The Centenarian by Daniele Chatelain
Or, The Two Beringhelds (Early Classics of Science Fiction)

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Written for serial publication in 1822 under the pseudonym Horace de Saint-Aubin, this Faustian tale by Balzac has never before been available in English. More than a long-lost curiosity by an important writer, The Centenarian is also a seminal work of early science fiction, crucial to understanding both the development of the genre and the craft of this great author. Beringheld, a 400-year-old “mad scientist,” discovered the fluid necessary to human life, but he must extract the vital fluid of others to enlarge his own powers. Balzac intertwines the mythic and the modern in ways that would prove enormously influential to science fiction. Like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this novel bridges the gap that separates alchemy and magic from the practice and problems of science. It is also crucial to an understanding of Balzac’s oeuvre, as it anticipates significant themes of power, knowledge, and secrecy. This Wesleyan edition features notes, appendices, and a critical introduction.

About Daniele Chatelain

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Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) is widely considered one of the greatest French novelists of the 19th century. His best-known works include Lost Illusions, Cousin Bette, and Old Goriot. Daniele Chatelain is professor of French, University of Redlands, and author of Perceiving and Telling: A Study of Iterative Discourse (1998). George Slusser is professor of comparative literature and curator of the Eaton Collection at the University of California, Riverside. Chatelain and Slusser co-edited the essay collection Transformations of Utopia: Changing Views of the Perfect Society (1999), and live in Highland, California.
Published June 1, 1976 by Ayer Co Pub. 454 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction

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Project MUSE

Some Notes digress a bit from the tale, such as the fact that Grammont hillside "which was open countryside at the time of the novel, is today the site of a park, lycée, and apartment complexes .

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