Honoré de Balzac

(May 20th, 1799 — August 18th, 1850)

Honoré de Balzac was a 19th century French novelist and playwright. He is best known for his La Comédie Humaine, a series of 91 completed works and 46 unfinished works depicting post-Napoleonic France.

Balzac was born to a social-climbing father and his much younger wife, the oldest of four surviving children. His parents’ marriage was loveless and they were very cold and distant to their children, which affected Balzac immensely. As a child and teenager, he struggled with schoolwork and with depression.

After being apprenticed to a lawyer at 17, he left his apprenticeship at 20 to become a writer. His family was very dismayed at this and left him alone in a Spartan garret in Paris while they moved out of the city.

Balzac wrote very prolifically, with a work ethic that was legendary at the time. He tended to get up at midnight and write beginning at one in the morning until at least eight in the morning. He was known to frequently work for fifteen hours straight or longer at a time, fuelled by a lot of coffee.

Though his first few works (a comic opera and a tragic play) did not sell, he soon found work writing short stories and potboiler novels before achieving real literary success.

Balzac died from heart problems at the age of 51, five months after his first marriage.

Honoré de Balzac is a book author.

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The Wild Ass’s Skin

Romantic Era

Balzac’s sits nearly at the end of main street, and when you sit inside of it, it’s easy to forget that you exist in the modern world. The tin ceiling design and the white marble of the counters as well as the café set up are a comforting beckon to the past and the distant, and it was sitting at one of those counters by the window that I thought about starting a book review blog in the first place. This is a review of Honoré de Balzac’s The Wild Ass’s Skin (La Peau de Chagrin).