Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Transformation" (short story, fantasy, free): Think twice before exchanging your body with an evil magician!

Illustration of Juliet, lover of protagonist in the story titled Transformation by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Illustration is painted by Miss Sherpa. Click image for full sized original.I've heard variations of it in Indian folklore. Not sure if they inherit from this Shelley story, or this story is an adaptation.

Note the story uses arcane English - "thou" for "you", "art" for "are", ...

Story summary.

Guido il Cortese, a reckless young man from Genoa (Italy) & narrator, has blown up his substantial inheritance, & won't listen to sane advise of his father's friend & lover's father. After much drama, he finds himself penniless & friendless on a sea front, & is witness to a shipwreck - a ship hitting rocks in a storm. Out of the wreck comes an ugly magician with a chest full of wealth.

Having heard Guido's story & shown some magic, magician offers a deal: exchange your handsome youthful body with mine for 3 days only, & this chestful of wealth is yours!

Of course, magician has no intention of returning after 3 days. At the end of time, suspecting foul play, Guido heads to his lover's place. Magician, in Guido's body, is to marry her tomorrow - having repented Guido's past sins in front of her dad!

Some drama, & a happy ending.

Fact sheet.

First published: "[in 1831 and initially appeared in The Keepsake, an annual gift book to which she contributed several stories and poems from 1828-1838.]"
Rating: B
Download full text from Real Pulp Weekly.
Download scans along with illustration above from Webofmind.
Related: All stories of Mary Shelley; all stories from 19th century; feed that collects only posts about Mary Shelley's stories.


Arvind Mishra said...

thanks for sharing this wonderful piece from Shelly's writings ! It is different in the sense that it has a happy ending -shift from her other works.Parkayaa pravesh is a theme which could be traced in Indian myths.
Have you ever pondered that 'Frankenstein' and the story of BHASMASUR resembles much and there is difference in their last scenes only ,Bhasmasur has a happy ending while Frankenstein is pessimistic !