As I said, Balzac wrote about an epoch that is curiously like our own.
Balzac was the great novelist of money, social climbing, and power.
So any list of the “essential” Balzac inevitably omits a handful of great works.
Okay, not everything in this book meets the standards of realism as practiced by Balzac and Zola.
Balzac writes, “Like all great minds, Eugène wished to owe his success to nothing but his own merit.”
For, as Balzac truly remarked, Chopin was less a musician than une ame qui se rend sensible.
The memory of Dumas is enshrined in his good men, that of Balzac in his bad women.
These are still under the illusion that Balzac is a wicked writer.
In the big brain of Balzac there was room for many emotions.
Balzac returns to this subject so often and so emphatically that one half believes him to be the victim of his own mystification.