Friday, May 20, 2022

May 20: Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright


Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a famously bawdy French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus is the novel sequence La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy), a panorama of post-Napoleonic French life. Regarded as a founder of realism in European literature, he is remembered for his multi-faceted characters; his writing influenced writers such as Zola, Dickens, Flaubert, and Henry James. He suffered from health problems (and the effects of an irascible character) throughout his life; his family relations were often strained by financial and personal drama. La Comédie humaine consists of 91 finished novels, stories, and essays, and another 46 unfinished (some of which exist only as titles). Balzac published 49 novels and novellas during his lifetime, including Eugénie GrandetLe Père Goriot, and La Cousine Bette; around a dozen more were published posthumously. He also published seven plays and numerous short stories. Many of his works have been adapted into films and television series.


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