Click on a title to read other users' comments or to post your own comment:
A Good Place To Start
|Père Goriot (Old Goriot)||2|
A Bad Place To Start
|La Cousine Bette (Cousin Bette)||1|
Honoré de Balzac
added by editor
Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.
Please consider entering an additional brief biography here. You can Google this author by clicking here.
Excerpted from a bio at Books and Writers (website)
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) - Original name Honoré Balssa
French journalist and writer, one of the creators of realism in literature. Balzac's huge production of novels and short stories are collected under the name LA COMÉDIE HUMAINE, [modeled on] Dante's Divine Comedy. … born in Tours. … spent the first four years of life in foster care, not so uncommon a practice in France even in the 20th century, and returned to his parents at the age of four. At school Balzac was an ordinary pupil. He studied at the Collège de Vendôme and the Sorbonne, and then worked in law offices. In 1819, when his family moved to the small town of Villeparisis, Balzac returned to Paris to write. By 1822 Balzac had produced several novels under pseudonyms, but he was ignored as a writer. All his commercial activities failed …debt plagued him to the end of his career.
n 1833 Balzac conceived the idea of linking together his old novels so that they would comprehend the whole society in a series of books. This plan eventually led to 90 novels and novellas, which included more than 2,000 characters. Balzac's huge and ambitious plan drew a picture of the customs, atmosphere, and habits of the bourgeois France. lzac got down to the work with great energy, but also found time to pile up huge debts and fail in hopeless financial operations. "I am not deep," the author once said, "but very wide." Among the masterpieces of The Human Comedy are LE PÉRE GORIOT, LES ILLUSIONS PERDUES, LES PAYSANS, LA FEMME DE TRENTE ANS, and EUGÉNIE GRANDET. In these books Balzac covered a world from Paris to Provinces. …old aristocracy, new financial wealth, middle-class trade, demi-monde, professionals, servants, young intellectuals, clerks, criminals...
Balzac used to energetically write 14 to 16 hours daily, drinking large amounts of specially blended Parisian coffee. After supper he slept some hours, woke up at midnight and wrote until morning. Despite his devotion to his art, Balzac had time for affairs and he enjoyed life. It is told that Balzac once devoured first 100 oysters, and then 12 lamb chops with vegetables and fruits.
He died on August 18, 1850. At his funeral Victor Hugo delivered an address, saying: "Today we see him at peace. He has escaped from controversies and enmities..... Henceforward he will shine far above all those clouds which float over our heads, among the brightest stars of his native land."