Honore de Balzac
- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Uncertainty 1
French novelist and playwright famed from 1829. A dynamo of activity, he covered a vast enterprise of writing a series, "The Human Comedy," with 2,000 characters. The Paris of his stories was a caldron of greed, envy and intractable class conflict, with air pollution, crowded, dangerous streets and awful slums alongside ostentatious displays of fabulous wealth, a place where "thinking is kept to a minimum." Nonetheless, Balzac loved his city and during a rural visit he complained, "There are no prostitutes, no cheap theaters, no society, no newspapers, nor any of the impurities that betray the presence of civilization." He would have loved modern day Hollywood.
Born in the Loire valley, he arrived in Paris when he was 20 to conquer the world of commercial journalism, churning out articles, reviews and the occasional potboiler with such titles as "Lost Illusions," and "The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans."
Impractical in mundane affairs, Balzac was always looking for the big financial score, venturing into Mediterranean silver mines and Brazilian treasure hunts to elaborate publishing schemes. The plans always failed and he spent a lifetime in debt.
He came into his own as a novelist during the 1830s. By the time he died at the age of 51, he had produced more than a hundred novels and tales filled with his countless recurring characters. Only a fraction of his books are printed in English, where he is little read.
His letters portrayed his mother as a tyrannical witch from whose suffocating embrace he was never entirely able to extricate himself. Along with casual love affairs, for 17 years he conducted a long-distance romance with Eveline Hanska, a wealthy Polish countess living in the Ukraine. His letters to her were voluminous though he seldom saw her in person. When her husband died in 1841, she finally arrived in Paris and they married at long last. They were only together for about four years, but they were blissfully happy, overwhelmingly in love. One of her servants described the middle-aged newlyweds together at night, sitting by the fireside, "They talked and talked until morning, whatever could they find to talk about for so long?"
With bronchitis and a heart condition, Balzac died on 8/18/1850, Paris.