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Book Title: Treatise on Elegant Living|
Date of issue: February 28th 2010
ISBN 13: 9780984115501
The author of the book: Honoré de Balzac
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.96 MB
Edition: Wakefield Press
Read full description of the books Treatise on Elegant Living:Honore de Balzac's 1830 "Treatise on Elegant Living" was a keystone text on dandyism, preceding Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's "Anatomy of Dandyism" (1845) and Charles Baudelaire's "The Dandy" (in "The Painter of Modern Life," 1863), and marking an important shift from the early dandyism of the British Regency to the intellectual and artistic dandyism of nineteenth-century France. The "Treatise" is the first true philosophical expression of dandyism, and is full of well-crafted aphorisms: "Elegant living is, in the broad acceptance of the term, the art of animating repose," runs one classic definition of dandyism, and "One must have studied at least as far as rhetoric to lead an elegant life" asserts the importance of verbal pirouette and dexterous quipping to the dandy. Further embellished with anecdotes and historical and personal illustrations, Balzac's "Treatise" even features a fictitious encounter with the original dandy himself, Beau Brummell. Never before translated into English, this witty tract makes for an illuminating cornerstone to Balzac's "Human Comedy" (which was originally to have included a never-completed four-part philosophical "Pathology of Social Life"). Above all, it represents a decisive moment in the history of dandyism, and an entertaining exposition on the profundities of what lies deepest within all of us: our appearance.
Read information about the authorHonoré de Balzac was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.
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, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James and Jack Kerouac, 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.
An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting himself to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life, and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was apprenticed as a legal clerk, but he turned his back on law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician. He failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie Humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.
Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal drama, and he lost more than one friend over critical reviews. In 1850, he married Ewelina Hańska, his longtime paramour; he died five months later.
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