Saturday, October 1, 2016
LOSS OF BREATH (1832)
The comedy is better sustained this time out. The story's narrator, in the middle of arguing with his wife, suddenly finds that he's no longer able to breathe. He doesn't die of this inconvenience; he just can't speak beyond croaking noises. He keeps his malady secret and flees his home. Through a series of weird coincidences, he's sat on by a fat man, who mistakes him for a corpse because the narrator neither breathes nor speaks. The narrator escapes various predicaments, only to be mistaken for a lookalike criminal. He's hanged by the neck, which doesn't really bother him, after which his immobile body is interred. He does survive all of these experiences in a story that serves as a precursor to "The Premature Burial."