"Ursula" (original French title "Ursule Mirouet," 1842) forms one part of "Scenes from Provincial Life," a series of novels-whose other major work is "Eugenie Grandet"-examining manners and morals in the French provinces. --- Among all the novels of Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), none depicts so penetratingly the small-mindedness, avarice, and envy of the provincial lower middle classes. In "Ursula", no limitations based on morality or decency will hold these people back in their effort to acquire wealth and influence. --- Along with Stendhal, Balzac is the most important French novelist of the first half of the nineteenth century, and a founder of the realistic novel in Europe. His principal work is the unfinished cycle "The Human Comedy" (French: "La Comedie Humaine," which includes "Scenes from Provincial Life"), in which he attempted, in more than 80 volumes, to depict the society of his time in its entirety.