Honoré de Balzac ( / ˈ b ɔː l z æ k , ˈ b æ l - / ; [1] French:  [ɔ.nɔ.ʁe d(ə) bal.zak] ; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie Humaine , which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte .

An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school . His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was apprenticed in a law office , but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.

Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, Balzac married Ewelina Hańska , a Polish aristocrat and his longtime love; he died in Paris five months later.

From: Romance Notes
Volume 52, Number 2, 2012
pp. 197-204 | 10.1353/rmc.2012.0027

Chez moi l’observation était déjà devenue intuitive, elle pénétrait l’âme sans négliger le corps; ou plutôt elle saisissait si bien les détails extérieurs, qu’elle allait sur-le-champ audelà; elle me donnait la faculté de vivre de la vie de l’individu sur laquelle elle s’exerçait en me permettant de me substituer à lui comme le derviche des Mille et Une Nuits prenait le corps des personnes sur lesquelles il prononçait certaines paroles.

Like Scheherazade herself, then, the primary narrator betrays an uncanny talent for story-telling. Unlike the tales in Arabian Nights , however, his texts are anchored solidly in the familiar milieu of his lower-class neighborhood, and are, therefore, aligned with “realist” narratives of the time. Similarities between the narrator’s texts and realist texts abound. To begin with, his attachment to scientific inquiry betrays his positivistic leanings. He spends much of his time hunched over tomes in a nearby library, breaking away occasionally to indulge in his favorite pastime of people-watching. As he trudges along the sidewalk, he imagines himself in the place of those he sees (“En...

Honoré de Balzac ( / ˈ b ɔː l z æ k , ˈ b æ l - / ; [1] French:  [ɔ.nɔ.ʁe d(ə) bal.zak] ; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie Humaine , which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte .

An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school . His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was apprenticed in a law office , but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.

Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, Balzac married Ewelina Hańska , a Polish aristocrat and his longtime love; he died in Paris five months later.

Balzac’s Cane - Peter Lang


Honoré de Balzac - Wikipedia

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