About Mapping Balzac

The Mapping Balzac project is an online companion to Balzac’s great roman fleuve La Comédie Humaine. Mapping Balzac is a complete repertory of the characters in Balzac’s foundational series of realist novels, the places mentioned and visited, and the notable events within the novels. There are several kinds of information that we collect and systematize: information on characters, places mentioned or visited, events in the novels, and types of relationships (networks).


Mapping Balzac has inventoried all of the references to places in Paris in La Comédie Humaine, relying in part on the work of George Raser (1964), L.-F. Hoffman (1965 & 1968), and Jeannine Guichardet (1986). Full data on place references in Balzac are available for download from our GitHub repository. Static maps are available on FigShare. Interactive maps are on Tableau Public.

For all academic uses of this data, please cite:

Conroy, Melanie. Mapping Balzac: Places. 2021. https://github.com/mrconroy/mapping-balzac

For commentary on these maps and data, see and cite:

Conroy, Melanie. Literary Geographies in Balzac and Proust. of Elements in Digital Literary Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108992923


Mapping Balzac contains a list of all characters in the series of novels, derived from Cerfberr and Christophe’s Repertory of the Comédie Humaine (1901). Each character has a short description and is classified by various traits (class, gender, profession, nationality, physical traits).


The database contains a full genealogy of all of the major characters in the Comédie 

Humaine, based on Charles Lecour’s pioneering work (1966). Mapping Balzac willalso depict financial relationships, meetings, marriages, courtships, and other kinds of social relationships.



Melanie Conroy, Associate professor of French at the University of Memphis, is the project lead. Mapping Balzac was initially developed in collaboration with the Humanities + Design Lab at Stanford University.

For more information or to collaborate on the project, email Melanie Conroy (mrconroy at memphis.edu).

3 thoughts on “About Mapping Balzac

  1. Marcelo

    Hello. What a wonderful work! Please accept my congrats for this herculean task. I’ve been a reader of Balzac for decades and tried to do my own list of characters and families, not very succesful… Just letting you know my admiration for your work… 🙂

  2. Andrea W Gargiulo

    Hello. I’m leading a course at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement on Lost Illusions. Is it possible to see your work online, particularly the characters!
    Andrea W Gargiulo in Boston

  3. David Haynes

    Could you please advise me how I might become a member of your facility? I am a retired staff member of The University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill. And a old time lover of French Literature.
    I am over half way through the Saintsbury Edition of Complete works of Balzac which I inherited from my family . And would find a glossary of Characters (in English) from The Comedie Humaine extremely valuable
    Thank you
    David Haynes


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