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About the Author: Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.

Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James and Jack Kerouac, as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.

An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting himself 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 apprenticed as a legal clerk, but he turned his back on 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. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.

Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, he married Ewelina Hańska, his longtime paramour; he died five months later.

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The Marriage Contract; La Grenadiere; Gobseck (Classic Reprint) by

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Paperback, Published in Jul 2016 by Forgotten Books

ISBN10: 1332836127 | ISBN13: 9781332836123

Page count: 376

Excerpt from The Novels of Honore De Balzac: The Marriage Contract; La Grenadiere; Gobseck
Monsieur de Manerville senior was an honest Nor man gentleman well known to Marechal de Rich elieu, who put him in a way to marry one of the wealthiest heiresses in Bordeaux at the time when the old duke went thither to assume control as Gov ernor of Guienne. The Norman sold his estates in Bessin and became a Gascon, fascinated by the charms of the Chateau de Lanstrac, a delightful place of abode belonging to his wife. In the last days of the reign of Louis XV., he purchased the post of major of the Gardes de la Porte, and lived till 1813, after having safely weathered the storms of the Revolution. This is how he did it. Toward the close of 1790, he went to Martinique, where his wife had property, and entrusted the management of his affairs in Gascogne to an honest notary's clerk, one Mathias, who was a convert to the new ideas. Upon his return, the Comte de Manerville found his property intact and advantageously ad ministered. This judicious conduct was the fruit produced by grafting a Gascon upon a Norman.
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