Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "The Mortal Immortal" (short story, immortality, free): It's no fun to be immortal in a society of mortals

Illustration of Bertha at a young age, a nagger later in story, that accompanies the linked online copy of the short story titled The Mortal Immortal by Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyWhile surreptitiously drinking the "Elixir of Immortality" his guru was brewing for himself, little did Winzy realize the trouble he was getting into. His drank it mistakenly, thinking it was a love antidote - after a quarrel with his girlfriend Bertha! Guru, master alchemist Cornelius, will himself die 5 years later of old age, having been deprived of his years' effort & a failed second attempt at the brewing the potion.

Much of the story is about the jealously of the society of mortals against someone who ages very slowly.

Story is narrated by Winzy on July 16, 1833 - that's his "323rd birthday!"

Mostly a light read.

Story makes a passing reference to "The Wandering Jew". I'd first seen his reference in Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" (a character that appears in all 3 stories, & is may be 2000 years old by the end of the novel!), & assumed it was Miller's creation. Looks like it's some Biblical legend.

Story also makes a passing reference to human hibernation. Apparently done with "enchantments"!

Fact sheet.

First published: The Keepsake, 1834 (via Internet Book List).
Download full text from The Wondersmith.
Rating: A
Related: All stories of Mary Shelley; all stories from 19th century; feed that collects only posts about Mary Shelley's stories.


उन्मुक्त said...

मैंने यह कहानी नहीं पढ़ी। मैं तो समझता कि मैरी ने केवल फ्रैंकेस्टाइन ही लिखी है जो कि शायद पहली सबसे प्रसिद्ध विज्ञान कहानी है।

Tinkoo said...

That's ok, Unmukt. I've not read even Frankenstein!

Rachel said...

The Wandering Jew is a reference to the apostle John, sometimes called John the beloved. The Bible says he will not taste death until the coming of Jesus' kingdom.