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

"To kill a relative of whom you are tired is something. But to inherit his property afterwards, that is genuine pleasure."

"To provoke laughter without joining in it greatly heightens the effect."

"To those who have exhausted politics, nothing remains but abstract thought."

"Towns find it as hard as houses of business to rise again from ruin."

"True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart."

"Unintelligent persons are like weeds that thrive in good ground; they love to be amused in proportion to the degree in which they weary themselves."

"Virtue, perhaps, is nothing more than politeness of soul."

"Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn't, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence."

"We are never either so wretched or so happy as we say we are."

"We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never either so wretched or so happy as we say we are."

"We must have books for recreation and entertainment, as well as for instruction and for business; the former are agreeable, the latter useful, and the human mind requires both. The canon law and the codes of Justinian shall have due honor and reign at the universities, but Homer and Virgil need not therefore be banished. We will cultivate the olive and the vine, but without eradicating the myrtle and the rose."

"What is a child, monsieur, but the image of two beings, the fruit of two sentiments spontaneously blended?"

"What is art? Nature concentrated."

"When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa."

"When Religion and Royalty are swept away, the people will attack the great, and after the great, they will fall upon the rich."

"When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues."

"Wisdom is that apprehension of heavenly things to which the spirit rises through love."

"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."