French journalist and writer, one of the creators of realism in literature. Balzac's huge production of novels and short stories are collected under the name La Comédie humaine, which originated from Dante's The Divine Comedy. Before his breakthrough as an author, Balzac wrote without success several plays and novels under different pseudonyms. Despite prolific output, Balzac lived in debt. "...Well, Balzac was politically a legitimist; his great work is a constant elegy on the irreparable decay of good society; his sympathies are with the class that is doomed to extinction. But for all that, his satire is never keener, his irony never more bitter, than when he sets in motion the very men and women with whom he sympathizes most deeply - the nobles..." (Friedrich Engels in (1888)
Honoré de Balzac was born in Tours. His father, Bernard-François Balssa, named his son after St Honoré whose day had just been celebrated. He had risen to the middle class, and married in 1797 the daughter of his Parisian superior, Anne-Charlotte-Laure Sallambier; she was 31 years his junior. The marriage was arranged by her father. Bernard-François had worked as a state prosecutor and Secretary to the King's Council in Paris. During the French Revolution, he was a member of the Commune, but was transferred to Tours in 1795 because of helping his former royalistic protectors. Bernard-François felt at home in the land of Rabelais, and started energetically to run the local hospital. In 1814 the family moved back to Paris.
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