Honoré de Balzac

Ursule Mirouet
  • Ursule Mirouet

  • In 1842, eight years before his death, Balzac described Ursule Mirouet as the masterpiece of all the studies of human society that he had written; he regarded the book as 'a remarkable tour de force'.

    An essentially simple tale about the struggle and triumph of innocence reviled, Ursule Mirouet is characterized by that wealth of penetrating observation so readily associated with Balzac's work. The twin themes of redemption and rebirth are illuminated by a consistently passionate rejection of both philosophic and practical materialism in favour of love. In this case love is aided by supernatural intervention, which itself effectively illustrates Balzac's life-long fascination with the occult.

The son of a civil servant, Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799 in Tours, France. After attending boarding school in Vendôme, he gravitated to Paris where he worked as a legal clerk and a hack writer, using various pseudonyms, often in collaboration with other writers. Balzac turned exclusively to fiction at the age of thirty and went on to write a large number of novels and short stories set amid turbulent nineteenth-century France. He entitled his collective works The Human Comedy. Along with Victor Hugo and Dumas père and fils, Balzac was one of the pillars of French romantic literature. He died in 1850, shortly after his marriage to the Polish countess Evelina Hanska, his lover of eighteen years.