Biography of Famous Writers and Authors: Honore de Balzac Part 2

About the famous French writer Honore de Balzac, history and biography of the author.

Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

A typical day for Balzac was to be awakened at midnight by his servant. He dressed himself in a monk's robe and then sat at his writing table where he filled page after page of paper tinted blue so as to not ruin his eyes. When he reached a point of exhaustion, he fortified himself with countless cups of extremely strong black coffee. Not drugs or alcohol, but caffeine poisoning is believed to have hastened his death, as if even in overindulgence, Balzac was determined to be different.

However, another and more likely cause of Balzac's death may well have been love, a love that lasted for 17 years but was often impeded by circumstance and distance. In 1832 he received a fan letter from Mme. Eveline Hanska, a married Polish noblewoman who possessed great wealth. An ardent exchange of letters ensued, and 2 years later their love was finally consummated when Mme. Hanska, accompanied by her husband, met Balzac at Neuchatel, Switzerland. She was taken aback by his ridiculous figure and eccentric appearance, while he was utterly captivated by her voluptuous form. And although she willingly took him into her bed, she was extremely reluctant to take him for life. She realized that her spendthrift lover would go through her money as quickly as he had his own, and she was not about to jeopardize her social position or her daughter's dowry. After her husband's death, Mme. Hanska stalled Balzac for 7 years, but finally yielded and married him 2 months before his death because she pitied him and realized that he had lost his health pursuing her.

Back in Paris after their marriage in the Ukraine, Balzac's condition worsened. On his deathbed he is reputed to have looked at his doctor and cried out: "Send for Bianchon!" For Balzac, his masterwork, La Comedie Humaine, was more real than life--Dr. Bianchon was his own fictional creation.

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