[Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft.].
THE LAST MAN. By the Author of Frankenstein.
London: Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street, 1826. 12mo, three volumes: pp. [i-iii] iv-xi [xii]  2-358; [i-ii]  2-328; [i-ii]  2-352 [note: volume one lacks leaf Q(12), a leaf of publisher's ads], mid-nineteenth century three-quarter brown morocco and marbled boards, spine panels lettered and tooled in gold with borders tooled in blind, small yellow binder's tickets of James H. Jackson Stationer, Perth, Australia affixed to rear paste-downs. First edition. "The story of a ravaging plague that gradually wipes humanity from existence; the first of the 'catastrophe' novels written in English, and hence the forerunner of an important modern theme in science fiction." - Survey of Science Fiction Literature III, pp. 1151-5. For an excellent summary of the economic, political, scientific, and literary influences that gave rise to the "last man" theme see Clarke, The Pattern of Expectation 1644-2001, pp. 35-61. Alkon, Origins of Futuristic Fiction, pp. 188-90. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 1-48; (1981) 1-151; (1987) 1-85; (1995) 1-85; and (2004) II-998. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 2020. Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 3. Lewis, Utopian Literature, p. 177. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 194. Negley, Utopian Literature: A Bibliography 1025. Bleiler (1978), p. 178. Reginald 13003. Block, p. 213. Wolff 6281. Early owner's name carefully erased from upper edges of all three title pages, horizontal tear along lower margin of leaf G4 of volume two, a few very faint stains to several leaves of signatures E and F in volume three, tiny paper defect in gutter margin of leaf I1 of volume three; touch of rubbing to extremities of spine panels and corner tips, hinges tight; some foxing to endpapers and binder's flyleaves, but all text blocks are remarkably clean. A bright set in an attractive binding. A handsome copy of a scarce book. (#77248).