Archive for January 4th, 2011

Honoré de Balzac(1799-1850)
The author of Comédie Humaine set out to be another Napoleon and he with pen. He became the chronicler of an age. No mean task considering what he was up against. His keen eye caught the hypocrisy of the age and the leaven that made it rise from rubble was not saints, angels or good men but gross ambition and cupidity of men. Critics of the day were mostly hostile to him and even when he embarked on a career as a writer his family were against it. His mother allowed him at last to give it a try and gave only a subsistence allowance during the trial period. Little did they know the stern stuff he was made of. His imagination made the garret sufficient for his purpose. There was no flame in his fire-place, no picture on his wall. Alone in that cold attic he scrawled with a charcoal on the wall: ‘rosewood paneling with commode’ and on another:’Gobelin tapestry with Venetian mirror’, and in the place of honor over the fire-place grate: ‘Picture by Raphael’ (ack: Edwin Foley-the Book of decorative furniture-nelson)
Balzac liked to believe that he was an expert at reading character from handwriting, was once brought a little boy’s notebook and asked about the boy’s possibilities. After carefully examining it the great man asked the caller, ‘Are you his mother?’
‘No,’ she said, ‘I am no relation.’
‘Then I will give you my frank opinion,’ Balzac exclaimed, ‘this child is slovenly and probably stupid. I fear he will never amount to anything.’ The woman tittered to say, ‘that book was your very own when you were a little boy at school.’

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