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Auriol Or, the Elixir of Life William Harrison Ainsworth

Auriol Or, the Elixir of Life

William Harrison Ainsworth

Published January 1st 2014
ISBN : 9785518949355
Paperback
290 pages
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 About the Book 

Read this in the edition de Luxe with illustrations by Phiz. The subtitle of this novel is The Elixir of Life, and it is suitably Faustian/Wandering Jew-ish. The ending is almost Shelleyishly peculiar and unsatisfactory (I am thinking of P.B. Shelleys youthful Gothic novels, of course, not Mary Shelleys masterpiece). Auriol is restored to his own century and the situation seems to be as it was in the first chapter - except that we are given to understand that this is all a (literally) devilish trick, and that he is, in fact, still in the nineteenth century where he has just delivered up yet another woman he loves to death-in-life. The volume closes with two short pieces - a rather tedious evocation of Christmas-time and description of an old London merchant- and a fairly effective nights adventure in Rome which is strangely reminiscent of - or anticipatory of, I suppose - James Daisy Miller or (even more) Hawthornes Marble Faun, though much more melodramatic than either. Ainsworth is a curiously uneven writer - some things he does veyr well, but you get the feeling hes doing them by imitation. [These notes made in 1983:]