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Honore de Balzac from Manila

Honore de Balzac was born in Tours into a family with great expectations but few resources. Ostensibly to better the lot of his family, his father, Bernard-Fran^ois Balssa, borrowed the name of an old noble family Balzac d’Entraigues. Bernard-Fran^ois’ wife, Anne-Charlotte-Laure Sallambier came from a well off family and was 32 years younger than Bernard-Fran^ois’. She bore him five children. The first son lived only a month. Honore, named after Saint Honore of Amiens, was number two. Honore’s parents were, reportedly, physically and emotionally distant (he spent much of his youth away from home, raised by a wet nurse and sent off to school). Young Honore didn’t fit in well in the traditional school environment of rote learning and often rebelled, which meant he spent considerable time in a punishment cell. But while he was in the cell, he read voraciously. His early rebellious nature and thirst for learning molded his personality and gave him endless fodder for his plays and novels. His father wanted him to be a lawyer or a law clerk, both respectable and well-paying jobs. But Honore dissented and announced his intention to be a writer, complaining what would happen if he would be a clerk, I should be like everyone else. And that’s what they call living, that life at the grindstone, doing the same thing over and over again…. I am hungry and nothing is offered to appease my appetite.

Balzac’s first writings, often done using pseudonyms, were the modern day equivalent of potboilers and pulp fiction, some of which were banned for their scandalous content. He also dabbled in some business enterprises, funded with money borrowed from his mother. None were successful, but he finally hit pay dirt with a series of books called La Comedie Humaine that focused on the lives of the upper middle class and the human condition. The stories often center on those who struggle to reach the top and fail or who upon reaching their lofty goals find that it’s not what they really wanted. Thus, Balzac was one of the pioneers of literary realism, which was a sharp departure from the romantic style that was popular at the time. Some might say that Honore de Balzac might have been writing about himself. He never quite made it to the top. He was always in debt and a poor businessman. His work habits are the stuff of legend. When immersed in a project he neglected his health, drinking enormous volumes of strong coffee and writing for hours and hours with little or no sleep. His habits took their toll and he died at age 51, leaving Eveline Hanska, his longtime love, but only his wife for five months, with 200,000 francs of debt. The bust of Balzac topping his monument was sculpted by David d’Angers (1788-1856). Honore de Balzac’s parents and sister are also buried in Pere-Lachaise.

Ferdinand Barbedienne

January 10, 1810-March, 21 1892 Division 53

48° 51′ 43.84 N 2° 23′ 33.29 E

Born to a common farming family, Ferdinand Barbedienne moved to Paris and started his business career as a wallpaper dealer. He grew a prosperous business, but changed directions in 1838 when he partnered with Achille Collas (1795-1859). Collas had invented a way to make bronze replicas of sculptures at a reduced size, thus opening up the art market to those of more modest means. Collas & Barbedienne was an almost immediate success. The company, which had about 300 workers produced roughly 1,200 different artworks from Michaengelo sculpture reproductions to busts of historical figures such as American Benjamin Franklin. Eventually the firm expanded into a wide range of decorative objects for the home including chandeliers, furniture and vases. When Achille Collas died in 1859, the company was renamed simply, Barbedienne. After Barbediennes death in 1892, his nephew Gustave Leblanc-Barbedienne took over the company renaming it Barbedienne Leblanc. Except for a break during the 1871 Paris Commune when the company’s factory was converted to cannon manufacturing, the firm continued until 1954. The company’s creations regularly come up for sale at galleries and upscale auction houses. The statues and bust of Ferdinand Barbedienne on his tomb were sculpted by Alfred Boucher. They are all cast in bronze and are essentially life size. Judging from the absence of patination on the upper torso of the statue in the front, she seems to get the most attention.

Salem The site of the largest and most infamous witch hunt in Country history, Salem was the first town settled by nonseparating Puritans in Colonial Country. Manila Metro Map Despite the witch hysteria and the religious and civil turmoil caused by the separatist Roger Williams, Salem’s growth as a commercial seaport propelled the Massachusetts city to the forefront of colonial politics during the Revolutionary era. Three years after the separatist colony of Plymouth was established in 1620, a group of farmers, fishermen, and trappers landed at Cape Ann, Massachusetts, on a quest for riches. Having little success, most of the company returned to England within five years. Led by Roger Conant, the remaining settlers found sheltered, fertile land at the mouth of the Naumkeag River. Their settlement, which was called Naumkeag in 1626, was renamed Salem in 1629 for the Hebrew word shalom, or peace. Best known as the site of the witch trials of 1692, Salem, Massachusetts, was the first town settled (in 1626) by non-separating Puritans in colonial Country. It became a fishing, building, and maritime trade center in the eighteenth century. (© Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts/Bridgeman Art Library)

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