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The Bottle Imp (1892)

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3511275,166 (3.84)16
Keawe buys a magic bottle which brings him all that he desires but which he must sell before he dies in order to avoid spending eternity in hell.
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» See also 16 mentions

English (7)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
"A depressão recaiu em seus espíritos. À noite, ficavam sentados na nova casa, após o cansaço de um dia, e não trocavam palavra, ou o silêncio era rompido pelas lamúrias repentinas de Kokua. Às vezes, rezavam juntos; às vezes, colocavam a garrafa no chão, e observavam por toda a noite como ele (o demônio) flutuava no meio. Nesses momentos, sentiam medo de descansar. Demorava até que o sono chegasse, e, se um dos dois cochilasse, era para depois despertar e encontrar o outro chorando silenciosamente no escuro, ou, talvez, despertar sozinho, pois o outro saiu da casa e da proximidade da garrafa, para passear debaixo das bananeiras no jardim, ou caminhar na praia ao luar."

Uma cerebridade em vida devido aos seus trabalhos literários (raridade hoje em dia!), o Escocês Stevenson em 1887 observou as dezenas de jornalistas que o esperavam diligentemente atracar no Porto de Nova York, e afirmou á esposa: “Se fosse a chegada de Jesus Cristo, não fariam tamanha balbúrdia”

Foi em "Demônio na Garrafa" meu primeiro encontro com tusitala, — o contador de histórias — nome pelo qual o Stevenson era conhecido na Escócia; um conto com narrativa agradável, linguagem clara, mas, demasiado alongado.

Gênios da Lampada e Desejos estão presentes e espalhados pela literatura desde praticamente sempre — as mil e uma noites que o diga; e parece lógico que o contador de histórias também resolva se aventurar explorando esse tema.

Aqui não há lâmpadas, limites de três pedidos ou desejos sendo levados ao pé da letra. E sim, uma garrafa, um diabo preso dentro e dois fatos simples: se alguém morrer em posse da garrafa irá direto para o inferno, e, a garrafa precisa ser vendida por um valor menor do que o que ela foi comprada. Então, a cada momento ela está com o preço mais baixo gera desconfiança em quem compra. Estar em posse da garrafa é (dependendo do ponto de vista, vide o final) uma benção ou uma maldição, e o Stevenson é extremamente engenhoso no desenrolar da trama.

Em primeiro plano, temos a apresentação da Garrafa, e não há ilusão de que o artefato seja minimamente íntegro, desde a primeira vez que aparece fica claro que ele é maligno; torcendo pedidos a torto e a direito, apenas esperando para levar seu portador ao inferno. Em segundo temos o protagonista lutando para se livrar da Garrafa, o que abre espaço para nos aprofundarmos na relação entre ele e sua esposa e faz correr a trama. Por fim, o desfecho: surpreedentemente mais simples que algumas viradas anteriores na história, e levemente anticlimático.

(Talvez na época fosse raro, mas hoje em dia é fácil aparecer um maluco que não liga para consequências, tornando a preocupação do protagonista — crucial pro impacto final — um pouco exagerada.)

No geral, é um bom conto; fantasioso e sobrenatural, mas com o pé no chão para falar sobre desejos, amor e frustração. E além disso valeu a pena por ter adicionado mais uma história com esse tema na minha lista de lidos, ao lado de outras ilustres do Tchekov e do Kipling.

Pretendo ler mais contos do autor —frequentemente exaltado por autores dos mais diversos gêneros — antes de partir para seu magnum ops: o Médico e o Monstro. ( )
  RolandoSMedeiros | Aug 1, 2023 |
My kind of Halloween tale. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
One of my favorite short stories.

2013 - Read in Thrillers and More Thrillers anthology
2018 - listened to this version: 9781449872410 The narrator (Alexander Spencer) does a great job.

A novelette. I thought it was very good, suspenseful, but it did end abruptly. It concluded properly enough but abruptly. Wiki says this: "and the reader is encouraged to believe that they lived happily ever after" LOL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bottle_Imp

If anyone comes by this review and they know an adaption or a modern version, please tell me. looks like the wiki link has some adaption info but all pretty old adaptions, not quite what I'm hoping for. There are some children's books around but I am not interested in children's books.

I bought a card game based on the story. It even comes with a copy of the story. Now I just have to convince people to play with me. ( )
  Corinne2020 | Aug 20, 2021 |
A tale on the classic theme of ‘The Problems With Wishes.’ A man comes across the remarkable opportunity to buy a bottle containing an imp – who, genie-like, will fulfill all the wishes of his owner. The catch? If the owner dies in possession of the bottle, he or she will be damned for all eternity. The bottle cannot be given away, only sold – and it may only be sold for a lesser price than it was bought for.
It’s a great set-up, and Stevenson does it full justice.

It’s also worth mentioning that the main characters are native Hawaiian – the setting was based on Stevenson’s 1889 travels in the then-independent Hawaii. There is no ‘exotification’ of the characters’ background at all – interestingly, the story was first published in the Samoan language, according to Stevenson, ‘for a Polynesian audience.’
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
One of my favorite stories, just the thing to read for Halloween, not that it is particularly scary, but it does have a dark atmosphere and a cool supernatural conceit involving wishes and an imp. Like The Monkey’s Paw which I just reviewed earlier today, the story is underpinned by the theme of “be careful what you wish for”. Having said that the way wishes work in The Bottle Imp is much more complex and interesting than The Monkey's Paw.

Basically whoever possess the bottled imp can make an unlimited number of wishes, but they must sell the bottle for less than the purchase price before they die, otherwise they will burn in hell forever after their death. That doesn't sound like much of a challenge, selling things at a loss is easy, it’s making a profit that is always a struggle. However, Robert Louis Stevenson cleverly explores the practicality of reselling an item that reduces in value until it reaches the ultimate price level of zilch.

If you have all your wishes you want, but you bought the bottle for a single penny what would you do? The protagonist Keawe thought he had it made when he was able to sell the bottle after being granted a mansion and a servant by the imp. Unfortunately after selling the bottle he is afflicted with leprosy just when he is preparing to marry the beautiful Kokua, the love of his life. His only hope for a cure is to buy the bottle back from whoever has it now. Tracking down the bottle is not particularly challenging, and buying it is all too easy. The problem is that the selling rice is now extremely low, fortunately, his wife Kokua has the brilliant idea of going overseas to a country where the currency has a lower minimum denomination than in the US. So off they go to Tahiti a “centime” is worth less than half of a penny. You will have to read it to find how it all turns out.

Though not as legendary as Stevenson’s classic [b: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde|51496|The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde|Robert Louis Stevenson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1318116526s/51496.jpg|3164921], The Bottle Imp is a very entertaining and thought-provoking story, the morality of selling such a bottle is, after all, questionable. It is whimsically narrated in the style of a folk tale, and the conclusion is nice and satisfying.

( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stevenson, Robert LouisAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jorgensen, IbCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jorgenson, OskarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massari, AlidaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was a man of the Island of Hawaii, whom I shall call Keawe; for the truth is, he still lives, and his name must be kept secret; but the place of his birth was not far from Honaunau, where the bones of Keawe the Great lie hidden in a cave.
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First Edition in: Island Nights' Entertainments (1893)
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Keawe buys a magic bottle which brings him all that he desires but which he must sell before he dies in order to avoid spending eternity in hell.

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