Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Honoré de Balzac

French Novelist, Playwright, Poet and Short Story Writer

"A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity."

"A decent boldness ever meets with friends."

"A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband."

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

"A heap of ill-chosen erudition is but the luggage of antiquity."

"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."

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

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

"A man is a poor creature compared to a woman."

"A mother who is really a mother is never free."

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

"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."

"A sympathetic friend can be quite dear as a brother."

"A woman has this quality in common with the angels, that those who suffer belong to her."

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

"A woman must be a genius to create a good husband."

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

"After all, our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation."

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

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

"Believe everything you hear said of the world; nothing is too impossibly bad."

"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."

"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies."

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

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

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

"Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God."

"Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it."

"Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness."

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

"Envy is the most stupid of vices, for there is no single advantage to be gained from it."

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

"Even beauty cannot palliate eccentricity."

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

"Finance, like time, devours its own children."

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

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

"Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane."

"Hope is a light diet, but very stimulating."

"I believe in the incomprehensibility of God."

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

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

"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."

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

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

"It is a singular fact that many men of action incline to the theory of fatalism, while the greater part of men of thought believe in a divine providence."

"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."

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

"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."

"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."