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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.

Other books by Honoré de Balzac

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Goodreads rating: 3.80

Mass Market Paperback, Published in Sep 1985 by Gallimard

ISBN10: 2070376699 | ISBN13: 9782070376698

Page count: 337

Les fonctionnaires sont une invention de l'Empire développée par le XIXe siècle et l'époque contemporaine, et le roman de Balzac étudie la naissance de ces «armées bureaucratiques» qui vont envahir la France, de ce «pouvoir gigantesque mis en mouvement par des nains» qui sera la Bureaucratie moderne. Les «employés» de Balzac sont déjà les ronds-de-cuir de Courteline mais ils agitent aussi des problèmes qui sont encore ceux de leurs collègues d'aujourd'hui : décentralisation, justice ou non de l'impôt indirect, bien-fondé des nationalisations, extension du service public, etc. Construit autour d'une intrigue administrative (À qui la place?), le livre est un roman à clefs qui met en scène certaines des vedettes politiques de l'époque et l'on y verra comment les exploits de la «bande noire» sont à l'origine de quelques-unes des plus augustes fortunes industrielles de la France contemporaine.

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