The New Student's Reference Work/Balzac, Honore de

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Balzac (băl′zăk′), Honore de, a great French novelist, was born at Tours in 1799. He studied law, but gave it up and went to Paris to try his fortune as an author. For ten years he lived in wretched circumstances, writing stories which were of little value. In his thirtieth year he wrote his first great novel, The Last Chouan, which brought him into notice. Soon after he began his great work, called The Human Comedy, which was intended to be a complete picture of modern life. He was a very hard worker, and wrote eighty-five novels in twenty years. Few writers have shown such power in describing character and in giving reality and life to their characters. Some of his best works are Scenes of Provincial Life, Scenes of Parisian Life, La Peau de Chagrin (The Magic Skin), Le Cousin Pons, Séra-phita, Conies Drôlatiques, Eugénie Grandet and Father Goriot. He died at Paris, Aug. 18, 1850.