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Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Caresco, Doctor. Doctor Caresco was created by the French author André Couvreur (Professor Tornada) and appeared in Le Mal Nécessaire (1899) and Caresco Surhomme (1904).
Doctor Armand Caresco is an Evil Surgeon Mad Scientist, and was one of the first such in popular literature, following only Doctor Quartz and H.G. Wells' Doctor Moreau. An Austrian Jew, Caresco moved to France and changed both his citizenship and his religion so as to persuade the French that he was a trustworthy surgeon. Le Mal Nécessaire shows what a mistake the French made in believing Caresco. (The antisemitic subtext of an evil Jewish doctor who pretends to be French to allay suspicions--a recurring stereotype in late 19th century Europe– is more pronounced in Le Mal Nécessaire than in Caresco Surhomme). Although Caresco becomes celebrated, with many rich patrons, his seemingly noble actions are only camouflage to disguise his interest in the vivisection of humans, to the ends of enhancing his own medical knowledge and reputation.
In Caresco Surhomme Caresco has taken control of the Pacific island of Eucrasia. Caresco applies his surgical methods to the inhabitants of the island, altering them to better do their jobs. The captain of the plane which brings outsiders to Eucrasia is a limbless trunk with telescopic vision. Even the island itself is in the shape of a human body. The natives of Eucrasia are addicted to various sensual pleasures and generally submit to Caresco’s rule, for fear that he will castrate them or worse. On Eucrasia Caresco makes use of “omnium,” a mysterious and unexplained power source, to create SCIENCE!: a machine capable of stripping the years from human bodies and reversing the aging process, a fast underground train system, food pills, omnium-powered diving suits, and so on. But Caresco is insane as well as brilliant, and is given to such things as collecting the spleens of all those he operates on. Eventually Caresco dies and Eucrasia is destroyed in a volcanic explosion.
* I'm including Doctor Caresco and his two novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of its historical importance. As mentioned, Doctor Caresco is one of the first Evil Surgeons in popular literature, and one of the first to combine being an Evil Surgeon with being a Mad Scientist. Caresco was not influential in English-speaking countries, but he was in Europe. Secondly, Le Mal Necessaire and Caresco Surhomme, though containing an antisemitic subtext, were chock full of imagination--Caresco Surhomme especially. Andre Couvreur memorably took the concept of Caresco ruling an entire island to its logical extremes, creating an uncomfortable work of semi-crude dystopian brilliance.
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