Balzac, Honoré de


Balzac, Honoré de
(1799-1850)
   writer
   Considered one of the world's great novelists, Honoré de Balzac wrote, along with many short stories, essays, and plays, La Comédie humaine (1842-48), a cycle of about 90 novels describing French society in detail. Balzac was born in Tours and, at age 20, with his family's consent, gave up the study of law to devote his life to writing. He was influenced early by his mother's interest in mysticism and began his literary career writing works that reflected a romantic sentimentality and his youthful intoxication with abstract theory. Discouraged by an initial lack of success, he turned to publishing for financial security but soon fell into debt. it was the first of several financial disasters in his life. Balzac then wrote, often for magazines, on a per-word basis to get out of debt, which he never fully accomplished. Balzac's first important novel was Les Chouans (1829), based on the civil war in the vendée during the revolution of 1789. Although clearly influenced by romanticism, the historical accuracy and factual descriptions that characterize this work became hallmarks of Balzac's fictional style. The relative success of Les Chouans was followed by the triumph of his two philosophical novels, La Peau de chagrin (1831) and Louis Lambert (1832). At this time, he also met Eveline Hanska, a Polish countess with whom he remained for the rest of his life. Balzac reached his full creative maturity between 1833 and 1835, when he wrote and published his masterpieces Le Médecin de campagne (1833), Eugènie Grandet (1833), Père Goriot (1834), and Le Lys dans la vallée (1835). At this time he conceived the idea of connecting his novels with a larger work, depicting a detailed study of French life and society, from the Revolution to the ascendance of Louis-Philippe I in 1830. After 1834, he wrote his novels with this in mind, as parts of La Comédie humaine, and a 17-volume edition appeared under that title between 1842 and 1848. in his introduction to this edition, Balzac reflects the influence of the groundbreaking theories of Lamarck and Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire concerning the evolution of animal species. Balzac used the word studies to describe the three groupings of his work in which he extends the ideas of those two scientists on environment and heredity to his own description of human behavior and character. The goal of La Comédie humaine was to describe the human species in France from 1789 to 1830. in doing so, Balzac presages, by his significant degree of historical realism, the later movement of literary realism. At the same time, however, he writes in the genre of literary romanticism. Balzac's use of heightened realism, through which he attempted objectively to describe French society, as well as the development of the panoramic historical novel, had an enormous influence on other authors, including Marcel Proust and Émile Zola, both of whom wrote lengthy novel cycles.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Balzac, Honoré de — orig. Honoré Balssa born May 20, 1799, Tours, France died Aug. 18, 1850, Paris French writer. Balzac began working as a clerk in Paris at about age 16. An early attempt at a business career left him with huge debts, and for decades he toiled… …   Universalium

  • Balzac, Honoré de — ► (1799 1850) Novelista francés. Fue un autor de extraordinaria fecundidad literaria. El fracaso de su primer drama, Cromwell (1820), motivó su dedicación a la novela. Las dos primeras fueron La heredera de Biraque (1822) y El vicario de las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BALZAC, HONORÉ DE —    native of Tours, in France; one of the most brilliant as well as prolific novelwriters of modern times; his productions remarkable for their sense of reality; they show power of observation, warmth and fertility of imagination, and subtle and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Balzac — Balzac, Honoré de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Balzac — Honoré de Balzac Pour les articles homonymes, voir Balzac (homonymie). Honoré de Balzac …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Honore de Balzac — Honoré de Balzac Pour les articles homonymes, voir Balzac (homonymie). Honoré de Balzac …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Honoré De Balzac — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Balzac (homonymie). Honoré de Balzac …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Honoré de balzac — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Balzac (homonymie). Honoré de Balzac …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Honoré de Balzac — «Balzac» redirige aquí. Para la localidad francesa, véase Balzac (Charente). Honoré de Balzac Daguerrotipo de Balzac (1840). Nacimiento 20 de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Honoré de Balzac — Honoré Balzac Daguerreotypie von Louis Auguste Bisson, 1842 Honoré de Balzac [ɔnɔʁe də balˈzak] (* 20. Mai 1799 in Tours; † 18. August 1850 in Paris) war ein französischer Schriftsteller. Er gilt den Franzosen neben Molière …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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