Honoré de Balzac on the Threshold of Manhood - Honore de Balzac

Essays on literary works - 2023

Honoré de Balzac on the Threshold of Manhood
Honore de Balzac

Parents hoped that after graduation, Honore would practice law and very soon strengthen the well-being of the family. But the vain young man dreamed of something completely different: he decided to become a famous and rich writer. But the question is: is it possible, by doing literature, to make a fortune and get rich? Considering that Honore had a sharp observation, an extraordinary memory and a developed imagination, it was decided at the family council: “As soon as the boy claims that he has talent, let him prove it in practice. We must give him the opportunity to try his hand and put two years into it. François de Balzac allocated one and a half thousand francs a year to fulfill the dream of his son Francois de Balzac. However, a period of two years turned out to be catastrophically short in order to become famous and get rich.

Honore develops a vigorous activity. He tries his hand at various literary genres and ... suffers one setback after another. The first attempt in the literary field, the tragedy "Cromwell" created by him in the spirit of classicism, was not successful and went unnoticed. Despite the setback, Balzac continues to work hard. He proceeded to create the then fashionable "Gothic" or "Black novels" and for five years published a series of such works, which, alas, did not represent any artistic value.

Meanwhile, the financial situation of the young man worsened every day, despite all his efforts and vigorous energy. It was a serious life test. To the credit of the future writer, neither hunger, nor cold, nor constant need could break the young man. In an effort to improve his fairly shaken financial situation, he, along with literary creativity, is trying to do business. Having borrowed a substantial amount, Balzac first began to publish one-volume French classics, then he bought a printing house and began to print all kinds of reference books and catalogs of trading companies, but he could not stand the competition and finally went bankrupt.Despite all the failures, Honore continues to work in the literary field, and the more unbearable his financial situation becomes, the harder he works. Need and creditors are constantly urging him on. Balzac writes an incredible amount. 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 times

Work was the content of Balzac's life. But at the same time, he managed to meet with friends, among whom were writers V. Hugo, George Sand, G. Heine, T. Gauthier, romantic artist E. Delacroix, pianist and composer F. Liszt. Russian poet and literary critic, professor of Moscow University S. P. Shevyrev, one of A. S. Pushkin’s friends, who met with Balzac in Paris, wrote about him like this: “In all his movements, he has extraordinary speed and liveliness; voiced and fast speech; laughter simple-hearted, heartfelt, sincere. With all his outward appearance, especially the last line of bright laughter, fluent conversation and naive ease, he reminded me a lot of our Pushkin.

The titanic work of Honore de Balzac has finally crowned itself with a major literary success. In the spring of 1829, the writer's historical novel Chouans, or Brittany in 1799 was published and published. The novel was favorably received by critics. Inspired by success, Balzac writes and publishes in 1830 the story "Gobsek" and "The Elixir of Longevity". In 1831 - the philosophical novel "Shagreen Skin", which brings the writer European fame and glory. The novel "Eugene Grandet" finally strengthened the glory of the French realist writer in the person of the European reader.