Honore de Balzac

Honore de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence La Comédie Humaine, which presents a panorama of post-Napoleonic French life, is generally viewed as his magnum opus. 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.

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The more one judges the less one loves.

Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it.

A good husband is never the first to go to sleep at night, or the last to awake in the morning.

Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact.

A grocer is attracted to his business by a magnetic force, as great as the repulsion which renders it odious to artists.

Children, dear and loving children, can alone console a woman for the loss of her beauty.

Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.

Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other.

It is easier to be a lover than a husband, for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time.

Nobody loves a woman because she is handsome or ugly, stupid or intelligent. We love because we love.

A mother who is really a mother is never free.

A mother's happiness is like a beacon lighting up the future, but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance, and art would be useless.

All humanity is passion, without passion religion, history, novels, art, would be ineffectual.

A mother's life you see is one long succession of dramas, now soft and tender, now terrible. Not an hour but has its joys and fears.

Modesty is the conscience of the body.

Men die in despair while spirits die in ecstasy.

If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.

What is art? Nature concentrated.

In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls.

The man as he converses is the lover, silent he is the husband.

Ideas devour the ages as men are devoured by their passions. When man is cured human nature will cure itself perhaps.

The fact is that love is of two kinds one which commands and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct and the passion to which the one gives rise is not the passion of the other.

The art of motherhood involves much silent unobtrusive self-denial an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute.

Love has its own instinct finding the way to the heart as the feeblest insect finds the way to its flower with a will which nothing can dismay nor turn aside.

But reason always cuts a poor figure beside sentiment, the one being essentially restricted like everything that is positive while the other is infinite.

Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster that devours everything: familiarity.

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.

Finance like time devours its own children.

It is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in visible and tangible fashion, it is a joy of every moment.

The man whose action habitually bears the stamp of his mind is a genius but the greatest genius is not always equal to himself or he would cease to be human.

The country is provincial, it becomes ridiculous when it tries to ape Paris.

Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings.

Power is action, the electoral principle is discussion. No political action is possible when discussion is permanently established.

I do not regard a broker as a member of the human race.

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight all ordinary calculations. He is at once sublime and touching childlike and of the race of giants.

There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.

It is easy to sit up and take notice What is difficult is getting up and taking action.

Chance my dear is the sovereign deity in child-bearing.

Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue.

Love is the poetry of the senses.

Death unites as well as separates, it silences all paltry feeling.

The smallest flower is a thought a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole of whom they have a persistent intuition.

Suicide moreover was at the time in vogue in Paris: what more suitable key to the mystery of life for a skeptical society?

There is something great and terrible about suicide.

Virtue perhaps is nothing more than politeness of soul.

Thought is a key to all treasures, the miser's gains are ours without his cares. Thus I have soared above this world where my enjoyment have been intellectual joys.

At fifteen beauty and talent do not exist, there can only be promise of the coming woman.

Between the daylight gambler and the player at night there is the same difference that lies between a careless husband and the lover swooning under his lady's window.

A man is a poor creature compared to a woman.

The habits of life form the soul and the soul forms the countenance.

Love is a game in which one always cheats.

To those who have exhausted politics nothing remains but abstract thought.

Love may be or it may not but where it is it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.

What is a child monsieur but the image of two beings the fruit of two sentiments spontaneously blended?

Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.

A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.

We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never as bad off or as happy as we say we are.

A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity.

A lover always thinks of his mistress first and himself second, with a husband it runs the other way.

An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man's entire existence.

Women are tenacious and all of them should be tenacious of respect, without esteem they cannot exist, esteem is the first demand that they make of love.

When law becomes despotic morals are relaxed and vice versa.

Lovers have a way of using this word nothing which implies exactly the opposite.

It is as absurd to say that a man can't love one woman all the time as it is to say that a violinist needs several violins to play the same piece of music.

Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself.

Old maids having never bent their temper or their lives to other lives and other tempers as woman's destiny requires have for the most part a mania for making everything about them bend to them.

If those who are the enemies of innocent amusements had the direction of the world they would take away the spring and youth the former from the year the latter from human life.

Small natures require despotism to exercise their sinews as great souls thirst for equality to give play to their heart.

Towns find it as hard as houses of business to rise again from ruin.

Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation.

Those who spend too fast never grow rich.

Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God.

Vocations which we wanted to pursue but didn't bleed like colors on the whole of our existence.

Many men are deeply moved by the mere semblance of suffering in a woman, they take the look of pain for a sign of constancy or of love.

Political liberty the peace of a nation and science itself are gifts for which Fate demands a heavy tax in blood!

The life of a man who deliberately runs through his fortune often becomes a business speculation, his friends his pleasures patrons and acquaintances are his capital.

For passion, be it observed, brings insight with it, it can give a sort of intelligence to simpletons fools and idiots, especially during youth.

Unintelligent persons are like weeds that thrive in good ground, they love to be amused in proportion to the degree in which they weary themselves.

There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile.

A young bride is like a plucked flower, but a guilty wife is like a flower that had been walked over.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.

Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow.

A husband who submits to his wife's yoke is justly held an object of ridicule. A woman's influence ought to be entirely concealed.

Love or hatred must constantly increase between two persons who are always together, every moment fresh reasons are found for loving or hating better.

To kill a relative of whom you are tired is something. But to inherit his property afterwards that is genuine pleasure.

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.

Wisdom is that apprehension of heavenly things to which the spirit rises through love.

No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.

The most virtuous women have something within them something that is never chaste.

The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.

Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness.

When women love us they forgive us everything even our crimes, when they do not love us they give us credit for nothing not even our virtues.

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

One should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul.

First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time.

Our most bitter enemies are our own kith and kin. Kings have no brothers no sons no mother!

Power is not revealed by striking hard or often but by striking true.

True love is eternal infinite and always like itself. It is equal and pure without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.

It would be curious to know what leads a man to become a stationer rather than a baker when he is no longer compelled as among the Egyptians to succeed to his father's craft.

The duration of passion is proportionate with the original resistance of the woman.

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom, to serve all but love only one.

When Religion and Royalty are swept away the people will attack the great and after the great they will fall upon the rich.