Books: Money, Magic & Love

PROMETHEUS: THE LIFE OF BALZAC by AndréMaurois. 573 pages. Harper & Row. $10.

Honoré de Balzac did not look or act like a writer, and the literary assessors of his time declined to treat him as one. He was short, fat, gap-toothed, messy, and, according to one contemporary, had "the face of a pantler, the general look of a cobbler, the girth of a barrelmaker, the manners of a hatter." Estimates of his work were hardly more flattering: Sainte-Beuve dismissed his style as "prolix and formless, slack." The author of La Comédie Humaine, that panorama of post-revolutionary France, died up to his...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!