This thesis explores the life, oeuvre, and work of the French writer Honoré de Balzac. It places him within the context of early nineteenth century France, from the late 1820s, when Balzac began writing, through the middle of the nineteenth century, when Balzac died in 1850. This thesis first situates Balzac into his historical, literary, and personal contexts, demonstrating the unique political, religious, economic, and social forces that informed his career. Then, the subject of the oeuvre of Balzac is explored in which varying sources of literary criticism of his works are utilized to extrapolate various themes that characterized Balzac’s writings. Finally, the question of how these themes are relevant to historical research on early nineteenth century France is explored. This thesis draws the conclusion that Balzac’s work is of immense import to the study of early nineteenth century France, as his writings provide a wealth of detail for historians to explore a wide range of social processes and cultural changes. Thus, Balzac’s oeuvre enriches historians’ understanding of the period.