StendhalIn hmolscience, Stendhal (1783-1842) (CR:14), aka Marie-Henri Beyle, was French realism writer noted for his 1822 book On Love, wherein he describes the phenomena of “crystallization”, wherein, as cited in literature chemistry, the perceived level of beauty or physical attractiveness of a person one is falling in love with seemingly increases in the mind’s eye, and for his atheism promoting statements.

Stendhal, according to Lars Svendsen, is grouped among the so-called “boredom philosophers”, namely: Pascal, Rousseau, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, Goethe, Flaubert, Peter Zapffe, Mann, Beckett, Buchner, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Baudelaire, Leopardi, Proust, Byron, Eliot, Ibsen, Valery, Bernanos, and Pessoa. [1]

In 1822, Stendhal, in his On Love, used the model of crystallization to explain the process of falling in love, wherein the previously noticed imperfections of one’s newly forming mate slowly disappear and in many cases become marks of perfection and beauty. Stendhal described the process of twig crystallization as such:

“In the salt mines, nearing the end of the winter season, the miners will throw a leafless wintry bough into one of the abandoned workings. Two or three months later, through the effects of the waters saturated with salt which soak the bough and then let it dry as they recede, the miners find it covered with a shining deposit of crystals. The tiniest twigs no bigger than a tomclit’s claw are encrusted with an infinity of little crystals scintillating and dazzling. The original little bough is no longer recognizable; it has become a child’s plaything very pretty to see. When the sun is shining and the air is perfectly dry the miners of Hallein seize the opportunity of offering these diamond-studded boughs to travellers preparing to go down to the mine.” Crystallization (Stendhal)

He then employed this model to explain the transformation that occurs when two people fall in love. "When we are in Bologna, we are entirely indifferent; we are not concerned to admire in any particular way the person with whom we shall perhaps one day be madly in love with; even less is our imagination inclined to overrate their worth." In a word, in Bologna “crystallization” has not yet begun. When the journey begins, love departs. One leaves Bologna, climbs the Apennines, and takes the road to Rome. The departure, according to Stendhal, has nothing to do with one’s will; it is an instinctive moment. This transformative process actuates in terms of four steps along a journey: first admiration, second acknowledgement, third hope, and forth delight. [1]

The following are noted quotes:

“Gods only excuse is that he does not exist.”
— Stendhal (c.1820), cited by Nietzsche, in Ecce Homo, as “best atheist joke”, saying he was jealous of for not having said it first [2]

“We call an actionnatural when it does not differ from the habitual mode of action.”
— Stendhal (1822), On Love

“The only unions which are legitimate are those ruled by a genuine passion.”
— Stendhal (1822), On Love

“Whatever some hypocritical ministers of government may say about it, power is the greatest of all pleasures. It seems to me that only love can beat it, and love is a happy illness that can't be picked up as easily as a ministry.”
— Stendhal (1822), On Love (Ѻ)

1. Svendsen, Lars. (2005). A Philosophy of Boredom (pg. 20). Reaktion Books.
2. (a) Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1888). Ecce Home (pg. 39). Dover, 2012.
(b) Ecce Homo (book) – Wikipedia.
(c) Malieth, Monydit (aka Tonnerre). (2013). The Future Affects the Past: What Destination is Time Rushing To? (pg. 26). Red Lead Books.
3. Crystallization (love) – Wikipedia.

External links
Stendhal – Wikipedia.

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