Quotations From HONORÉ DE BALZAC


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  • Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. Then in vol. I, ch. III, of the Comédie humaine (1845, trans. by George Saintsbury, 1971). Narrator, in A Daughter of Eve (Une Fille d'Eve), published with Massimilla Doni, Souverain (1839), first appeared in Le Siècle (1838-1839).

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  • Like many other widows, she had an unwholesome wish to marry again.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. In The Works of Honoré de Balzac, vol. IV, trans. by George Saintsbury (1971). Narrator, in Pierrette, originally named Pierrette Lorrain, in Le Siècle (1840); included in the Comédie humaine as a Scène de la Vie de Province (1843).
  • Death unites as well as separates; it silences all paltry feeling.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. Narrator, in Letters of Two Brides (Mémoires de Deux Jeunes Mariées), in La Presse (1841-1842), Souverain (1842), included in the Scènes de la Vie Privée in the Comédie humaine (1845, trans. by George Saintsbury, 1971).

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  • Suffering predisposes the mind to devoutness; and most young girls, prompted by instinctive tenderness, lean towards mysticism, the obscurer side of religion.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. In The Works of Honoré de Balzac, vol. IV, trans. by George Saintsbury (1971). Narrator, in Pierrette, originally named Pierrette Lorrain, in Le Siècle (1840); included in the Comédie humaine as a Scène de la Vie de Province (1843).
  • Remorse is impotence; it will sin again. Only repentance is strong; it can end everything.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. It later entered the Comédie humaine (1845, trans. by George Saintsbury, 1971). Narrator's description of Wilfred, in Seraphita, chapter III, First published as part of Romans et contes philosophiques (1831), then the Etudes philosophiques (1835).
  • The winter is to a woman of fashion what, of yore, a campaign was to the soldiers of the Empire.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. In The Works of Honoré de Balzac, vol. IV, trans. by George Saintsbury (1971). Narrator, in The Imaginary Mistress, original title La fausse maötresse, in Le Siècle (December, 1831).

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  • Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. Later appeared as part of Romans et contes philosophiques (1831), and part of the Etudes philosophiques (1831). It then entered the Comédie humaine (1845, trans. by George Saintsbury, 1971). Raphaël, in The Wild Ass's Skin (La Peau de chagrin), which was first published by Gosselin (1831).
  • There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. The Physiology of Marriage, Meditation Number II, Canel (1829). Balzac's generalizations about marriage.

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  • Marriage is a fierce battle before which the two partners ask heaven for its blessing, because loving each other is the most audacious of enterprises; the battle is not slow to start, and victory, that is to say freedom, goes to the cleverest.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. The Physiology of Marriage, Meditation Number I, Canel (1829). Balzac's generalizations about marriage.

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  • A wife is property that one acquires by contract, she is transferable, because possession of her requires title; in fact, woman is, so to speak, only man's appendage; consequently, slice, cut, clip her, you have all rights to her.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. Meditation Number XII, Canel (1829). Balzac's generalizations about wives.

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