Balzac, Treatise on Modern Stimulants

This work seems like a challenge to write about for 30 minutes since it is such a short work. 41 small pages. Nonetheless, here some thoughts (unorganized by the end).

Me, enjoying a modern stimulant somewhere in California. 2014.

Though I have read Balzac before, this was in the form of novels (Eugénie Grandet, The Wild Ass’s Skin, Colonel Chabert), and I expected my next foray would be a novel. But when I turned to Twitter for reading recommendations, this came from one particularly well-read friend. And since it was much shorter than the last book he recommended to me (“one of the most amusing books in our language”), it seemed worth a shot.

This little treatise ended up as a perfect follow-up to my reading of The Count of Monte Cristo. The Count of that novel, who keeps his normal fair to a minimum, makes no secret of the substances by which he regulates his sleep. When we first see his hidden palace room, he offers his guest a serving of hashish which brings about deeply satisfying hallucinations. He carries around an emerald which contains his “sleeping pills”, and we see another scene where a child breaks into his cabinet full of vials which induce untold effects.

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The Count of Monte Cristo

Preliminary note. It seems good to write something on each book that I finish, but it also doesn’t seem worth too much time. The time limit is set for 30 minutes. At that point, I will wrap it up and post. That will save more time for reading.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas was an excellent novel. The only point against it is its length! Providence was kind enough to grant me a period of isolation from society which allowed me to finish it. Some thoughts.

[All spoilers below.]

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