Many readers have long considered Balzac to be perhaps the greatest of all the French novelists.
Lost Illusions, his masterful study of would-be poet Lucien Chardon and David Séchard goes a long way to justifying that opinion.
Luicien is poor and naive, but highly ambitious, eventually learning that wherever he goes, talent counts for nothing in comparison to money, intrigue and unscrupulousness.
David Séchard is an innovative, hard-working young printer from Angouleme with aspirations to revolutionize the production of paper and provide for his new family.
One of the finest entries in Balzac’s towering project La Comédie Humaine, the intertwined stories of these two men demonstrates the eternal battles of love, ambition, greed, loyalty, vanity, and betrayal.
The resulting tale is a commentary on wealth and human desire that still rings true in the twenty-first century; an incomparable storyteller’s fascination with the power of storytelling, and what Proust so admired: the “mysterious circulation of blood and desire.”
Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), one of the most influential of French novelists, was born in Tours and educated at the Sorbonne.
Alongside his current and future contemporaries, Victor Hugo and Marcel Proust, Honoré de Balzac is considered to be the preeminent French author of the 19th century.
Fabulous, larger-than-life, Balzac was a man of fertile talent and extreme contrasts, whose proficiency with the pen was matched only by the audacity of his appetites.
A clown, a genius, a glutton and a monk, Balzac burned brightly with the Promethean Gift, and left behind an enormous body of work loosely interconnected in theme and character, writing over eighty novels in the course of his last twenty years, including such masterpieces as Père Goriot, Eugénie Grandet, Lost Illusions, and Cousin Bette.
"Balzac was the master unequalled in the art of painting humanity as it exists in modern society. He searched and dared everything."