Honoré de Balzac

Ann Radcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

Ann Radcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

On July 9, 1764, English author and pioneer of Gothic novel Ann Radcliffe was born. You might have never heard of Ann Radcliffe, if you are not familiar with English literature, but her prose strongly influenced a literature style called ‘Gothic novel’, where the supernatural comes into play and all of today’s vampire, horror, and fantastic literature has originated from. Take, as e.g., her most famous novel Udolpho written in 1794, a classic…
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Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

On May 20, 1799, French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac was born. He is best known for his his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, which is reflected in his opus magnum, the Comédie Humaine, sequence of short stories and novels, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848).…
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Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

On April 15, 1843, American-British author Henry James was born. James is regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. He is best known for a number of novels dealing with the social and marital interplay between emigre Americans, English people, and continental Europeans – examples of such novels include The Portrait of…
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Gustave Flaubert’s Scrupulous Devotion to Style and Aesthetics

Gustave Flaubert’s Scrupulous Devotion to Style and Aesthetics

On December 12, 1821, French novelist Gustave Flaubert was born. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. He is known especially for his debut novel Madame Bovary, his Correspondence, and his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. “Though she had no one to write to, she had bought herself a blotter, a writing case, a pen and envelopes; she would dust off her…
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

On February 9, 1881, famous Russian novelist, short story writer, and essayist Fyodor Dostoyevsky passed away in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dostoyevsky‘s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russia and is considered to be one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. The Grand Inquisitor The very first piece of literature I read from Dostoyevsky was the short parable ‘The Grand…
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Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

Eugène François Vidocq(1775 – 1857) During the night of 23 to 24 July 1775, French criminal and criminalist Eugene Vidocq was born. Vidocq is considered the world’s first private detective and father of modern criminology. His life story inspired several writers, including Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. Surprisingly, the later criminalist had a pretty turbulent childhood and youth. He stole his parent’s silverware at the age of 13 and was sent…
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