William Wilson.

Freely available online. (link goes to PDF)
Goodreads Review.

A walk on the beach spurred this laconic summation. Can a man who would rather harikari than copy, tolerate his inner reflection?

A short story told from the first person, it follows a fortunate but foul man. At first sharing his time with a virtuous doppelganger, the eponymous character becomes pursued by this fleshy voodoo doll into a literary crescendo.

If one reads this as a mental metaphor instead of a narrative, Mr. Wilson’s moral corruption becomes an effect not affect, and it warns us of extreme dedication to becoming an original thinker. Human prescience at first aids Mr. Wilson’s self-fulfilment, but even as a boy he seeks an escape from imitating a fantasy self. So he chooses an imperfection & wickedness not present in the unreal other. Vain people may exchange forgiveness for witness. This turn fits the metaphorical narrative as he percolates through international high society. Or maybe a Dukedom isn’t what it used to be…


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