Louis Lambert, The Exiles, and Seraphita are three titles from the "Philosophical Studies" of Honoré de Balzac's magnum opus, The Human Comedy, which includes about 100 linked stories and novels. The three works included in this volume are thematically connected by their engagement with the spiritual doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg.
Louis Lambert examines the life and theories of a boy genius who is enrolled in the Collège de Vendôme by a benefactor, the real-life author Madame de Staël. But the actual events of Louis Lambert are secondary to its extended discussions of philosophy and human emotion.
The Exiles is a short story, published in 1831, about two poets named Dante and Godefroid de Gand who attend the Sorbonne at the start of the fourteenth century. It explores questions of metaphysics and mysticism, particularly the spiritual quest for illuminism and enlightenment.
Seraphita is Balzac's paean to spiritual love. It departs from the realism of the author's best-known works. Seraphita is a strange and melancholic being loved by Minna, who believes him to be a man, and also by Wilfrid, who considers her a woman. In fact, Seraphita is an androgyne, the perfect example of humanity.
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