A Modern Mephistopheles

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 26, 2009 - Fiction - 240 pages
3 Reviews
Although beloved for her children’s classic Little Women, Louisa May Alcott had a passion for sensational literature that she only dared issue anonymously or under a pseudonym. Her favorite among these adult fictions, A Modern Mephistopheles was first published in 1877 and has been rediscovered and published under Alcott’s name.

This chilling tale of lust, deception, and greed beings on a midwinter night as Felix Canaris, a despairing writer about to take his own life, is saved by a knock at the door. His mysterious visitor, Jasper Helwyze, promises the poor student fame and fortune in return for his complete devotion. The embittered Helwyze then plots to corrupt his overly ambitious protégé by artfully manipulating the innocent and beautiful Gladys. When Helwyze decides that he wants Gladys for himself, Felix must defend the adoring young woman from the corrosive influence of his diabolical patron.

A novel of psychological complexity that touches on controversial subjects such as sexuality and drug use, A Modern Mephistopheles is a penetrating and powerful study of human evil and its appalling consequences.
 

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User Review  - Sovranty - LibraryThing

Despite there being only four main characters, it is difficult to assign titles like Villain and Hero. As soon as you side with one character, a piece of information is revealed that makes you ... Read full review

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User Review  - PhilSyphe - LibraryThing

Before reading this I was expecting something as good as, and similar to, "A Long Fatal Love Chase" or some of LMA's superb thrillers; however, this novella is one of few works by Ms Alcott that I ... Read full review

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Contents

Introduction
ONE
TWO
THREE
FOUR
FIVE
SIX
SEVEN
ELEVEN
TWELVE
THIRTEEN
FOURTEEN
FIFTEEN
SIXTEEN
SEVENTEEN
EIGHTEEN

EIGHT
NINE
TEN
Bibliography
About the Author
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832. Two years later, she moved with her family to Boston and in 1840 to Concord, which was to remain her family home for the rest of her life. Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott early realized that her father could not be counted on as sole support of his family, and so she sacrificed much of her own pleasure to earn money by sewing, teaching, and churning out potboilers. Her reputation was established with Hospital Sketches (1863), which was an account of her work as a volunteer nurse in Washington, D.C. Alcott's first works were written for children, including her best-known Little Women (1868--69) and Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871). Moods (1864), a "passionate conflict," was written for adults. Alcott's writing eventually became the family's main source of income. Throughout her life, Alcott continued to produce highly popular and idealistic literature for children. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Under the Lilacs (1878), and Jack and Jill (1881) enjoyed wide popularity. At the same time, her adult fiction, such as the autobiographical novel Work: A Story of Experience (1873) and A Modern Mephistopheles (1877), a story based on the Faust legend, shows her deeper concern with such social issues as education, prison reform, and women's suffrage. She realistically depicts the problems of adolescents and working women, the difficulties of relationships between men and women, and the values of the single woman's life.

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