Balzac: A Biography Epub ´ Balzac: A Kindle -

Balzac: A Biography [PDF / Epub] ☁ Balzac: A Biography By Graham Robb – Thomashillier.co.uk In the first major English biography of Honore de Balzac for over fifty years, Graham Robb has produced a compelling portrait of the great French novelist whose powers of creation were matched only by In the first major English biography of Honore de Balzac for Balzac: A Kindle - over fifty years, Graham Robb has produced a compelling portrait of the great French novelist whose powers of creation were matched only by his self destructive tendencies As colorful as the world he described, Balzac is the perfect subject for biography a relentless seducer whose successes were as spectacular as his catastrophes a passionate collector, inventor, explorer, and political campaigner a mesmerizing storyteller with the power to make his fantasies come true Balzac s early life was a struggle against literary disappointment and poverty, and he learned his trade by writing a series of lurid commercial novels Robb shows how Balzac s craving for wealth, fame, and happiness produced a series of hare brained entrepreneurial schemes which took him to the remotest parts of Europe and into a love affair with a Polish countess whom he courted for fifteen years by correspondence Out of these experiences emerged some of the finest novels in the Realist tradition Skillfully interweaving the life with the novels, Robb presents Balzac as one of the great tragi comic heroes of the nineteenth century, a man whose influence both in and outside his native France has been, and still is, immense.


About the Author: Graham Robb

Graham Macdonald Robb FRSL born June , is a British Balzac: A Kindle - authorRobb was born in Manchester and educated at the Royal Grammar School Worcester and Exeter College, Oxford, where he studied Modern Languages He earned a PhD in French literature at Vanderbilt UniversityHe won the Whitbread Book Award for best biography Victor Hugo and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Rimbaud in In , he won the Duff Cooper Prize for The Discovery of FranceOn April , he was awarded the , Ondaatje Prize by the Royal Society of Literature in London for The Discovery of France.



10 thoughts on “Balzac: A Biography

  1. Rozzer Rozzer says:

    Most biographies are flawed in the relationship between author and subject It s a flaw if the author is overawed by the subject and a flaw if the author obviously despises the subject It s also a flaw when the author uses the subject s life particularly in literary biography mainly to demonstrate the author s own deep perspicacity There appear to be very few Boswells in the world In other words, authors who are invigorated and refreshed by their love and respect for their subject.Which is Most biographies are flawed in the relationship between author and subject It s a flaw if the author is overawed by the subject and a flaw if the author obviously despises the subject It s also a flaw when the author uses the subject s life particularly in literary biography mainly to demonstrate the author s own deep perspicacity There appear to be very few Boswells in the world In other words, authors who are invigorated and refreshed by their love and respect for their subject.Which is all by the by when it comes to Graham Robb on Balzac Because Graham Robb, to me at least, has found the perfect medium between all of these extremes of failure Robb s knowledge of his subject is complete, including not only Balzac s life but of Balzac s work and all criticism of Balzac s work And Robb s treatment of his subject s life combines a very judicious balance of deep respect and sufficient irony to convince us that Robb has an appropriate perspective on the essential human ness even of great writers It s always hard, I d imagine, to conceive of a world without numerous aspects we take for granted Balzac s own physical Paris, so important in all his works set in the capital, was almost entirely different from the Paris we know and have known for many generations, even if only from famous impressionist paintings To get a feel for the old Paris, the pre Haussmann Paris, one has to seek out the rare copies of Marville s photographs What we see in Marville s work are narrow, dark, medieval lanes and alleys, filthy, crumbling, stone shacks hundreds of years old and the disappearing remains of 18th Century broadsides painted onto the flaking walls of ancient, blackened warehouses and stables Balzac s Paris, the Paris so well described and represented in his novels, consisted of an infinite assortment of, on the one hand, this dim, poor, threatening and oppressive public reality, and, on the other, the entirely hidden though not in the case of the Palais Royale world of incredible private luxury gilded and green with entirely private gardens There is a substantial element of Balzac s work that can only be appreciated with that kind of to us incredible visual contrast between the luxury of the rich and the deprivation of the poor kept strongly in mind We too, of course, are working hard at re achieving that same kind of contrast today, though in our case the luxury is evenhidden than it was in Balzac s Paris.Robb continually demonstrates his awareness of all of these subtle aspects of Balzac s works, whether generally or in specific novels, bringing them to the fore as and when appropriate I had never before appreciated the extent to which Balzac entirely subjected his own personal life to the demands of his chosen profession Twelve years devoted to teaching himself how to write And then a literary career that took farthan its reasonable share of his existence for the creation of the Comedie Humaine Then death at 51 while his father had lived almost to ninety Are there as many self destructs in American or British literary history as there are in French Robb s book is a good read, as opposed to a fun read There s no sense at all in even beginning the book if you don t have at least some feeling for a few of Balzac s masterpieces I d say, minimum, Pere Goriot, Eugenie Grandet and La Cousine Bette For me, La Cousine Bette corresponds in a way to Bleak House for Dickens as a career landmark As for Balzac himself, well, does anyone really need encouragement Balzac is I think one of those universal literary stars no one can disregard without seriously depriving themselves of a major pleasure


