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Honore de Balzac
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    (May 20, 1799-August 18, 1850)
    Born in Tours, France
    Wrote the multi-volume 'La Comedie Humaine'
    Individual novels include 'Le Chouans' (1829), 'La Peau de Chagrin' (1831), 'Le Contrat de Marriage' (1835), 'Le Pere Goriot' (1835) and 'La Cousine Bette' (1846)
    He launched several business ventures that failed and left him in debt.
    Several early pseudonymous potboilers were described by one biographer as 'curiously, interestingly, almost enthrallingly bad.'
    He often revised his more serious novels even as they were being published; the resulting typesetter fees would wipe out any profits from the books.
    He drank massive amounts of coffee and once worked for 48 hours with only three hours of rest in the middle.
    He added the aristocratic 'de' to his name to fit into high society.
    He was known for his multi-faceted characters.
    He is considered one of the founders of realism in literature.
    At his funeral Victor Hugo said, 'Today we have a nation in mourning for a man of genius.'
    On his deathbed he said, 'Send for Bianchon. He will save me.' Bianchon was the doctor from 'La Comedie Humaine.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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