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75 Realistic Honoré de Balzac Quotes

Last updated on Jul 2nd, 2018

75 Realistic Honoré de Balzac Quotes

Honoré de Balzac (born May 20, 1799, Tours, France – died August 18, 1850, Paris, France) was a French novelist and playwright, recognized as one of the founders of realism in European literature.

Balzac helped to establish the traditional form of the novel and was one of the first writers who used fiction to present the social scene in one country’s history.

His most extensive work consists of more than ninety finished works, mostly novels and short stories, collectively called La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy). Some of the most notable novels are The Wild Ass’s Skin (1831), Eugénie Grandet (1833), The Country Doctor (1833), Père Goriot (1835), and A Harlot High and Low (1838-1847).

Balzac’s writing influenced many writers and philosophers of his time and after, including Gustave Flaubert, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Engels, and Henry James.

1
If love is the first of passions, it is because it flatters all the rest of them at the same time.'Part I, Meditation III. Of the Honest Woman,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
2
And diving deep into the sea of pleasures he brought back more grit than pearls.The Girl With the Golden Eyes (1835)
3
Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness.'Chapter VII: Louise de Chaulieu to Renee de Maucombe,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
4
To speak of love is to make love.'Part II, Meditation XIX. Of the Lover,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
People exaggerate both happiness and unhappiness; we are never so fortunate nor so unfortunate as people say we are. - Honoré de Balzac (Modeste Mignon Quotes)
5
People exaggerate both happiness and unhappiness; we are never so fortunate nor so unfortunate as people say we are.'Chapter XXIV: The Poet Feels that He is Loved too Well,' Modeste Mignon (1844)
6
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 or turn aside.'Chapter III: At Thirty Years,' A Woman of Thirty (1842)
7
Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster which devours everything, that is, familiarity.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
8
All human power is a compound of time and patience.'Chapter VI,' Eugénie Grandet (1833)
9
Our most cruel enemies are our nearest in blood! Kings have neither brothers, nor sons, nor mothers.'Part II, Chapter V: The Alchemists,' Catherine de'Medici (1841)
Laws are like spiders' webs; the big flies get through, while the little ones are caught. - Honoré de Balzac (The Firm of Nucingen Quotes)
10
Laws are like spiders’ webs; the big flies get through, while the little ones are caught.The Firm of Nucingen (1838)
11
All poetry, like every work of art, proceeds from a swift vision of things.Louis Lambert (1832)
12
They who listen to only one bell hear only one sound.'Chapter IX: The Family Council,' Pierrette (1840)
13
Our heart is a treasury; if you pour out all its wealth at once, you are bankrupt.Père Goriot (1835)
14
Feeble folk are as easily reassured as they are frightened.'Chapter III,' The Vicar of Tours (1832)
The more a man judges the less he loves. - Honoré de Balzac (The physiology of marriage Quotes)
15
The more a man judges the less he loves.
(Also known as: The more one judges, the less one loves.)
'Part I, Meditation VIII. Of the First Symptoms,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
16
The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband.'Chapter VII: Louise de Chaulieu to Renee de Maucombe,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
17
Mankind are not perfect, but one age is more or less hypocritical than another, and then simpletons say that its morality is high or low.Père Goriot (1835)
18
Though the great things of life are simple to understand and easy to express, the littlenesses require a vast number of details to explain them.'Chapter I,' The Vicar of Tours (1832)
19
A lover always starts from his mistress to himself; with a husband the contrary is the case.'Part II, Meditation XIX. Of the Lover,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
A society of atheists would immediately invent a religion. - Honoré de Balzac (Le catéchisme social Quotes)
20
A society of atheists would immediately invent a religion.Le catéchisme social (c. 1840–1842). Paris: La Renaissance du Livre (1933)
21
Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other.Cousin Pons (1847)
22
The most natural feelings are those we are least willing to confess.Gambara (1837)
23
Love is the poetry of the senses.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
24
When women love, they forgive everything, even our crimes; when they do not love, they cannot forgive anything—not even our virtues.The Muse of the Department (1843)
Those who spend too fast never grow rich. - Honoré de Balzac (At the Sign of the Cat and Racket Quotes)
25
Those who spend too fast never grow rich.At the Sign of the Cat and Racket (1829)
26
Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue.'Chapter IV: The Same to the Same December 15th,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
27
To kill a relative of whom you are tired, is something; but to inherit his property afterwards — that is a real pleasure!Cousin Pons (1847)
28
Between two beings susceptible of love, the duration of passion is in proportion to the original resistance of the woman, or to the obstacles which the accidents of social life put in the way of your happiness.'Part I, Meditation VII. Of the Honeymoon,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
29
Clouds signify the veil of the Most High.
(Also known as: Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God.)
'Chapter III: Seraphita-Seraphitus,' Séraphîta (1834)
Where poverty ceases, avarice begins. - Honoré de Balzac (Lost Illusions Quotes)
30
Where poverty ceases, avarice begins.Lost Illusions (1837)
31
Wisdom is the understanding of celestial things to which the Spirit is brought by Love.'Chapter III: Seraphita-Seraphitus,' Séraphîta (1834)
32
It is easier to be a lover than a husband, for the same reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day, than to say bright things from time to time.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
33
Children, dear and loving children, can alone console a woman for the loss of her beauty.'Chapter LII: Mme. Gaston to Mme. de L'Estorade, The Chalet,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
34
The man who can perpetually bring his thought to bear upon his facts is a man of genius; but the man of the highest genius does not display genius at all times; if he did, he would be like to God.'Chapter III: The History of a Fortunate Woman,' A Daughter Of Eve (1838)
Power is action, and the elective principle is discussion. There is no policy, no statesmanship possible where discussion is permanent. - Honoré de Balzac (Catherine de'Medici Quotes)
