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

"It would be curious to know what leads a man to become a stationer rather than a baker, when he is no longer compelled, as among the Egyptians, to succeed to his father's craft."

"Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught."

"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 nor turn aside."

"Love is a game in which one always cheats."

"Love is the poetry of the senses."

"Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity."

"Love or hatred must constantly increase between two persons who are always together; every moment fresh reasons are found for loving or hating better."

"Lovers have a way of using this word, nothing, which implies exactly the opposite."

"Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation."

"Many men are deeply moved by the mere semblance of suffering in a woman; they take the look of pain for a sign of constancy or of love."

"Men die in despair, while spirits die in ecstasy."

"Modesty is the conscience of the body."

"Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society."

"No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman."

"Nobody loves a woman because she is handsome or ugly, stupid or intelligent. We love because we love."

"Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself."

"Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other."

"Old maids, having never bent their temper or their lives to other lives and other tempers, as woman's destiny requires, have for the most part a mania for making everything about them bend to them."

"One should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul."

"Our most bitter enemies are our own kith and kin. Kings have no brothers, no sons, no mother!"

"Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation."

"Political liberty, the peace of a nation, and science itself are gifts for which Fate demands a heavy tax in blood!"

"Power is action; the electoral principle is discussion. No political action is possible when discussion is permanently established."

"Small natures require despotism to exercise their sinews, as great souls thirst for equality to give play to their heart."

"Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue."

"Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine."

"Some troubles, like a protested note of a solvent debtor, bear interest."

"Someone speaks admirably of the well-ripened fruit of sage delay."

"Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings."

"Suicide, moreover, was at the time in vogue in Paris: what more suitable key to the mystery of life for a skeptical society?"

"The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self-denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute."

"The country is provincial; it becomes ridiculous when it tries to ape Paris."

"The duration of passion is proportionate with the original resistance of the woman."

"The errors of women spring, almost always, from their faith in the good, or their confidence in the true."

"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."

"The habits of life form the soul, and the soul forms the countenance."

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."

"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."

"The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin."

"The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband."

"The man whose action habitually bears the stamp of his mind is a genius, but the greatest genius is not always equal to himself, or he would cease to be human."

"The most virtuous women have something within them, something that is never chaste."

"The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition."

"There are moments in life when all that we can bear is the sense that our friend is near us; our wounds would wince at consoling words that would reveal the depths of our pain."

"There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile."

"There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power."

"There is something great and terrible about suicide."

"Those who spend too fast never grow rich."

"Thought is a key to all treasures; the miser's gains are ours without his cares. Thus I have soared above this world, where my enjoyment have been intellectual joys."

"To feel, to love, to suffer, to devote herself will always be the text of the life of a woman."