THE REIGN OF GEORGE VI. London: Printed for W. Nicoll, at the Paper-Mill, in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1763. 12mo, pp. [i-v] vi-xvi [xvii] xviii-xxi [xxii-xxiv] [i] ii-ix [x] 11-192, half title leaf [A1] and blank leaf [A12] are present, modern calf-backed boards. First edition. "Although the modern style in futuristic fiction begins with the European success of L'AN 2440 in the 1770s, there were prophets before Sébastien Mercier. The hesitant, clumsy handling of their anticipations demonstrates the problem of using the device of imaginative projection before the idea of the future had become a familiar element in European thinking. These preliminary exercises in the genre have their analogue in the state of the drama before the building of the theatres in London; for all these early stories suffered for want of the solid support and direction that a well-established literary convention can give ... [THE REIGN OF GEORGE VI] which marks the end of the Paleolithic period in futuristic fiction, is a delightful but neglected story. It is filled with the most attractive and unwitting anachronisms, a true literary fossil from the last evolutionary epoch before the appearance of the developed form. And yet this imagined history of a future British monarch shows, already well established in the embryonic form, the essential structure of the political prophecy; for ideal states of the future, like the predictions of the next great war and descriptions of coming catastrophes, are of their nature exemplary. The Tory heaven-to-be, of the unknown author demonstrates the mechanics of the device. Here, as in Sébastien Mercier's L'AN 2440 or in Edward Bellamy's LOOKING BACKWARD, the historical account presents the united and contented society that has emerged from the obscurities of the future, so the propaganda suggests, because the truths of political philosophy (as the author understands them) or the forces of history (as the author defines them) have established a new order in the world." - Clarke, The Pattern of Expectation 1644-2001, pp. 16-17. "The earliest account of a future war appeared in THE REIGN OF GEORGE VI, 1900-1925, an anonymous story of 1763. That utopian fantasy was one of the earliest experiments in futuristic fiction and the first to project an ideal state into the centuries-to-come. The unknown author had turned to the vacant area of the future in order to reveal a perfect Patriot King toiling away for the god of his country. The story was, in fact, a demonstration of the political theories set out in THE IDEA OF A PATRIOT KING which Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, wrote for the instruction of the Price of Wales and published later, in 1749. The author follows the Bolingbroke thesis in most of the details. The hero of his story is the energetic, wise, heroic King George VI, a constitutional monarch who restores the greatness of his country and conquers all before him." - Clarke, Voices Prophesying War (1992), p. 5. Alkon, Origins of Futuristic Fiction, pp. 112-14. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 1-2; (1981) 1-4; (1987) 1-2; and (1995) 1-2. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1853. Clarke, The Pattern of Expectation 1644-2001, pp. 16-23. Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 1. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War (1992), pp. 5-7. Lewis, Utopian Literature, p. 157. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 11. Negley, Utopian Literature: A Bibliography 736 and 737 (erroneously attributing the work to Samuel Madden). Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, p. 26. Stableford, New Atlantis, I, p. 204. Bleiler (1978), p. 6. Reginald 12133. Tiny circular library stamp of the "Newport Public Libraries" on verso of title leaf, upper margin of recto of leaf B6, and lower margin of verso of last leaf. Recto of half title leaf dusty, occasional light damp stains to a few leaves early and late, but nevertheless a remarkably crisp, very good copy. Rare. (#153238).
No statement of printing.