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Honoré de Balzac

- Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799-August 18, 1850), was a French novelist.

He was born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France in the rue de l'Armée Italienne.

- Honoré de Balzac -
He would become one of the creators of Realism in literature. His Human Comedy (La Comédie humaine) spanned more than 90 novels and short stories in an attempt to comprehend and depict the realities of life in modern bourgeois France.

Balzac's work habits are legendarily intimidating - he wrote for up to 15 hours a day, fuelled by innumerable cups of black coffee. Because of this extraordinarily large output, many of the novels display minor imperfections and in some cases outright careless writing. Several, however, are widely recognized to be masterpieces:

  • Cousine Bette
  • Le père Goriot
  • Eugènie Grandet
  • Les illusions perdues

Balzac's realistic prose and his strength as an encyclopedic recorder of his age outshine any small detracting qualities of his style to make him a Dickensian bastion of French literature.

Balzac is buried in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Balzac's works have fallen into the public domain, and a number of them are available online from Project Gutenberg. You can find links to and reviews of these at Abacci Books (http://www.abacci.com/books/authorDetails.asp?authorID=50). Balzac undertook a huge project: The Human Comedy, which is a collection of about 100 linked stories and novels. The stories are placed in a variety of settings, with characters reappearing in multiple stories. The Balzac Plan of the Comedie Humaine is as follows:


  • At the Sign of the Cat and Racket
  • The Ball at Sceaux
  • The Purse
  • The Vendetta
  • Madame Firmiani
  • A Second Home
  • Domestic Peace
  • The Imaginary Mistress or Paz
  • A Study of Woman
  • Another Study of Woman
  • La Grand Breteche
  • Albert Savarus
  • Letters of Two Brides
  • A Daughter of Eve
  • A Woman of Thirty
  • The Deserted Woman
  • La Grenadiere
  • The Message
  • Gobseck
  • A Marriage Settlement or A Marriage Contract
  • A Start in Life
  • Modeste Mignon
  • Beatrix
  • Honorine
  • Colonel Chabert
  • The Atheist's Mass
  • The Commission in Lunacy
  • Pierre Grassou


  • Ursule Mirouet
  • Eugenie Grandet
  • The Celibates:
    • Pierrette
    • The Vicar of Tours
  • A Bachelor's Establishment
  • The Two Brothers
  • The Black Sheep
  • Parisians in the Country:
    • Gaudissart the Great or The Illustrious Gaudissart
    • The Muse of the Department
  • The Jealousies of a Country Town:
    • The Old Maid
    • The Collection of Antiquities
  • The Lily of the Valley
  • Lost Illusions:--I.
    • The Two Poets
    • A Distinguished Provincial at Paris, Part 1
  • Lost Illusions:--II.
    • A Distinguished Provincial at Paris, Part 2
    • Eve and David


  • Scenes from a Courtesan's Life:
    • Esther Happy
    • What Love Costs an Old Man
    • The End of Evil Ways
    • Vautrin's Last Avatar
  • A Prince of Bohemia
  • A Man of Business
  • Gaudissart II.
  • The Unconscious Humorists or The Unconscious Comedians
  • The Thirteen:
    • Ferragus
    • The Duchesse de Langeais
    • The Girl with the Golden Eyes
  • Father Goriot
  • The Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau
  • The Firm of Nucingen
  • The Secrets of a Princess or The Secrets of the Princess Cadignan
  • The Government Clerks
  • Bureaucracy
  • Sarrasine
  • Facine Cane
  • Poor Relations:--I.
    • Cousin Betty
  • Poor Relations:--II.
    • Cousin Pons
  • The Middle Classes or The Lesser Bourgeoise


  • The Gondreville Mystery or An Historical Mystery
  • An Episode Under the Terror
  • The Seamy Side of History: or The Brotherhood of Consolation:
    • Madame de la Chanterie
    • Initiated or The Initiate
  • Z. Marcas
  • The Member for Arcis or The Deputy for Arcis


  • The Chouans
  • A Passion in the Desert


  • The Country Doctor
  • The Country Parson or The Village Rector
  • The Peasantry or Sons of the Soil


  • The Magic Skin
  • The Quest of the Absolute or The Alkahest
  • Christ in Flanders
  • Melmoth Reconciled
  • The Unknown Masterpiece or The Hidden Masterpiece
  • The Hated Son
  • Gambara
  • Massimilla Doni
  • The Maranas or Juana
  • Farewell
  • The Conscript or The Recruit
  • El Verdugo
  • A Seaside Tragedy or A Drama on the Seashore
  • The Red Inn
  • The Elixir of Life
  • Maitre Cornelius
  • About Catherine de' Medici
    • The Calvinist Martyr
    • The Ruggieri's Secret
    • The Two Dreams
  • Louis Lambert
  • The Exiles
  • Seraphita

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