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The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix   By: (1799-1850)

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In "The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix" by Honoré de Balzac, readers are introduced to an insightful and profound collection of extracts that provide an in-depth glimpse into the author's creative process and the sprawling narrative universe known as "The Human Comedy."

The book begins with an enlightening introduction that sets the stage for what follows. Balzac's words are filled with deep understanding and introspection, offering readers a valuable perspective on his own work. This introduction not only offers a glimpse into Balzac's thoughts as he crafted his characters and stories but also sheds light on the historical and social context that inspired him.

One of the remarkable features of this book is the extensive appendix, which serves as a treasure trove of additional material for avid fans of Balzac's fiction. This section provides crucial background information about the vast array of characters that populate "The Human Comedy." The appendix delves into their origins, their connections, and their significance within the larger narrative landscape. It is a welcome addition that enhances the overall reading experience, making it easier to comprehend the intricate web of relationships that Balzac weaves throughout his literary masterpiece.

Throughout the book, Balzac's writing demonstrates his exemplary command of language and his ability to vividly bring his characters to life. His descriptions are detailed and meticulous, allowing readers to visualize the settings and immerse themselves fully in the story. Whether discussing the bustling streets of Paris or the intimate conversations between characters, Balzac's words paint a colorful and captivating picture.

Moreover, "The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix" serves as a testament to Balzac's unmatched talent for capturing the complexity of the human condition. His characters are richly developed and incredibly nuanced, showcasing their strengths and flaws with unflinching honesty. Balzac delves into the depths of their souls, exploring the motivations behind their actions and presenting a thought-provoking exploration of human nature. He effortlessly navigates through various societal strata and exposes the intricacies of power, love, and ambition, leaving readers engrossed and enlightened.

While this book offers invaluable insights into Balzac's creative process and enriches the reading experience of "The Human Comedy," it is important to note that it is best suited for readers who are already familiar with Balzac's work. Those new to his vast universe may find some sections challenging to follow due to the numerous references to characters and events from his other novels. However, for devoted fans of Balzac or readers looking to delve deeper into "The Human Comedy," this book is an indispensable companion that enhances their understanding and appreciation of his literary genius.

In conclusion, "The Human Comedy: Introductions and Appendix" by Honoré de Balzac epitomizes the author's brilliance and offers readers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of his creative mind. Balzac's eloquent prose, his keen observations about humanity, and the extensive appendix add tremendous value to the overall reading experience. This collection of introductions and supplementary material is a must-read for those seeking a deeper understanding of Balzac's masterpiece, "The Human Comedy."

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac


Honore de Balzac Introduction and brief biography by George Saintsbury.

Appendix List of titles in French with English translations and grouped in the various classifications.

Author's introduction Balzac's 1842 introduction to The Human Comedy.


"Sans genie, je suis flambe!"

Volumes, almost libraries, have been written about Balzac; and perhaps of very few writers, putting aside the three or four greatest of all, is it so difficult to select one or a few short phrases which will in any way denote them, much more sum them up. Yet the five words quoted above, which come from an early letter to his sister when as yet he had not "found his way," characterize him, I think, better than at least some of the volumes I have read about him, and supply, when they are properly understood, the most valuable of all keys and companions for his comprehension.

"If I have not genius, it is all up with me!" A very matter of fact person may say: "Why! there is nothing wonderful in this. Everybody knows what genius is wanted to make a name in literature, and most people think they have it." But this would be a little short sighted, and only excusable because of the way in which the word "genius" is too commonly bandied about... Continue reading book >>

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