Sunday, May 20, 2007

Born on this Day: Balzac, Honoré de (1799–1850)

Balzac, Honoré de (1799–1850)

Novelist, born in Tours, WC France. He studied at the Collège de Vendôme and the Sorbonne. From 1819 to 1830 he led a life of frequent privation and incessant industry, incurring a heavy burden of debt which harassed him to the end of his career. His first success was Les Chouans (1829, The Chouans). After writing several other novels, he formed the idea of presenting in La Comédie humaine (1827–47, The Human Comedy), a complete picture of mankind, employing a cast of over 2000 characters. Among the masterpieces which form part of his vast scheme are Le Père Goriot (Father Goriot), Les Illusions perdues (Lost Illusions), Les Paysans (The Peasants), La Femme de trente ans (The Thirty-Year-Old Woman), and Eugénie Grandet, in which detailed observation and imagination are the main features. His industry was phenomenal, writing 85 novels in 20 years, whose theme was predominantly the corrupting power of money and the over-riding force of self-interest. His work did not bring him wealth. During his later years he lived principally in his villa at Sèvres. In 1849, when his health had broken down, he travelled to Poland to visit Eveline Hanska, a rich Polish lady, with whom he had corresponded for more than 15 years. In 1850 she became his wife, and three months later, Balzac died.

Related Works
  • Novels
  • 1829 Les Chouans
  • 1829 La Physiologie du mariage
  • 1830 Le Curé de Tours
  • 1834–37 La Comédie humaine (incl Le Père Goriot, Les Illusions perdues, Les Paysans, La Femme de trente ans, Eugénie Grandet)
  • 1842–48 Les Parents pauvres (incl La Cousine Bette, Le Cousin Pons)
  • Editor
  • 1836 La Chronique de Paris
  • 1841 La Revue Parisienne

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1. BALZAC, Honore de.
Droll Stories (ML 193).

NY Modern Library Hardcover
Modern Library number 193. Translated from the French. A later printing. Small bookstore label on front free endpaper, else near fine in a very good (a bit sun faded along the spine) dust jacket.
Price: 12.00 USD
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2. BALZAC, Honore de.
Fatal Skin.

NY Pantheon Books 1949 Hardcover
Part of The Novel Library series. Translated from the French by Cedar Paul. Very good in a very good (minor edge wear, sun faded along the spine) dust jacket.
Price: 20.00 USD
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