Odd Writers #9: Balzac’s Fuel for Thought

How much coffee is too much? They say three to four coffees a day is a good number but twenty-five is judged by the experts to be too much. If twenty-five cups sounds like a hell of a lot of coffee, I’d like to introduce you to prolific, 19th Century, French author, Honore de Balzac….

Voici Monsieur Balzac (1799-1850), who apparently clocked in at cinquante cups of coffee a day for around twenty years. FIFTY!

The coffee industry’s best friend ever.

Despite the fact that he must have spent much of the day with his lips perched on the edge of a china cup, or perhaps because of it, Balzac found time and energy to write. And write and write…

With his quill pen and endless supply of coffee, he sometimes wrote for sixteen hours a day, producing a vast amount of acclaimed novels, novellas, plays and short stories full of detailed observations of society and very human characters. Although the large amount of coffee he consumed did cause health problems later in life, his excessive habit helped him become one of the most famous writers ever.


… Just off to put the kettle on – I’m already forty-eight cups short for the day 😉

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of wit start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.”

— Honoré de Balzac

Cover Photo Credit: Pawel Czerwinski (Unsplash) / Honore de Balzac (Creative Commons)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s