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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