Honore de Balzac was one of the founding geniuses among the world's great novelists and VS Pritchett has built up a life-size portrait of the man inside the artist, the exuberant, uncouth provincial who combined encyclopaedic knowledge with the life of an exhibitionist, a gourmet, a successful pursuer of aristocratic women, a born salesman and an untiring traveller.
Yet, with some truth, Balzac called himself a monk, working sixteen hours a day fuelled by an ocean of strong coffee. When he died, he left the huge monument of 'La Comedie Humaine', an unsurpassed picture of French society from the rise and fall of Napoleon until the revolution of 1848.
VS Pritchett shows us Balzac in the Parisian swim of the 1830s and '40s, the Paris of Louis-Philippe, Daumier, Delacroix and the Romantics, with its contradictory day-dreams of Oriental sensuality, religious mysticism and bourgeois respectability, as the Industrial Revolution began to take hold.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 08 / 2002
- 128 x 195mm