In those days I was more than ever intent upon exploring the secrets of nature, and I gave myself up to the study of the source where life began. Bysshe and I would argue into the night over the respective merits of the Italians Galvani and Volta. He favoured the animal electricity of Signor Galvani, while I was deeply excited by the success of the voltaic plates.
"Do you not see," I told him one winter evening, "that the electrical battery is a new engine of immense promise?"
"My dear Victor, Galvani has proved that there is electricity in the world around us. Nature is electricity itself. By the simple expedient of a metallic thread, he has brought life back into a frog. Why could he not achieve the same with the human frame?"
"I have not thought of it." I went over to the window, and looked out at the snow falling onto the quad.
Bysshe was lying on the sofa, and I heard him murmuring to himself some lines of poetry:
"Happy is he who lives to understand
Not human nature only, but explores
All natures, to the end that he may find
The law that governs each."
Excerpted from The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd Copyright © 2009 by Peter Ackroyd. Excerpted by permission of Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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