French author Honoré de Balzac once said he was a "galley slave to pen and ink," but he should have included one other captor: coffee. While it might come as no surprise that someone who wrote 47 novels, eight plays, a dozen novellas, and 18 short stories counted on caffeine to keep him going, Balzac downed a daily amount of espresso equivalent to 47 cups of coffee. And he did it for 25 years. While many studies have suggested that drinking coffee can have positive health effects, most people aren't equipped to handle what Balzac did, and would most likely suffer big-time jitters and sleep problems if they came anywhere close to his coffee consumption. And Balzac didn't limit himself to liquids, either. He kept coffee grounds on hand and chewed them whenever he needed a little pick-me-up.
A brief Balzac bio:
- At an early age, Balzac struggled in school and was often sent to detention; it was there that his love of literature and reading began.
- Balzac aimed to describe all of French society in his writing, and his best-known work, The Human Comedy, offered a panoramic view of French life after Napoleon.
- Balzac had more than 80 works published between 1829 and 1847, largely thanks to spending 16 hours a day writing; no doubt, aided by all that coffee.