  2. Jonis Davis Jonis Davis says:

    Read Balzac I recently reread Le Pere Goriot for the first time since college, and it led me to Graham Robb s marvelous biography A huge, voracious character who transformed what he saw into the immense 100 volume La Comedie Humaine Robb presents a man whose influence both in and outside France is still immense Next I think I ll read Illusions Perdues or Eugenie Grandet or La Cousine Bette.


  3. Jason Furman Jason Furman says:

    A generally excellent biography of Balzac, but I would have been happy with a decent amount less detail Graham Robb has an excellent feel for his subject, his literature and 19th century France It is a birth to death story that takes until about page 150 of small print for Balzac to write what was essentially the first book under his name, The Last of the Chouans, around age 30 over the next 20 years of Balzac s life and 250 pages of the biography he writes what there is of the Comedie Huma A generally excellent biography of Balzac, but I would have been happy with a decent amount less detail Graham Robb has an excellent feel for his subject, his literature and 19th century France It is a birth to death story that takes until about page 150 of small print for Balzac to write what was essentially the first book under his name, The Last of the Chouans, around age 30 over the next 20 years of Balzac s life and 250 pages of the biography he writes what there is of the Comedie Humaine Robb does a great job rescuing Balzac from some of the myth s that have encrusted around him, showing how he worked lots of coffee and writing about 30 words a minute from late night until morning , how he handles his debts, his travels, and his many different failed schemes for work as a printer, playwright andHe also shows his relationship with Eveline Hanska in great detail, the nearly 20 years of correspondence followed by less than a half year of marriage Remarkable, one fifth of Balzac s writing in the last five years of his life was to Hanska making it, as Balzac says, like another one of Balzac s novels What emerges is a writer who invented the concept of an overlapping work populated by recurring characters,than 500 of them, and through revisions and re revisions brought an increasing coherence to this fictional world, creating a form of realism that helped to rescue literature from the romanticism that pervaded it at the time


  4. Sheila Sheila says:

    Before you read Balzac, or this biography, read Germinal by Zola This will keep you from being swept under the romantic spell of 19th century literary life Peasants and workers do not figure greatly in Balzac s novels, or in this bio Today, we have to keep in mind the millions who die in Congo mining for the coltan that makes our computers and phones possible So, too, we have to remember the miners depicted in Germinal whose suffering and exploitation paid for the furs, jewelry, mansions Before you read Balzac, or this biography, read Germinal by Zola This will keep you from being swept under the romantic spell of 19th century literary life Peasants and workers do not figure greatly in Balzac s novels, or in this bio Today, we have to keep in mind the millions who die in Congo mining for the coltan that makes our computers and phones possible So, too, we have to remember the miners depicted in Germinal whose suffering and exploitation paid for the furs, jewelry, mansions, fine furniture and fine art that Balzac strove to surround himself with.Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx loved Balzac for his spot on depiction of capitalism and the decadent life of the bourgeoisie It s quite fascinating to read about what Balzac had to do to make it as a writer in post Revolutionary Paris It s exactly what goes on today And capitalism continues to birth the same kind of writers haecks, flacks, plagiarists hagiographers, and the occasional rebel and genius Balzac was, of course the enfante terrible and genius But he was an Absolutist who hated the masses That also made him a racist who, like his character Vautrin, would have liked nothing better than to own slaves in the United States and retire on the profits


