Honoré de Balzac (French pronunciation: [ɔ.nɔ.ʁe d(ə) bal.zak] ; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled, La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon.
In Balzac's classic study of obsession, a chance meeting changes Balthazar Claes' life as it introduces him to alchemy and initiates his quest of the absolute. Throughout, our sympathy is equally divided between Balthazar's single-minded determination to push back the frontiers of knowledge, and the ruin of his family.
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