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Honoré de Balzac
(French pronunciation: [ɔnɔʁe də balzak]
) (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus
was a sequence
of almost 100 novels, short stories and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine
, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte
Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.