La Comédie Humaine of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 1

La Comédie Humaine of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

La Comédie Humaine of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 1

La Comédie Humaine of Honoré de Balzac - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In giving to a work, begun nearly thirteen years ago, the title of "The Comedy of Human Life," it is necessary that I should state its purpose, relate its origin, and give some explanation of its plan; endeavoring to do so as if I had no personal interest in the matter. This is not as difficult as the public might imagine. The writing of a few books makes a man self-sufficient; but much labor and hard toil bring humility. This reflection explains the survey which Corneille, Molière, and other great authors made of their writings. If it is impossible to equal them in the grandeur of their conceptions, at least we may share the spirit with which they examined them.

The leading idea of this human comedy came to me at first like a dream; like one of those impossible visions which we try to clasp as they elude us; a smiling fancy showing for a moment a woman's face, as it spreads its wings and rises to the ideal heavens. But soon this vision, this chimera, changed, after the fashion of chimeras, into a living shape with compelling will and tyrannous power, to which I yielded myself up. The idea came from the study of human life in comparison with the life of animals.

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