Honoré de Balzac – The Citizen and the Writer
Balzac was born in 1799 in Turku, France. As a personality and writer, he was formed in the first half of the 19th century, marked by the strong rise of the bourgeoisie and its philosophy of life and money. When he finished law studies, he was supposed to be a notary, because this call provided social reputation and a comfortable life, as his parents claimed. However, Balzac did not like that. Eve as a boy, he wanted to be a writer. He was grasping his creative genius and persistently refusing to deal with anything except writing. His first attempt was a tragedy of Cromwell, but it was a very poor work. He turned to the novel, wrote several novels for several years, but that wasn’t a success either.
After the first literary failures, he decides to turn to publishing, then buys a printer with financial help from her parents. In this business, he perishes and experiences a catastrophe that will follow him for the rest of his life; he was constantly in debt. Again, he returned to literature to write a novel about a civil war between monarchists and Republicans in Brittany. He goes to the scene of the event, collects materials, returns to Paris, writes the novel The Last Song and, aware of its value, signs it with his name. After ten years of hesitation and search for artistic expression, The Last Song (1829) has achieved remarkable success and established Balzac as a writer. From then on, for the next twenty years, Balzac will write a hundred books, writing from day to day without rest, at seventeen hours a day. Balzac is an example of tremendous creative power, devotion to literature. Due to constant writing, his health worsened in the last couple of years of his life. He died in 1850 at the height of his glory.
Balzac came to the brilliant idea of combining all of his novels into a whole he called the Human Comedy. Some of his personalities appear in different parts of his work, different times and different ambiances. In the Human Comedy Balzac presents nobility, ministers, politicians, bankers, judges, lawyers, officers, priests, merchants, journalists, students, craftsmen, peasants, craftsmen, brothers, prostitutes. His Human Comedy has thus become the other story of the French society of the first half of the 19th century. He became the best-known historian, to give a detailed, precise and meticulous picture of society in all its spheres: politics, economics, finances, psychology, philosophy, morality. The most significant and most famous of Balzac’s works include: Le Pere Goriot, La Peau de chagrin, Eugenie Grandet, La Cousine Bette , Peasants, Le Colonel Chabert.
Balzac had two faces: one is Balzac the citizen, the other Balzac the writer. Balzac is a citizen on the side of the monarchy and the nobility, clergyman like; and Balzac the writer shows sympathy with republicans, showing bourgeoisie in full creative power and rising; nobility is depicted in material and moral degradation, with no prospect and power to survive. Thus in the Human Comedy Balzac realist won the Balzac ideologist.