viernes, 29 de octubre de 2010

Balzac Loses a Book

Tuesday, 30 March [1875]
Paul Lacroix confirmed in conversation with me today what Gavarni had told me about Balzac's thriftiness in the expenditure of his sperm.  He was perfectly happy playing the love game up to the point of ejaculation, but he was unwilling to go any further.  Sperm for him was an emission of cerebral matter and as it were a waste of creative power; and after one unfortunate incident, in the course of which he had forgotten his theories, he arrived at Latouche's exclaiming: 'I lost a book this morning.'
(Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Pages from the Goncourt Journals [translated by Robert Baldick], New York: NYRB Classics, 2007, 215-216)
Unofficial coup d'envoi of my 2010-2011 French literature reading project!

5 comentarios:

  1. HAHAHA oh man. Balzac was a real-life version of Kubrick's General Jack Ripper!

    Your project is excellently timed for me to play along as I'll be trying to read all the French lit I can for the next 7 months.

  2. Richard, this post represents too much temptation to a smart ass like me. But read with you I will. But can't comment further.

  3. What a wonderful supplement to the commonly held (and perfectly true) assumption that men think with their - shall we say - lower organs...

  4. Funny post. Balzac is such an unbelievable character. Wasn't he drinking so many pots of coffee a day any one else would have been poisoned? Your reading project, I did not get it properly, are these the books on you French TBR pile then? I got the Balzac biography by Stefan Zweig. Should finally read it.

  5. *Emily: I missed the Balzac-Kubrick connection, I'm afraid (it's been ages since I saw the film), but I'm glad you got a laugh out the post! Will be happy to have you "play along" on the French lit thing and naturally look forward to seeing what stuff you'll select for yourself until your trip.

    *Frances: Oh, you're such a tease! I understand the wisdom of silence here, though, really.

    *Jill: I've never thought with mine, but then again, I'm no novelist!

    *Caroline: I wasn't familiar with the Balzac coffee story, but that's another good one for the anecdote collection! And I've heard nice things about Zweig's biographies. Am still working on the details for my French lit reading project, but my French TBR will only play a part in it. My main three goals for the project at present are to approach the literature somewhat systematically (by time period or region or genre...), to read more works in French rather than in translation, and to complement the readings each month with some grammar review and audiovisual materials (including DVDs, of course). I can read in French OK, but I'm very rusty on everything else right now. Would like to improve in that regard!