“All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.”-Honore de Balzac

I never knew much about Honore de Balzac; knew I liked many of his quotes, read some of his writings, but that’s about it. I was fascinated by his life as I read about him this morning for this post. How sad it was to learn that when he finally found someone to love, he died 5 months later! I chuckled when I read his quote about lawyers from his novel, Le Notaire (1840): “…a young person in the legal profession sees “the oily wheels of every fortune, the hideous wrangling of heirs over corpses not yet cold, the human heart grappling with the Penal Code.” Relevant today, n’est -ce pas?  Balzac is recognized as one of the founders of a writing style called Realism, which influenced other writers such as Emile Zola. Now, Emile Zola I really know….I used to love reading his novels as a teenager! I admired Zola’s speaking out in defense of Dreyfus in his famous letter, J’Accuse. “Realism is a literary movement that attempts to describe life without idealization or romantic subjectivity. Although realism cannot be precisely timed or limited to any period, it is most often associated with a movement in 19th-century France (approximately 1840-1890).”-writershistory.com

Back to Honore de Balzac who was born today, May 20th in 1799. Balzac’s La Comedie Humaine , “…consists of a hundred short stories and novels written by Balzac during the early 19th century. They are compiled into different sections. The titles of these sections are: Scenes from private life, Scenes from Provincial life, Scenes from Parisian life, Scenes from Political Life, Scenes from military life, scenes from Country Life, and Philosophical Studies. Balzac wrote these stories because he wanted to study and examine every day life via the lives of individuals in different levels of Parisian society.”

2 thoughts on ““All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.”-Honore de Balzac

  1. Love this article. A wonderful visual accompaniment to Balzac and representation of French Realism in painting are the works of Gustave Courbet and Jean Francois Millet.

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