Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850)
Honoré de Balzac is recognized as the originator of French Realism in literature and one of the greatest novelists of the nineteenth century. Balzac was born Honoré Balssa on May 20, 1799, in Tours, France. He spent much of his adult life in Paris, where he frequented many of the notable literary salons of the day and began to use the last name de Balzac. Balzac supported himself through writing, typically spending fourteen to sixteen hours a day on his craft. He was a man of great charisma and lived to the excesses of life, abusing coffee and rich food in order to work longer hours. His life’s work comprises a series of some ninety novels and novellas collectively entitled La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy). Balzac died following a long illness on August 18, 1850, leaving his wife of five months with mountains of debt.
Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
Charles Dickens is known as an early master of the English realist novel and one of the most celebrated and most enduring novelists of all time. Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, on February 7, 1812. He lived and worked in London as a law clerk, court reporter, and newspaper journalist. With the publication of his first novel, Pickwick Papers (1836), Dickens soon became the most popular author in England.
Dickens’s major novels include Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), The Old...
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