In 1816, writer Honoré Balzac entered the Sorbonne, where he studied under three famous professors. François Guizot, who later became prime minister, was Professor of Modern History. Abel-François Villemain, a recent arrival from the Collège Charlemagne, delivered lectures on French and classical literature to packed audiences. And – most influential of all – Victor Cousin's courses on philosophy encouraged his students to think independently.
Once his studies were completed, Balzac was persuaded by his father to follow him into the law; for three years he trained and worked at the office of Victor Passez, a friend of the family.