The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

46 views
A Focus on Our Authors > Balzac - Background Information and Resources

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4456 comments Mod
Please post any background information or resources for this book, author, time period, history, etc.


message 2: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4456 comments Mod
Nobody has background info?


message 3: by Omaid (new)

Omaid ibn Naimet Honore de balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright.

Owing to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature.

An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts.

Source: Wikipedia


message 4: by Omaid (new)

Omaid ibn Naimet Balzac had health problems throughout his life. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal difficulties, and he ended several friendships over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Hańska, his longtime love; he died five months later.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (anzlitlovers) Deborah wrote: "Nobody has background info?"
See https://balzacbooks.wordpress.com/


message 6: by Madge UK (last edited Aug 20, 2015 10:30AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2926 comments Balzac 'created some two thousand characters, in twenty-two years of intensive work at relentlessly high pressure, working fourteen, sixteen, eighteen hours a day for months on end, choosing the night to work in, when he would be free from interruption, and stimulating his tired brain with cups of strong black coffee. In those years, apart from numerous essays, short stories and plays, he wrote nearly ninety volumes, of which almost every one is a novel of the first rank.' Not surprisingly Balzac died from caffeine poisoning as he drank over 50 cups a day. Not the instant stuff but pure ground coffee, made in a traditional percolator.

He was a great womaniser and romantic and in The Physiology of Marriage he writes of women; 'To believe in their virtue is a kind of social religion; because they are the world’s ornament and the glory of France.' He wrote this about his love for the Polish Countess Evelina Hanska, whom he later married:

"It is a beautiful plant growing from year to year in the heart, ever extending its palms and branches, doubling every season its glorious clusters and perfumes; and, my dear life, tell me, repeat to me always, that nothing will bruise its bark or its delicate leaves, that it will grow larger in both our hearts, loved, free, watched over, like a life within our life..."

An excellent French TV series made in 1999 featured French heart throb Gerard Depardieu as Balzac and was quite rightly called 'Balzac : A Passionate Life' .


message 7: by Omaid (new)

Omaid ibn Naimet wow, thanks for the info @madgeUK


message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda | 228 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Not surprisingly Balzac died from caffeine poisoning and drank over 50 cups a day. Not the instant stuff but pure ground coffee, made in a traditional percolator."

Wow. Now you don't hear of that happening every day! What an interesting tidbit. And to think of him creating ~2000 characters in 22 years? That averages out to one every four days. Amazing.

Thanks for posting that info, Madge. Love the quote as well.


message 9: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4456 comments Mod
Great info everybody. This will be my first time reading Balzac so I'm very appreciative of the information.


message 10: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments Deborah, if you are reading the Penguin edition, be sure to check out the introduction/translators notes.


message 11: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4456 comments Mod
Casceil wrote: "Deborah, if you are reading the Penguin edition, be sure to check out the introduction/translators notes."

Thanks. I always do as I find them very helpful,


message 12: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2034 comments Mod
I think he needed to write so much because he was always broke. An entertaining biography that I read was by the German novelist Stefan Zweig. I see there is also one by Graham Robb, who writes about French history for popular audiences.


back to top