Chapter 1: Seraphitus
Balzac begins with a travelogue of the fiords of Norway, concentrating ultimately on one isolated valley that is isolated by the roaring waters of the Sieg River which rises in Sweden and by the forbidding mountains of Jarvis.
We begin with two figures cross-country skiing UP a mountain, past unimaginable abysses. One of them is Minna Becker, daughter of the village pastor. The other is apparently (why I say this will itself become apparent soon) a pale young male named Seraphitus, who expertly guides Minna up the slope to an Alpine meadow. (more…)