The Life and Works of Honore Balzac
Honore de Balzac
Balzac was born in Tours on 20 May 1799 and died in Paris in 1850. He witnessed the rise and fall of Napoleon, the return to power of the Bourbon dynasty, the events of the 1830 revolution; he lived in an age when the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie came to a compromise and live jourdains did not seem ridiculous and easily achieved what they wanted. The pedigree of the Balzac family is typical of many French middle-class bourgeois. The writer's grandfather was a peasant from the village of Nugarie and bore the surname Balsa. The father acquired a fortune during the Great French Revolution (1789-1794), speculating on the land of the fleeing nobles, that is, he turned out to be a man of typical bourgeois grip. They said that he combined. in itself the courage of a Roman, the patience of a Gaul and the physical strength of a Goth. And he began to sign Francois de Balzac.
After a private boarding school, he placed his son Honore in the College of Vendôme, where the boy gained a reputation as a lazy and mediocre student, since he preferred secret reading from the books of French enlighteners, especially Diderot and Rousseau, to theology and scholastic sciences. The punishment cell, where Honore was a frequent visitor, did not frighten him: there the young mind indulged in reflections. Books have always been central to his education. Honore's reading circle was extremely rich and varied: Renaissance writers, among whom Francois Rabelais was given particular preference; French classicists of the 17th century - Corneille, Racine, Molière; educators-encyclopedists; German romantics and English authors - Stern, Byron, "Scottish magician" Walter Scott; modern poetry, historical, philosophical, scientific works,
In 1814, at the request of his father and very strict mother, who wanted to see their son as a lawyer, the future writer entered the Paris School of Law. At the same time, he served as a clerk for a lawyer and a notary. Balzac was a man of tenacious memory and phenomenal observation, and these qualities were taken into account by his father, choosing a career for his son. But the son wanted to become only a writer. After a long struggle, the parents gave in. However, wanting to break Honore's stubbornness and prove what a chimera his dream could be, they reluctantly agreed to keep their son for two more years on the condition that he would become famous over the years. The term, of course, turned out to be too short, but Balzac did not give up his dream. These two years and the next few became for him years of need and trials in the harsh school of life. Later they were reflected in such works of the writer,
The hectic profession of a journalist, writing "black novels" with mysterious villains and violent dramas, starving in lofts and cheap boarding houses - this is the beginning of the path of the future realist writer. In order to exist, Balzac bought a printing house, tried to establish a profitable printing business, but very soon, having incurred debts that weighed on him for many years, he went bankrupt. This sad, but not the only attempt by Balzac to improve the budget brought him into contact with the predatory world of bourgeois businessmen, which he exposed on the pages of his books. Balzac's life is devoid of bright events, and he himself said: "The main events of my life are my works." They consumed his time and his strength.
Balzac wrote an incredible amount. The need behind him, and the creditors constantly urged him on. And the more hopeless his situation was, the harder he worked. His regime was strictly regulated. At six o'clock in the evening - dinner, sleep until midnight. After midnight, when the noise of the big city subsided, he sat down at his desk, and the silence of the night was broken by the creaking of a crow's pen (Balzac wrote only with crow's quills), which was accelerating its run on a special, very smooth paper. Thoughts hurried hand. Early in the morning, the writer took a bath, giving himself an hour's rest, then prepared coffee according to his own special recipe, drank it without sugar and set about editing the printing proofs delivered to him by a messenger. He had breakfast at noon and worked until six o'clock in the evening. But there were periods when the regime condensed to the limit.
Balzac had another amazing feature: he, as is typical of talented actors, knew how to get used to the image, into the character of the character, to take his place and feel what the hero feels in the given circumstances. That is why the feelings and motives of people of various classes, various professions depicted by him are so clear. The writer seems to allow the reader to "see them from the inside", to understand any actions and motives of the hero Goriot (1834). Having finished the novel "Father Goriot", Balzac decided to create a huge literary canvas - a panorama of the life of French society, covering all spheres, all classes, professions, characters. The plan of the great plan and its name - "The Human Comedy" - were decided by 1842.By naming his work that way and not otherwise, Balzac wanted to emphasize: The Human Comedy should have had the same meaning for his time as Dante's great work had for the Middle Ages. But “in the well-thought-out name, one could also see the writer’s desire to oppose the divine, the otherworldly - earthly, human, the circles of Dante’s hell - the social “circles” of human society.”
Balzac distributed all the novels into three sections, calling them "Etudes of manners of the 19th century", "Philosophical studies", "Analytical studies". The first of the sections, the most extensive, includes 72 novels, which are "Scenes of Private Life", "Scenes of Provincial Life", "Scenes of Parisian Life". It should be immediately noted that Balzac uses the word "etudes" in its direct meaning - study, research. And the word "artist" in Balzac is synonymous with the concept of a researcher, a person of search, creative creative work, no matter what field of knowledge he belongs to. Balzac also considered himself a researcher-historian and saw his task as an artist in comprehending the social world, in discovering internal springs and connections. Therefore, each phenomenon in the image of Balzac acquired a character typical of the era. In the Preface, written later, the writer said:
* “... in order to earn the praise that any artist should achieve, I had to study the foundations or one common foundation of these social phenomena, to grasp the hidden meaning of a huge collection of types, passions, events ... My work,” he noted further, “has its own geography, just like his genealogy, his families, his localities, his environment, characters and facts, he also has his armorial, his nobility and bourgeoisie, his artisans and peasants, politicians and dandies, his army, in a word, the whole world.
This mighty and tireless worker, this philosopher, this thinker, this one lived among us that life full of storms and battles, which great people live at all times. Himself not knowing whether he wanted it or not, whether he would agree with it or not, the creator of this enormous and extraordinary work belonged to a mighty breed of revolutionary writers.