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A Selection of Honoré de Balzac Quotes

Honoré de Balzac was born on May 20, 1799. He was a playwright, literary critic, art critic, essayist, journalist and printer. He left one of the most impressive works of fiction in French literature, with 93 novels and novels published between 1829 and 1855, under the title ” The human comedy “.

In 1819, he started writing tragedy such as Scylla and Cromwell, and ne would later adopt a pen-name and start writing juvenile fiction. His first novel which he wrote under his name was the Last Chouan. In 1831 he published La Peau de Chagrin, and in 1833, his novel Eugénie Grandet received positive reviews and success.

Le Père Goriot published in 1825 was a huge success. The novel follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac. Le Père Goriot was also an innovative novel in that Honoré de Balzac experimented with the principle of the return of the characters from one novel to another, and it cemented Balzac’s position as a master of realism.

Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. Read our selection of Honoré de Balzac quotes to understand his position on various themes such as Life, Love, death, agony and the role of society which de painted extensively in his novels.

Selected Quotes

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac
Passion is universal humanity - balzac quotes

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Modesty is the conscience of the body.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac
Vocations which we wanted to pursue - balzac quote

Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness.

Honore De Balzac

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

Finance, like time, devours its own children.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac
We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike.

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

The more one judges, the less one loves.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

A man is a poor creature compared to a woman.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Men die in despair, while spirits die in ecstasy.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

A mother who is really a mother is never free.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac
Nature makes only dumb animals.

What is art? Nature concentrated.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Virtue, perhaps, is nothing more than politeness of soul.

Honore de Balzac

Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings.

Honore de Balzac

There is something great and terrible about suicide.

Honore De Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

Those who spend too fast never grow rich.

Honore De Balzac

Quotes on Life

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

Quotes on Love

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore De Balzac

Love is the poetry of the senses.

Honore de Balzac

Love is a game in which one always cheats.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore de Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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.

Honore De Balzac

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

Honore de Balzac

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