Monday, November 30, 2009

"Proof Positive." Graham Greene.

One-minute review: a man whose body has been dead for a week, but whose spirit has not deserted his body, keeps the body moving and acting, can talk only what seems to be incoherent nonsense.

A man who is apparently alive, though appearing to be extremely ill, is giving a speech that is boring or frightening to everyone in the room by his appearance and incoherent thought. One of his main messages is that the spirit can continue to exist without the body which has died and he is “proof positive” that what he has said is true. He finishes his speech, such as it is, and he collapses into complete death.


“It was like the conversation of an old man which flits from subject to subject, the thread a subconscious one.”

“The spirit, he said, was stronger than anyone realized; the physiological action of heart and brain and nerves were subordinate to the spirit. The spirit was everything.”

“… ‘proof positive’—proof…that the spirit outlived the body…but all he had certainly revealed was how, without the body’s aid, the spirit is seven days [that the body was dead] decayed into whispered nonsense.”

Comment: One of the weirder stories I have read. RayS.

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

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