THE UPAS: A VISION OF THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. London: Charles Watts, 1877. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1] 2-438, original bevel-edged decorated burgundy cloth, front and spine panels stamped in black and gold, rear panel stamped in blind, slate coated endpapers. First edition. "Spirit of the future takes narrator on tour of all history, closing with future triumph of free thought." - Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 8. "In his quest for a perfect society, the author is notable for the virulence of his hostility to religion, Christianity in particular, but also to anything non-rational such as spiritualism or freemasonry. The title refers to a Javanese tree whose bark yields a deadly poison, with the word used here allegorically for any kind of priestcraft but also conflated with the Serpent of Eden and the Cross of Calvary as well as the Tree from which they both came: the Upas here stands for the distillation of all these and of everything the author finds evil in society -- even though the apocalyptic tone of the writing somewhat undercuts his rejection of the non-rational. 'For the Serpent and his Spirits are nourished with human blood, without which they languish, and become as nought.' His hero is Humanity, his enemy (in addition to those mentioned above), 'the Multitude.'" - Robert Eldridge. The British Library attributes this work to Dublin born Richard H. Dyas (1839-1891). Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 11. Suvin, Victorian Science Fiction in the UK, p. 107. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992). Signatures of early owner dated 16 January 1877 on recto of front free endpaper and top left corner of title page. A couple of mild scuffs to cloth, a solid, very good copy. A superior copy of this book. COPAC reports only one copy (BL). OCLC adds three more (and there is now a copy at Duke). (#148883).

Price: $350.00

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