Jean Louis Guez Balzac, seigneur de, a French writer, born in Angouleme in 1594, died at Balzac, Feb. 18, 1654. His father, a nobleman of Languedoc, and a favorite of Henry IV., assumed the name of De Balzac after a small estate on the Charente. He was a pupil of Malherbe, accompanied Cardinal de la Valette to Italy, and became his agent in Rome; and on his return to Paris, when his correspondence had established for him a high literary reputation, he became one of the most admired visitors of the hotel Rambouillet, a favorite of the bishop of Lucon, afterward Cardinal Richelieu, and a member of the newly established French acad--emy. His rapid success excited much jealousy, especially among the old school of prose writers and the order of the Feuillants, whose general, Father Goulu, published a most virulent attack | upon him. Balzac, weary of these assaults, left Paris for his country seat, and was hence called the hermit of the Charente. Toward the end of his life he often retired for religious meditation to the Capuchin convent of Angouleme, where he had two rooms built for his own use. He dis-tributed large amounts among the poor, and bequeathed funds to the academy for an annual prize in rhetoric, which is still distributed.
He was greatly admired by Christina of Sweden, to whom he dedicated his Aristippe. His Prince, a fulsome eulogy of Louis XIII., and written in the pompons style characteristic of Le Socrate chrctien and of most of his works, was censured by the Sorbonne. He contributed much, however, to improve prose writing, especially by his Lettres (new ed., 3 vols., Paris, 1806). A complete edition of his writings by Casaaigne in 2 vols, folio appeared in Paris in 1665, and a select edition by A. Malitourne in 2 vols. 8vo in 1822. 1). F. Moreau de Mersan published Pensees de Balzac in 1807. About 200 of his MS. letters to Chapelain have lately been published by the committee of historical monuments, and included in a volume entitled Melanges.