The novel was first published as part of the Nouveaux contes philosophiques in late 1832, but by the start of the following year he declared it to be "a wretched miscarriage" and began rewriting it. During the process, Balzac was aided by a grammarian working as a proofreader, who found "a thousand errors" in the text. Once he had returned home, the author "cried with despair and with that rage that takes hold of you when you recognize your faults after working so hard".
A vastly expanded and revised novel, Histoire intellectuelle de L.L., was published as a single volume in 1833. Balzac, still unsatisfied, continued reworking the text – as he often did between editions – and included a series of letters written by the boy genius, as well as a detailed description of his metaphysical theories. This final edition was released as Louis Lambert, included with "Les Proscrits" and a later work, Séraphîta, in a volume entitled Le Livre mystique ("The Mystical Book").