Honore de Balzac
1799 - 1850
Balzac was one of the most important novelist of
the 1800's, and is known as the founder of social
realism. He used fiction to convey the total social
scene prevailing within one country.
Balzac was born in Tours, France. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. His first success as a writer was' Les Chouans'.
Financial speculations and many affairs with women kept him for most of his life deeply in debt. To pay his bills, he often wrote more than 16 hours a day for weeks at a time, keeping himself awake with coffee.
After writing several novels, he formed the idea of presenting in 'The Human Comedy' a complete picture of modern civilization. 'The Human Comedy' evolved into a series of nearly hundred works with more than 2 000 characters.
Among the masterpieces which form part of his vast project are 'Le Pere Goriot', 'Les Illusions perdues', 'Les Paysans', and 'Eugenie Grandet', in which detailed observation and imagination are the main features.
In spite of his rough style the work endures because of its powerful drama, epic realism and portraits of people in action.
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