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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Jean Louis Guez de Balzac (1597?–1654)

Balzac, Jean Louis Guez de (bäl-zäk’). A noted French essayist and letter-writer; born at Angoulême in 1597?; died on his estate (Balzac) near there, Feb. 18, 1654. His influence upon French prose is usually compared to that of Malherbes upon poetry; the euphony and symmetry of his phraseology, the elegance of his metaphors, served for a long time as models. Under Richelieu he became royal councilor, and historiographer of France, and was one of the most influential members of the Academy from its foundation, likewise a sort of oracle of the Hôtel Rambouillet. Besides his ‘Letters’ (1624), which are elaborate epistles with a definite attempt at style, he wrote: ‘The Prince’ (1631), a glorification of absolute monarchy; ‘The Dotard’ (1648); ‘The Christian Socrates’ (1652); and ‘Aristippus’ (1658), the latter intended to portray the ideal statesman.