Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799. Balzac came from an up and coming family. His father was a self-made man who married for wealth. Balzac was privileged in many ways, but from what I have read, he did not seem content in his youth.

After studying at Sorbonne, he was apprenticed in law, but gave it up as it was too much of a grindstone. He proclaimed he wanted to be a writer. On his way, he thought up and participated in a number of business ventures that left him in debt. The early works are of varied quality.

Today he is revered as one of the founders of realism in European literature with his monumental La Comédie Humaine and is compared to Charles Dickens.

Parts of his life do read like a novel. In February 1832, Balzac received a letter from a stranger in Odessa. He replied through a classified ad in Gazette de France – and that sparked a long, passionate correspondence between Balzac and Ewelina Hanska. After the death of her much older husband, Balzac and Ewelina finally met in person in 1843 and they were married in Poland in 1850. Only five months later, Balzac died.


I have to admit, I thought Balzac looked like Byron in some way, but then my only impression of Balzac is from Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

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