Author. He is considered the founder of the realistic school of French Literature. Balzac was the first great writer to explore the influence of environment on human beings, and to reveal the complex bonds that tie man to society. His fame rests on "The Human Comedy", a series of nearly 100 novels and novellas. Together they form an epic panorama of French life between the 1789 and 1830 Revolutions. "The Human Comedy" has over 2000 characters, many of whom appear in two or more books, giving the series a strong sense of continuity and unity; and Balzac tried to introduce as many occupations, professions, and levels of society as he could. His writing style was rough and unpolished, his characters sometimes exaggerated, his meticulous attention to realistic detail sometimes tedious. But his work survives because of its sheer vitality and variety of incident. Some of the finest novels of the series include "The Chouans" (1829), "Eugenie Grandet" (1833), "Old Goriot" (1834), "In Quest of the Absolute" (1834), "Cesar Birotteau" (1837), "A Gloomy Affair" (1841), and "Cousin Bette" (1846). Balzac was born in Tours, France. He studied law in Paris from 1816 to 1819, then decided to become a writer. The rest of his life was devoted to writing, financial speculation, and chasing women. Balzac's lust for wealth and power led him into disastrous get-rich-quick schemes that left him deeply in debt. To pay his bills he wrote furiously, often working 16 hours a day for weeks at a stretch, keeping himself awake with countless cups of black coffee. Balzac's almost superhuman productivity had shown no signs of slowing down when he died suddenly from a heart attack. His work paved the way for the great writers of French Naturalism, among them Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola, and Guy de Maupassant.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards