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Balzac, Honoré de

Country/Region:
France
Born:
May 20, 1799
Dead:
August 18, 1850
Genres:
Miscellaneous prose
Portrait image of Honoré de Balzac Photo: Félix Nadar
Honoré de Balzac was born Honoré Balzac in Tours, France, to a civil servant and his wife who was 30 years his junior. He added the aristocratic "de" in 1831. After sporadically attending the Oratorian grammar school in Vendôme, he moved with his family to Paris in 1814, and in 1816 Balzac began to read law at the Sorbonne. Around this time, he had discovered literature, and he was given permission by his father to spend two years writing. After a year living in a garret in Paris, he had completed his first work, a verse drama in five acts about Oliver Cromwell. The reading in front of his family and invited guests did not go well, but the young Balzac was not easily deterred, he abandoned poetry and switched to prose, which turned out to be his right element. Balzac was born in the year of the Brumarie coup d’état in 1799, which ended the French Revolution. Napoleon came to power, and four years later he declared himself emperor.

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