I know that this character might be a little problematic to the readers who are not familiar with la petite mort. It oviously doesn’t exist in the USA, I don’t know about Britain or other countries.
One thing is sure, though: In French and German speaking countries, it should be known. I believe the term little death origines in France. In a common way it describes the sexual highlight, the orgasm. At least this is the best known meaning of what is indicated by saying someone just experienced a little death! (a rather poetic circumscription, as you might have guessed).
There are, however, other meanings of the word. Some equalize it with sleep, yet the most popular name for Morpheus had always been Brother of Death (vice versa, Death has been described as Brother of Sleep), so I didn’t take this into my own definition of Little Death.
Other sources referred to la petite mort as any sort of sudden inner disarray, which is experienced either through positive feelings (love, joy, ecstasy) or the contrary (pain, disappointment, fear, sorrow). In either way, this experience has to come in a sudden rush from within. So, it’s not the sort of pain we feel when we bruise a finger, it’s the pain we feel inside when we realize e.g. someone very dear deceived us or when we are really embarassed. On the other hand, it can be the uplifting of the soul when we hear certain music, or when we succeeded in something.
It is fast and it is strong, and it feels as if one’s heart was ready to jump out of the throat. I am sure that everyone has experienced that kind of feeling in some way. Well, yes, and that’s it – or rather him. Little D.