Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Friday, June 19, 2015

"The Elixir of Life" by Honoré de Balzac (1831, A Short Story Component of The Human Comedy)

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In his preface to this story Balzac acknowledges he got the idea from a story by Hoffman.  In his defense he says he has created enough original stories in The Comedie Humaine so his subscribers cannot really complain.

I prefer Balzac's works about ordinary people in contemporary France to his fictions on the nobility of Italy set in the 15th and 16th century.  Maybe this was what the Paris reading public wanted in 1831 but I find these works can be tedious.  I hope there are not too many more of them to go😁

"The Elixir of Life" centers on a ninety year old Italian Duke, set in the 16th century, and the son of his old age.  The father is a man of sober habits, financially prudent in everything but his indulgence of the prolificate  ways of his 25 or so year old only son.  The son indulges in what goes for debauchery in the period, beautiful aristocratic women, fine wines and rich food.  He longs for the death of his father so he can have full control of the vast estate.  Thinks take a turn for the supernatural when he tries to poison his father.  The ending is kind of intriguing and I will leave it untold.  

Ambrosia Boussweau 

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