The Elixir of Life by Honoré de Balzac

L’Élixir de longue Vie
The Elixir of Life

This is one of Balzac’s strange little stories dated Paris, October, 1830. In ‘To the Reader’ he tells us he heard the subject of the story, or the Study as he calls it, from a friend, and later thinks the story was from a collection of Hoffmann (E. T. A. Hoffman, a famous musician, dramatist and horror story writer of Balzac’s time). Balzac urges us to believe he did not deliberately plagiarize the story. He also discourses on the natural human trait of waiting to profit by someone’s death and perhaps hurrying that process along. Continue reading