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Honore de Balzac Book and Novel

Honore de Balzac - Author


Honore de Balzac was born 20 May 1799, the second son of a civil servant. He was brought up away from his family home, first in the care of a wet-nurse and then at a strict grammar school at Vendome. Balzac then studied at the Sorbonne, before entering training to become a lawyer, like his father. At the age of twenty, to the consternation of his family, he announced his intention to abandon law and become a writer. His early literary works met with little success, and Balzac's various business ventures as a printer and publisher also foundered. In 1829, he began to conceive a grand design for a series of novels comprehensively portraying French society in the eighteenth century. Balzac's Comedie humaine became his life's work, comprising 91 separate works depicting private and public life in the town and country, in politics and the military. Masterpieces of the Comedie humaine include Eugenie Grandet, Pere Goirot, The Wild Ass's Skin and The Black Sheep. Many of his novels were critically acclaimed on publication, and went on to profoundly influence authors from Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert to Charles Dickens and Henry James. At the age of fifty-one, Balzac was finally able to marry the recently widowed Evelina Hanska, whom he had loved for eighteen years. But by this time he was in very poor health and Balzac died only five months after his wedding, on 18 August 1850.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Honore de Balzac

Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
Eugenie Grandet
Honore de Balzac
One of Rose Tremain's favourite books. 'This brilliant but devastatingly sad novel moved me so much, I began it again the moment I got to the end.' You can read Rose Tremain's full Introduction to Eugenie Grandet in this...
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/04/2011

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