The Elixir of Life is a short story by Honoré de Balzac, first published 1830, about eternal life. However, this is an eternal life story with a horrific twist.
The Elixir of Life is classified as one of Balzac's Philosophical Studies, many of which have supernatural overtones. This one not only has supernatural aspects, but also aspects of horror.
The scene opens on a winter evening in a princely palace where Don Juan Belvidero is giving a banquet. Don Juan has just remarked "There is but one eternal father, and, as ill luck will have it, he is mine" when he is told by a servant that his father, now ninety, is dying. When he reaches his father's side he hears a strange tale. His father tells him that he has found "a way of coming to life again."
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories, La Comédie humaine. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics.
Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.