Vautrin and Eugene de Rastignac, in Father Goriot. Splendeurs de Paris PDF over the body of Esther Van Gobseck, in The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans. French writer Honoré de Balzac in the La Comédie humaine series.
By the time the Comédie humaine series begins, Jacques Collin is an escaped convict and criminal mastermind fleeing from the police. The character first appears in the La Comédie humaine series using the name of Vautrin, so he is usually referred to in literary criticism under this name. Little is known about Collin’s early life. From the novels it can be gathered that he is born in or around 1779, has an above-average education and that he worked as an apprentice in a bank—a position his aunt Jacqueline had obtained for him. In the first decade of the 19th century he first came into contact with the criminal underworld. Collin lived under the name of Vautrin in the House Vauquer after an escape from the Bagne of Toulon in 1815. He is described as a cynical man, who likes to crack jokes, speaks rather intimately with everyone, and seems to know everything and have been everywhere.