with those involved with the case. Of course Balzac does his masterful job of describing all involved and the settings for the story.
The Commision in Lunacy is worth reading as a stand alone work mostly for the time traveling aspects we savor in Balzac, for the descriptions, and for following the thoughts of the judge as the case unravels.