Happy Birthday to Honore de Balzac

The prolific French novelist Honoré de Balzac was born at Tours, France on this day in 1799. Educated to practice law, by his early twenties he had written several novels under pseudonyms while working as a journalist. He bought a publishing firm and a printing company, but both failed and left him with a life-long fear of penury. At age thirty he began to write under his own name, describing in great detail the life of France of his time, writing and rewriting for fourteen to eighteen hours a day. What he styled "La Comédie humaine" (The Human Comedy), which was meant to stand beside Dante's The Divine Comedy, ended up spanning ninety novels and novellas and included over 2,000 characters.

Some of his more memorable quotes are:

“The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.”

“A husband who submits to his wife's yoke is justly held an object of ridicule. A woman's influence ought to be entirely concealed.”

“Envy is the most stupid of vices, for there is no single advantage to be gained from it.”

“It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”

“Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.”

“To be able to keep a mother-in-law in the country while he lives in Paris, and vice versa, is a piece of good fortune which a husband too rarely meets with.”

     All from Honoré de Balzac, 1799 – 1850

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