THE LAND OF DARKNESS ALONG WITH SOME FURTHER CHAPTERS IN THE EXPERIENCES OF THE LITTLE PILGRIM. London and New York: Macmillan and Co., 1888. Octavo, pp. [1-8]  2-238 [239-240: blank] [note: last leaf is a blank], original gray cloth, front and rear panels ruled in blind, spine panel stamped in gold, top and fore edges untrimmed, bottom edge trimmed. First edition. Collects "The Little Pilgrim in the Seen and Unseen" and "On the Dark Mountains," two sentimental religious fantasies of the "Little Pilgrim" and her after-death experiences, and her much more interesting "The Land of Darkness," which presents a mean-spirited metropolitan Hell, surprisingly modern in its depersonalized brutality. A machine dystopia first published in BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, January 1887, set in a nether world reminiscent of Dante's Hell. "The various places of the land of darkness are allegories of the main totalitarian aspects of a society, like that of the Victorian age, based on individualistic ethics. The huge vacant plain without tracks and the dust heaps and ruins, which constitutes the setting for them all, represents the fate of the past in a culture dominated by the gospel of the future. Not only one of the best ghost stories in English, "The Land of Darkness," as a powerful critique of bourgeois culture and society developing the germs of our postmodern present, may be considered as a proto-dystopia which which anticipates the worlds of Orwell, Zamyatin, Huxley and other SF writers. The traditional form of the autobiographical memoir is very deftly employed both to expose the limits of individualism (in the individual microcosm as well as in the social macrocosm) and to show the way to overcome them." - Beatrice Battagia, Fortunati and Trousson, eds., Dictionary of Literary Utopias, pp. 341-42. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, p. 141. Barron (ed), Fantasy and Horror (1999) 3-113. Barron (ed), Fantasy Literature 2-135. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1258. Bleiler (ed), Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror, pp. 264-5. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 169. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, p. 79. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 308-09. Wilson, Shadows in the Attic, p. 395. Bleiler (1978), p. 150. Reginald 10965. Ink stamp on each paste-down of Victorian London's Christ Church Hall, and 1915 inscription of a later private owner on the front free endpaper. Cloth lightly rubbed at spine ends and corner tips, spine panel a bit darkened, but gold stamping still bright, a very good copy. An attractive, better than average copy of an important and somewhat scarce book. (#156541).
No statement of printing.