ABSTRACT

Balzac's instalment of Massimilla Doni, then entitled Une representation du Mose de Rossini a Venise, appeared in La France musicale on August 25, 1839, and not in Schlesinger's Gazette. One love situation—impotence derived from excessive passion—that Honore de Balzac did not treat in that merry-go-round of human relationships called Beatrix he treated in Massimilla Doni. In this chapter, love is the instrument of a mysterious synthesis of spirituality and sensuality. Massimilla Doni sustains a mood of paradox from beginning to end. The similarities and the differences that join and separate Massimilla Doni and Gambara become important. Balzac arrived at an adumbration of the theory of synaesthesia through his conversance with the Illuminist creed and its Hoffmannian overtones, and through his Swedenborgian bent. More often in more common synaesthetic associations, the sense of sound melds with the sense of sight.