Honoré Balzac - a connoisseur of human feelings - Honore de Balzac

Essays on literary works - 2023

Honoré Balzac - a connoisseur of human feelings
Honore de Balzac

The work of Honore Balzac is very difficult to perceive. It would seem that his characters are on the surface with their pains, joys, passions. But in reality, looking at them, you come across such an undercurrent that can absorb and prevent you from emerging to the surface.

The images of his works are so real that sometimes you forget that you need to consider them only in the context of the work, and you transfer them to reality and treat them the way you would treat people who exist nearby. Then the actions of the characters become incomprehensible and unconscious, and the work generally loses its content.

But we should not forget that the main idea of the romantics, assimilated by Balzac, was historicism, which was based on the principles of the unity of man and society. Depicting the era of his time, Balzac raised the individual above everyday life. Perhaps that is why his work is close to me and my contemporaries.

In depicting his heroes, both central and episodic, the writer coordinated the social belonging of the hero with his morality.

The most indicative in this regard is the "Human Comedy", where the author with complete accuracy and completeness explored the specific features of the era. The greatest attention, in my opinion, is attracted by the author's depiction of the "era of money", because Balzac deeply and subtly penetrated into the essence and "technique" of monetary relations. He managed to penetrate into the unaesthetic aspects of reality - the dirty calculations of the speculator and the catastrophe of the merchant, which determined most of the features of human life and morality. I think that one should not be skeptical of Dr. Bianchon's statement that "money is the religion of the new world", because money has always played a big role in social life. And it is poverty, lack of money, living conditions that become the external force that opposes the individual. Therefore, so often the heroes of Balzac fight with money, and do not serve it, because, according to the author himself, “only humiliating acts can be explained by profit.” And in the "Human Comedy" there is a whole crowd of positive characters, because the writer believes in a person and her inexhaustible spiritual powers.The images of d'Espard or Mongeno can be viewed in two ways: either as positive images of modern aristocrats and bankers, or as a symbol of the impossibility of philanthropy in modern society.

Balzac pays great attention to an outstanding personality. A powerful personality, capable of great efforts of will and struggle with people and circumstances, attracts the writer regardless of the purpose of her activity: either rebellion against ideological fetters, or against the enslavement of thought.

An outstanding personality, regardless of occupation, endowed with potential strength, power over the outside world. All the heroes of this plan are only variants of one type. Both Napoleon and Vautrin are people of the same breed, but the former rose to the highest level of political life, while the latter remained at the bottom of the human ocean. The force of chance helped Napoleon to discover genius, and the lack of proper circumstances led Vautrin to fight against society. The role of the hero's victory over hostile external circumstances is defined as follows: “There are no principles, there are only events; there are no laws, there are only circumstances; the higher man adapts himself to events and circumstances in order to direct them” (“Father Goriot”).

Contemporary Balzac's reality was reflected in the pages of the first novel, written as part of a larger whole, later called "The Human Comedy". Père Goriot is, so to speak, the key work to which all of Balzac's previous work converges. In the center of events is a five-story building, where dramatic events full of surprises take place: the murder of an heir, robbery, debauchery. The author tragically showed the philistine and aristocratic life, between which it is difficult to find differences, it is easier to find common features.

Honore de Balzac is an extraordinary figure. Despite all the contradictions of his views, he left to posterity a huge gallery of images that entered world literature as evidence of the genius of a great master. And most importantly, he was one of the first French writers who felt their modernity with such acuteness.