BBC Radio 7, 2 August 2009
"The Mortal Immortal" covers the kind of emotional territory later explored
in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Its commentary on homan life presents itself through the activities of the
alchemist and his apprentice, the story's protagonist. Shelley assumes that, while it is natural to fall in love during one's
yoth, it is also natural for the body to grow old and succumb to death. Cornelius tries to conquer nature by remaining perpetually
young, while Winzy wants to fall out of love perrmanently. Both of them challenge the natural order and fail.
"The Mortal Immortal," as read by Shaun Dooley, turned into a study of obsession.
Winzy believes that he could become immune to love; Cornelius thinks he can cheat death, and spends all his years searching
for a suitable elixir. Winzy is so afraid of love that he carelessly consumes a potion that results ironically in his only
being happy while loving a woman. As soon as she dies, Winzy has nothing to live for.
Ultimately what I learned from this short, macabre tale is that death cannot be avoided,
while life itself is something more than living, breathing and loving. If one doesn't treat it with respect, then one might
as well be dead already. The producer was Gemma Jenkins.