The Lifted Veil is a novella by George Eliot, first published in 1859. Quite unlike the realistic fiction for which Eliot is best known, The Lifted Veil explores themes of extrasensory perception, the essence of physical life, possible life after death, and the power of fate. The novella is a significant part of the Victorian tradition of horror fiction, which includes such other examples as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897).
The narrator, Latimer (no first name given), is gifted or cursed with an otherworldly ability to see into the future and the thoughts of other people. Tragically, Latimer is revolted by much of what he discerns about others' motivations. His unwanted "gift" seems to stem from a severe childhood illness he suffered while attending school in Geneva.
Latimer becomes fascinated with Bertha, his brother's cold and coquettish fiancée, because her mind and motives remain atypically closed to him. After his brother's death Latimer marries Bertha, only to see the marriage disintegrate as he begins to recognize Bertha's manipulative and untrustworthy nature. Latimer's friend, scientist Charles Meunier, performs a blood transfusion between himself and Bertha's just-dead maid in a memorable scene of gothic horror. For a few moments the maid comes back to life and accuses Bertha of a plot to poison Latimer. Bertha flees and Latimer soon dies as he had himself foretold at the start of the narrative.
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