Real burning love between Balzac and Ukrainian Evelyn Hanska
The French writer Honore Balzac influenced many female relationships and love stories, as much as his novels were filled with female personalities that varied in their regions, social situations and ages. All situations… However, there is a constant tendency among the most serious historians and biographers of the owner of “Eugenie Grande” to assert with great humility that Balzac did not really live except the smallest number of these stories, either in his reality or in his imagination. On the contrary, there are those who claim that the only real love story he lived will be, in any case, the only one that will not leave him room to devote his heroine to a novel, story or group of stories, as was the case time and again when each of these “alleged ” was the story. You end up between the covers of a book for nothing in real life. We are talking here, of course, about his story with Evelyn Hanska, that beautiful lady who was the one who opened his relationship with her, without originally wanting to live with him in any kind of relationship.
Pole from Kiev
Madame Hanska, born in 1801 in Kiev, Ukraine, was the daughter of one of the wealthy Polish families that prospered in that country that lived under Polish colonization. And Evelyn, like the pomp and pageantry of her people and the wealthy class, was of high French culture who had been educated only in French books and knew nothing in the world beyond what was happening in France. She stayed in France with her family, and then with her husband, the rich Polish merchant Wenceslas Hansky, where she socialized with higher cultural and social circles. Since Evelyn was at least 22 years younger than her husband, she saw herself as a child and no one had the right to prevent her from having fun and playing with the forms she saw. It was therefore not surprising that one day in the winter of 1832, after she had finished reading a newly published novel by Balzac, which was then in vogue, she wrote a letter addressed to the young famous writer expressing great admiration for his novel, contenting herself at the bottom of the letter with defining with: “Alien”. Our writer did not care for the message at first, as he had received many similar messages, and was unmoved by the use of correspondence in this capacity. He was so experienced with women that he was not tempted to stand in front of “boyish” women of this type.
But “unknown” or, as she said, “stranger”, she soon waited for her next Balzac novel to write for him again, but this time she pushed things forward more. On November 7th of the same year, she sends a new letter to Balzac in which she confirms that she does not want the famous writer to do anything other than write to her because it is her favorite hobby. If he agrees, he will only have to publish some scattered words on to a certain page of the Quotidien newspaper during the month of January “just to let him know about the success”… “and the rest is up to me,” according to what she confirmed. Indeed, Balzac responded to that correspondence, only to immediately receive a third message from her, to which he replied: “I am in love with you, unknown person…”. And those three words were enough to start the love story between Honoré and Evelyn. A story that began in 1833 as a beginning, but would live on for another seventeen years and witness many developments. As we indicated above, it will not make “Madame Hanska” the heroine of any of those wonderful stories written by Balzac.
grams only for travel
Perhaps it is strange here that the relationship between these two lovers was not built in the shadow of literature or dramatic writing, even though we could talk about about 400 letters that remain to us from those that Balzac did not stop sending to “my beloved stranger”, while he would later prefer to keep only Her first and second letters, with which she opened the relationship with him. And later, after his death, she dedicated herself to the interest in publishing his works and heritage. On the other hand, the relationship, even before the departure of Evelyn’s first husband, developed under the banner of travel, because for the first three years they travel together, unaware of exposing their relationship, between Paris, Switzerland and Austria. . Then in 1841, after her husband’s death, they traveled together to Russia, although she was hesitant at first when he asked her to marry him, and later it will be said that she was afraid that he would squander her wealth and inheritance when her husband left for her. But in 1850 (March 14), when seventeen years had passed since their relationship together, and after they had stayed at her family’s estates between the Ukraine and Poland, she was finally convinced that the time had come for them to marry, especially since four years have passed since they lost the child they had together. And they were indeed married in their Paris home, but their life together there did not last for only a few months, because Balzac soon gave up his soul on August 18, 1850.
The legacy of the husband and his friends!
What is really remarkable here is that Mrs. Hanska, who has since become known as Madame de Balzac and even Yves de Balzac, immediately after the death of the great writer, took care of the latter’s papers, but not alone. Namely, she was dedicated to that work with all seriousness and dedication, but in the arms of the writer and critic Chanfleury, who was considered one of Balzac’s closest friends, her relationship with him will be longer, because they will stay together for thirty years, which will end only with her departure in 1882, and she repeats to those who like to hear her that the only man she loved in her life was… Honore de Balzac. However, whether this claim is true or not, it is clear that Balzac was a dominant presence in Evelyn Hanska’s life. But it is more evident that she was a louder presence in his life. The main question remains related to all that absence of that strong woman from Balzac’s literature, and not about his life. Indeed, the absence has prompted many researchers to wonder if the writer did not portray him, even if obliquely, through one character from here and another from there.
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Whatever the order is here. In the end, it is certain that Evelyn Hanska did not leave a literary influence on Balzac’s life and work, although she left a strange influence on his life. And perhaps an effect that informs us that she might end up being the only woman he truly loved, but without that love being the big story of his life. Perhaps it is funny here that Evelyn, perhaps after the first years of passion, while she was still the wife of a compatriot twice her age, was her first concern, and met her favorite writer and became aware of his life and financial problems, if she preferred to avoid his “dominion over her wealth,” he said. One day later she would announce that she was sorry she had used him. Based on this simple reality, can we agree with many who renounced the romantic dimension that many once took to the story of Hanska and Balzac?