  5. Saxon Henry Saxon Henry says:

    One of my all time favorite snippets from history is in this book Robb is noting how Balzac hired fellow writer Henri de Latouche, who had helped the author move into his new digs, to hang his wallpaper, a skill for which de Latouche apparently had great talent This came in handy given Balzac was intent on creating an apartment fit for a literary king In a rather snarky moment, Robb wrote, In choosing the paper, cutting it to size and fitting it to all the difficult angles, Latouche s genius One of my all time favorite snippets from history is in this book Robb is noting how Balzac hired fellow writer Henri de Latouche, who had helped the author move into his new digs, to hang his wallpaper, a skill for which de Latouche apparently had great talent This came in handy given Balzac was intent on creating an apartment fit for a literary king In a rather snarky moment, Robb wrote, In choosing the paper, cutting it to size and fitting it to all the difficult angles, Latouche s genius blossomed as it rarely did in his work Ouch I read this book in order to do research for an essay in my book The Modern Salonni re, and I have excerpted this particular essay here


  6. Joseph Hamilton Joseph Hamilton says:

    There is nothing really remarkable about Balzac s life except that he was a great writer And went to Sardinia or Corsica to search for buried treasure which he did not find But I think its a good idea to know the broad outline of a great writer s life.


  7. Fazackerly Toast Fazackerly Toast says:

    i like Balzacthan ever now and I m afraid i have to go back and read the human comedy again with my new found understanding and the letters.


  8. Frank Spencer Frank Spencer says:

    This turn towards fiction is, for me, an attempt to mine the novels and biographies for insights into people and how they can be understood helped educated This biography and Pere Goriot, by Balzac, both contribute The Signet Classics edition of Pere is much easier to read than the other translations I have found, so be aware of that issue Balzac s characters are complex and numerous enough that you are not likely to run out of things to read Balzac only lived to about the age of 50, so what This turn towards fiction is, for me, an attempt to mine the novels and biographies for insights into people and how they can be understood helped educated This biography and Pere Goriot, by Balzac, both contribute The Signet Classics edition of Pere is much easier to read than the other translations I have found, so be aware of that issue Balzac s characters are complex and numerous enough that you are not likely to run out of things to read Balzac only lived to about the age of 50, so what he accomplished is amazing in that light He may have written, in some spurts, for about 45 out of 48 hours at a stretch No writer s block there He read one of Dickens early stories, so that s an interesting tie in I knew that it was a good idea to get expensive stuff for your love, but I didn t know what to say to go along with it Here, for your benefit, is Honore hence, Nore Balzac s version You are my whim, my passion, by vicemy mistress, my comrade, my louploup, my brother, my conscience, my happiness and my wife, and you must also be the object of my follies for you are all my hope and all my life If only you knew how carefully I am arranging everything And when you see it, you will say, What, Nore, is that all it cost Looks like all three quotation marks the middle one single are warranted at the end Anyone who knows better, please let me know


  9. Michael Snuffin Michael Snuffin says:

    I found this book disappointing At first I appreciated Robb s interpretation of the events in the life of Balzac A good biography isthan a collection of facts and statistics it puts that information into context and perspective for the reader I also initially liked how the author used his familiarity with Balzac s fiction to flesh out events and get into the head of his subject However, Robb s frequent interjection of his own conjecture and psychoanalysis of Balzac muddled the details I found this book disappointing At first I appreciated Robb s interpretation of the events in the life of Balzac A good biography isthan a collection of facts and statistics it puts that information into context and perspective for the reader I also initially liked how the author used his familiarity with Balzac s fiction to flesh out events and get into the head of his subject However, Robb s frequent interjection of his own conjecture and psychoanalysis of Balzac muddled the details of the biography, and it bothered me enough that I stopped reading about two thirds of the way through I already have the basic Balzac story from another biography, and felt like those essentials occasionally got lost in the Robb s commentary they sometime interrupted and obscured the chain of events Still, I d recommend this bio to any hardcore Balzac fans they would probably enjoy the author s investigations and side trips.Balzac A Biographyappears to be Robb s first biographical work I am eighty pages into his biography of Victor Hugo, and it is much better than his work on Balzac the author s interpretation of events is less frivolous andconcise


  10. Steve Gordon Steve Gordon says:

    Twas adequately written at best I think when writing a biography you really should focuson an organized, well written collection of facts Instead, this author chose to spend too much time trying to be a half ass Freudian analyst whilst attempting to play the detective 150 years after the fact about very minor, minor facts The reality is that academics should usually stick to writing useless papers keeping up their tenure instead of trying to be artistes The real savior of this book Twas adequately written at best I think when writing a biography you really should focuson an organized, well written collection of facts Instead, this author chose to spend too much time trying to be a half ass Freudian analyst whilst attempting to play the detective 150 years after the fact about very minor, minor facts The reality is that academics should usually stick to writing useless papers keeping up their tenure instead of trying to be artistes The real savior of this book is that when old Balzac peers out from the pages, his genius is sweet redemption


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