Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) was born in Tours, France, educated at the College de Vendome, and studied law at the Sorbonne. His father wished him to become a lawyer, but he left Tours in 1819 to seek his fortune as an author in Paris. He wrote eighty-five novels in twenty years, but his life was one of frequent privation. In 1850, he married Countess Hanska, a rich Polish lady with whom he had corresponded for more than fifteen years. Five months later, Balzac died in Paris.