Following up on that last post, I'm remembering that Stendhal once told Balzac that he warmed up for novelizing by reading the French Civil Code. Cute, but I think it has to be a joke: Stendhal is, after all, a compulsive trickster with a taste for the obscure and the faux pedantic: if this (if in little else) a bit like Joyce.
The odd thing is--literary scholars appear to take him at face value and to consider the deeper meaning of the comparison. One thinks that perhaps they need to lighten up.
Afterthought: I seem to have thought this thought before.