The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix

The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix

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The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix by Honoré de Balzac

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The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix

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Book Excerpt

he genius itself was I must do my best to indicate hereafter, always beseeching the reader to remember that all genius is in its essence and quiddity indefinable. You can no more get close to it than you can get close to the rainbow, and your most scientific explanation of it will always leave as much of the heart of the fact unexplained as the scientific explanation of the rainbow leaves of that.

Honore de Balzac was born at Tours on the 16th of May, 1799, in the same year which saw the birth of Heine, and which therefore had the honor of producing perhaps the most characteristic writers of the nineteenth century in prose and verse respectively. The family was a respectable one, though its right to the particle which Balzac always carefully assumed, subscribing himself "/de/ Balzac," was contested. And there appears to be no proof of their connection with Jean Guez de Balzac, the founder, as some will have him, of modern French prose, and the contemporary and fellow-reformer of Malherbe. (Indeed,

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