Essays on literary works - 2023
Honoré de Balzac Life and creative works of the writer
Honore de Balzac
Honore de Balzac… The French literary critic and publicist Andre Maurois has a biographical work “Prometheus, or the Life of Balzac” - a book about the creator of the “Human Comedy”, the great realist Balzac. The novelist's comparison with Prometheus can be understood in different ways. Balzac is the thief of the divine fire, who gave the spark of life to the countless crowd of characters born of his imagination. The ascetic work of a man who, over 20 years of creative work, created more than 70 masterpieces of the “Human Comedy”, who every day worked 12-15 hours in a row, is associated with the image of titanium. Balzac's life is a real feat. And the great novelist himself noted: “If I choose between Faust and Prometheus, I prefer Prometheus.”
Father about the life of Balzac. Having familiarized myself with court cases and processes, I went to Paris as a young man. I was very interested in history and law. And although I had almost nothing from the property, I made a good career - I became a member of the Royal Council and at the age of 51 I married Laura Salambier. On May 20, 1799, our second child was born - the son of Honore. He was always cheerful and affectionate. But his mother did not recognize caresses and kisses. She was very fond of luxury, wanted to please everyone, and this spoiled her character. Our boy was extraordinary - he lived in a mental world, he heard divine chords, which no one else heard except him. When Honoré was 8 years old, my wife decided to send him to the College of Vendôme. It was hard for the boy to part with his sister Laura, as she was his best friend. My son didn't like going to this college.
He was very fond of reading, even then he became interested in writing, but he was still not a good student. We began to worry about the health of the child, as he looked sick, he was perplexedly silent when asked ordinary questions. On April 22, 1813, we took our son home. I myself loved to read, bookcases occupied a place of honor in our house. I had the works of Roman and French writers, the works of philosophers, historians, illustrated editions dedicated to China. Honore sneaked into my office unnoticed and spent hours reading Rousseau, Voltaire, Chateaubriand.
Tour College student. In July 1814, Honore de Balzac was enrolled in our class. We, Honoré's college comrades, saw how he suffered from his mother's greed. Our parents gave us delicious food from home, and Honore ate stale bread. Often we called him "poor Balzac." But he said that one day he would blind us with his glory. In what field of activity? He himself did not know this, but even then he felt inhuman strength.
Sister Laura. In November 1814 our family moved to Paris. Honore was sent to the boarding school Lepitra. On September 29, 1815, he was released with a certificate, which indicated that he was a hardworking student. He attended classes at the Charlemagne Lyceum, took dance lessons. Our mother really wanted her son to become a genius, so the relationship with him was extremely harsh, although she loved him in her own way. My brother wrote easily, I kept one of his works for the family archive. On November 4, 1816, Honore was enrolled as a student at the Faculty of Law at the Sorbonne, and after 3 years he was awarded a bachelor's degree. But my brother did not want to stop there. He learned other sciences. He never had money, and yet women always liked him. My brother even won a bet with his grandmother when one of the pretty women in Paris reciprocated. Beautiful eyes, who radiated intelligence and youth, as well as exciting speeches, brought him victory. Balzac, who was always in debt, owed a lot of money to the baker who supplied him with his products. Having lost hope of receiving money, the seller came to Balzac with a request:* - Mr. Balzac, for the money that you owe me, write at least an advertisement for my enterprise!
* Balzac agreed and offered the merchant to put up the following sign: “Our products are very fond of and willingly bought by the great Balzac himself.” A little later the baker came to Balzac again, this time with a complaint;
* - Your advertisement will ruin me!
* - Have you stopped buying rolls?
* - On the contrary, they buy more than ever! But buyers say: what the great Balzac loves to buy, they want to buy just like a writer - on loan!
Balzac lived only 50 years, and left a great legacy. At first, his work gravitated towards classicism (the verse drama "Cromwell"), there were attempts to write in a romantic direction ("Chuans"). The influence of romanticism was marked on the entire work of the writer. From the romantics came to Balzac a sense of historicism, an understanding of the connection between a person's personal fate and the national life of the era. He draws colorful characters, his novels are filled with drama, contradictions and contrasts, he is not afraid of hyperbole, grotesque, exceptional situations, riddles and symbols. And all these elements are rethought for other creative purposes - for the sake of a realistic understanding of reality. Unlike the romantics, Balzac took as the basis of creativity not imagination, but observation of the facts of reality: jokingly, he called himself a “doctor of social sciences”.
epic. The term was proposed in ancient Greece and meant at first a collection of folk songs and tales about some outstanding historical event or historical hero. An epic in the modern sense is a novel or a cycle of novels that depicts great historical events, the lives of both individuals and entire families. The Human Comedy was an attempt to comprehend the shifts in society after the July Revolution of 1830, to recreate the frenetic rhythm in which the changes took place. This is the work of Balzac's whole life. In total, he conceived 150 works, managed to write 98 novels and short stories, which together form a single social epic of his time.
The first step towards "The Human Comedy" was the novelist's appeal to the genre of "physiological essay" - artistic journalism, which touched on contemporary topics and developed a rich material of social and psychological observations. Over time, the writer uses this material to create novels. This is how his world-famous work “Gobseck” (1830) appeared. Since the beginning of the 30s, Balzac has been writing large prose works - novels and short stories: “Shagreen Skin” (1830-1831), “Eugenia Grand” (1833), “Father Goriot” (1834), “Dark Matter” (1841). Even in the early stages of his work, the writer showed a tendency to write works in cycles, as a result of which the idea arose to combine them into an epic (her plan was formed in 1834). In 1840, the name "The Human Comedy" appeared. Almost everything is included in the epic, created by Balzac in the 30s, and written after 1842: the novels Lost Illusions (1837-1843), Cousin Betta (1846), Cousin Pons (1846-47), etc. The last novel "Peasants" remained unfinished.