35
Power is action, and the elective principle is discussion. There is no policy, no statesmanship possible where discussion is permanent.'Introduction,' Catherine de'Medici (1841)
36
The most virtuous women have in them something which is never chaste.'Part I, Meditation IV. Of the Virtuous Woman,' The Physiology of Marriagee (1829)
37
Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.'Chapter XV: Louise de Chaulieu to Mme. De L'Estorade March,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
38
If youth were not ignorant and timid, civilization would be impossible.Père Goriot (1835)
39
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.'Chapter XXI: Louise de Chaulieu to Renee de L'Estorade, June,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed. - Honoré de Balzac (Père Goriot Quotes)
40
The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed.
(Also known as: Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.)
Père Goriot (1835)
41
Vanity is only to be satisfied by gold in floods.Gobseck (1830)
42
Chance, my dear, is the sovereign deity in child-bearing.'Chapter XXVIII: Renee de L'Estorade to Louise de Macumer, December,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
43
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.'Chapter I: The Talisman,' The Magic Skin (1831)
44
Little minds need to practise despotism to relieve their nerves, just as great souls thirst for equality in friendship to exercise their hearts.'Chapter IV: Pierrette,' Pierrette (1840)
Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow. - Honoré de Balzac (Letters of Two Brides Quotes)
45
Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow.'Chapter LVII: Mme. de L'estorade to Mme. de Macumer,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
46
Manners are the hypocrisy of nations, and hypocrisy is more or less perfect.'Part I, Meditation IV. Of the Virtuous Woman,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
47
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.'Chapter III: At Thirty Years,' A Woman of Thirty (1842)
48
A man ought not to marry without having studied anatomy, and dissected at least one woman.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
49
A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity.'Chapter VI: Don Felipe Henarez to Don Fernand Paris, September,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it. - Honoré de Balzac (The Magic Skin Quotes)
50
Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it.'Chapter II: A Woman without a Heart,' The Magic Skin (1831)
51
When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa.'Chapter I: The Talisman,' The Magic Skin (1831)
52
If you have desired your object only for one day, your love perhaps will not last more than three nights.'Part I, Meditation VII. Of the Honeymoon,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
53
Man dies in despair while the Spirit dies in ecstasy.'Chapter III: Seraphita-Seraphitus,' Séraphîta (1834)
54
True love is eternal, infinite, always like unto itself; it is equable, pure, without violent demonstration; white hair often covers the head but the heart that holds it is ever young.'Chapter II: First Love,' The Lily of the Valley (1835)
Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact. - Honoré de Balzac (La Duchesse de Langeais Quotes)
55
Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact.La Duchesse de Langeais (1834)
56
Glory is the sun of the dead.The Quest of the Absolute (1834)
57
No one loves a woman because she is handsome or ugly, stupid or clever; we love because we love.The Commission in Lunacy (1836)
58
Finance, like Time, devours its own children.'The Firm of Nucingen (1838)
59
Passion is the sum-total of humanity. Without passion, religion, history, romance, art, would all be useless.
(Also known as: All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.)
'Preface,' La Comedie humaine (1841)
There is no great talent without a strong will. - Honoré de Balzac (The Muse of the Department Quotes)
60
There is no great talent without a strong will.The Muse of the Department (1843)
61
It is as absurd to deny that it is possible for a man always to love the same woman, as it would be to affirm that some famous musician needed several violins in order to execute a piece of music or compose a charming melody.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
62
The habits of life form the soul, and the soul forms the physical presence.'Chapter II,' The Vicar of Tours (1832)
63
Ideas consume the ages as passions consume men. When man is cured, humanity may possibly cure itself.'Part II, Chapter V: The Alchemists,' Catherine de'Medici (1841)
64
Death unites as well as separates; it silences all paltry feeling.'Chapter LVII: The Comtesse de L'estorade to The Comte de L'estorade The Chalet,' Letters of Two Brides (1842)
In every case we receive only in proportion to what we give. - Honoré de Balzac (The physiology of marriage Quotes)
65
In every case we receive only in proportion to what we give.'Part I, Meditation VII. Of the Honeymoon,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
66
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.'Chapter II: A Woman without a Heart,' The Magic Skin (1831)
67
Modesty is the conscience of the body.'Part III, Meditation XXVI. Of Different Weapons,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
68
Marriage is a fight to the death, before which the wedded couple ask a blessing from heaven, because it is the rashest of all undertakings to swear eternal love; the fight at once commences and victory, that is to say liberty, remains in the hands of the cleverer of the two.'Part I, Meditation I. The Subject,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
69
Old men alone have time to love; young men are rowing the galleys of ambition.'Chapter VI: Romantic Love,' A Daughter Of Eve (1838)
Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but in striking true. - Honoré de Balzac (The physiology of marriage Quotes)
70
Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but in striking true.'Part I, Meditation V. Of the Predestined,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
71
Madness that is so nearly allied to genius can know no cure in this world.Gambara (1837)
72
Do not trust a woman who talks of her virtue.'Part III, Meditation XXVII. Of the Last Symptoms,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
73
Persons without minds are like weeds that delight in good earth; they want to be amused by others, all the more because they are dull within.'Chapter I,' The Vicar of Tours (1832)
74
If love is a child, passion is a man.'Part I, Meditation VII. Of the Honeymoon,' The Physiology of Marriage (1829)
Thought is a key to all treasures. - Honoré de Balzac (The Magic Skin Quotes)
75
Thought is a key to all treasures.'Chapter I: The Talisman,' The Magic Skin (1831)