Honoré de Balzac
Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous, and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. Lost Illusions concerns Lucien de Rubempré, a young poet trying to make a name for himself, who becomes trapped in the morass of society's darkest contradiction.