Author(s): Honore de Balzac
In 1842, eight years before his death, Balzac described Ursule Mirouet as the masterpiece of all the studies of human society that he had written; he regarded the book as 'a remarkable tour de force'. An essentially simple tale about the struggle and triumph of innocence reviled, Ursule Mirouet is characterized by that wealth of penetrating observation so readily associated with Balzac's work. The twin themes of redemption and rebirth are illuminated by a consistently passionate rejection of both philosophic and practical materialism in favour of love. In this case love is aided by supernatural intervention, which itself effectively illustrates Balzac's life-long fascination with the occult.
Balzac was born in Tours in 1799 and worked in Paris as a lawyer's clerk before becoming a writer. During his lifetime he wrote over ninety novels and short stories, many of which are considered masterpieces. He died in 1850, a few months after his marriage to Evelina Hanska, the Polish countess who had been his lover for eighteen years.