Balzac, Honoré de - Seraphita - 01 Here we may breathe the thoughts of God
Type of Spiritual Experience
Minna represents his soul, Seraphina his Higher spirit or 'Guardian Angel'
Balzac's work habits are legendary. He wrote from 1 am to 8 am every night and sometimes even longer. Balzac could write very rapidly; some of his novels, written with a quill, were composed at a pace equal to thirty words per minute on a modern typewriter. His preferred method was to eat a light meal at five or six in the afternoon, then sleep until midnight. He then rose and wrote for many hours, fueled by innumerable cups of black coffee. He often worked for fifteen hours or more at a stretch; he claimed to have once worked for 48 hours with only three hours of rest in the middle.
Although Balzac was "by turns a hermit and a vagrant", he managed to stay in tune with the social spheres which nourished his writing. He was friends with Théophile Gautier and Pierre-Marie-Charles de Bernard du Grail de la Villette, and he was acquainted with Victor Hugo. Nevertheless, he did not spend as much time in salons and clubs of Paris like many of his characters. "In the first place he was too busy", explains Saintsbury, "in the second he would not have been at home there.... [H]e felt it was his business not to frequent society but to create it"
A description of the experience
SERAPHITA By Honore De Balzac Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley
“We are the noblest of God’s greatest works. Has He not given us the faculty of reflecting on Nature; of gathering it within us by thought; of making it a footstool and stepping-stone from and by which to rise to Him? We love according to the greater or the lesser portion of heaven our souls contain. But do not be unjust, Minna; behold the magnificence spread before you. Ocean expands at your feet like a carpet; the mountains resemble amphitheatres; heaven’s ether is above them like the arching folds of a stage curtain. Here we may breathe the thoughts of God, as it were like a perfume. See! the angry billows which engulf the ships laden with men seem to us, where we are, mere bubbles; and if we raise our eyes and look above, all there is blue. Behold that diadem of stars! Here the tints of earthly impressions disappear; standing on this nature rarefied by space do you not feel within you something deeper far than mind, grander than enthusiasm, of greater energy than will? Are you not conscious of emotions whose interpretation is no longer in us? Do you not feel your pinions?.”
Seraphitus knelt down and crossed his hands upon his breast, while Minna fell, weeping, on her knees. Thus they remained for a time, while the azure dome above their heads grew larger and strong rays of light enveloped them without their knowledge.