Honore de Balzac

A picture of the author Honore de Balzac

Born in 1799, Honore de Balzac, a novelist and playwright, is best known for presenting a panorama of French life and a founder of realism in European literature. His collection of short stories and novels, La Comédie humaine (1832), focused on the years after the fall of Napoleon, in which he provided keen observations and uncensored details of French society.

Balzac influenced the writers of his time, including Gustave Flaubert, and was compared to Charles Dickens. The American expatriate novelist, Henry James, was most affected by Balzac's work.

Balzak married late in life, in fact he died just five months after his wedding in 1850.