MEMOIRS OF THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED ... Translated from the French, by W. Hooper, M.A. Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas Dobson, 1795. 12mo, pp. [i-v] vi-vii [viii-ix] x-xi [xii]  2-360, eighteenth-century full calf, red leather title piece. First U.S. edition. A translation of L'AN DEUX MILLE QUATRE CENT QUARANTE, first published in Amsterdam in 1771. "This first utopia set in future time was one of the eighteenth century's most successful books. It was immediately banned in France, put on the Inquisition's list of forbidden books in 1773, and condemned in Madrid in 1778 as a blasphemous work whose distributors, if discovered, would be fined five hundred ducats and sentenced to six years in prison. The Year 2440 had eleven editions in French between 1771 and 1799, as well as two English translations and translations into Dutch, Italian, and German. Investigation of its printing history leads Everett Wilkie to conclude that 'there were 18,000 copies in print in three languages by the end of 1772 and 30,000 copies by the end of 1782, at which point it had spread thoroughly over Europe ... 63,000 copies had been printed by Mercier's death' in 1814. The book was less successful across the Atlantic, but a 1795 Philadelphia edition was 'nevertheless, the first utopian novel published in North America.' George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned copies of The Year 2440." - Alkon, Origins of Futuristic Fiction, p. 117. "... although the earliest specimens of futuristic fiction were in English, the glory of discovering the true potentialities of the genre belongs to the French -- to Sébastien Mercier who established the first satisfactory model of the new fiction ... The utopian prophecy of L'AN 2440, the first influential story of the future in world literature, became one of the most widely read books in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The translations into Dutch and German, the English and American editions, and the many imitations show how Mercier beguiled his readers in two continents with the vision of a dream come true." - Clarke, The Pattern of Expectation 1644-2001, p. 23. See Alkon, Origins of Futuristic Fiction, esp. pp. 117-29. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 1-29; (1981) 1-123; (1987) 1-63; (1995) 1-63; and (2004) II-757. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1476. Claeys (ed), Utopian Literature, pp. 10; 74; 138, Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 2. Fortunati and Trousson (eds), Dictionary of Literary Utopias, pp. 43-5. Howgego, Encyclopedia of Exploration: Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel M35. Lewis, Utopian Literature, pp. 120-22. Negley, Utopian Literature: A Bibliography 772. Versins, Encyclopédie de l'Utopie, des Voyages Extraordinaires et de la Science Fiction, p. 582. Bleiler (1978), p. 138. Reginald 10017. Some darkening to edges of text block and some scattered foxing to margins, but text block generally clean overall, a very good copy in a nicely restored early American binding. (#109543).
No statement of printing.