200 The Self-Defeating Fantasy is by no means rare, and, where there is no promise of life- everlasting, as there is not, say, for Sidney Carton when he takes Charles Darnay’s place at the guillotine at the end of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. [7] Such mortality is the measure of human, not divine, heroism. Jesus can promise the robbers that they will be that day with him in paradise (Lk 23:43), but Sidney Carton can achieve his immortality only in art. However, most of us, I believe, would agree with Woody Allen who said, I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying (pg. 260). [8] Unfortunately, the available images of ‘not dying’ are typi- cally either sketchy, as with the Christian, or grotesque. In The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Edgar Allan Poe presents a man mesmerized “in articulo mortis” (pg. 269). [9] The nar- rator and hypnotist can calculate the hour of expected death because Valdemar suffers from a progressive wasting disease, but in some sense Valdemar in his inevitable mortality is like us all; for, as the inhabitants of Samuel Butler’s Erewhon say, To be born . . . is a felony – it is a capital crime, for which sentence may be executed at any moment after the commission of the offence (pg. 145). [10] Poe’s story, readable at first as a bizarre science fiction and at second as a flagrant satire, has the time from the narra- tor’s ‘conception’ of the mesmerizing project to its end equal nine months, the last seven spent with Valdemar somehow suspended  by  mesmeric  intervention.  At  a  key  moment  in entrancing Valdemar, the narrator says “[I] proceeded with- out hesitation – exchanging, however, the lateral passes for downward ones, and directing my gaze entirely into the right eye of the sufferer” (pg. 273). This ostentatiously objective rhetoric  of  science,  on  second  glance,  conceals  a  satire  of