BRITISH FUTURE FICTION: THE BEGINNINGS; NEW WORLDS; THE MARVELS OF MECHANISM; WOMEN'S RIGHTS: YEA AND NAY; WOMEN TRIUMPHANT; THE NEXT GREAT WAR; DISASTERS-TO-COME; and THE END OF THE WORLD. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001. Octavo, eight volumes, cloth. First edition. Facsimile reproduction of texts from original publications, 1763-1914 with preface, introduction, story notes, bibliography, epilogue, and index by Clarke. A massive anthology of reformist and utopian fiction published in England prior to the First World War with settings in the future, typically as a way to extrapolate perceived trends or predict countertrends or anomalous events. The editor skipped texts easily found elsewhere (such as Mary Shelley's THE LAST MAN and William Morris's NEWS FROM NOWHERE) and instead assembled twenty-one important but hard-to-find pieces of fiction, mostly novels, ranging widely in philosophical perspective. The volumes are organized thematically around such controversial topics (both of their time and ours) as the place of woman in society, likely dangers to national security, the promise and perils of technology, and nature and religion. Is a New Golden Age around the corner or utter catastrophe? This series gives a representative sampling of the past's answers to that and similar questions, informing the reader today more accurately about the milieu of the period of composition than of the predicted period. The earliest text here dates from 1763, but everything else comes from that extraordinarily fertile period at the turn of the next century, from the 1870s up until the First World War. A major project of literary scholarship, further illuminated by essays in each volume. Small nick and crease to boards at upper outer rear hinge of volume one (a manufacturing flaw), mild vertical spine crease to volumes two and four (both thick volumes, each with around 700 pages of text), else a fine set without dust jackets as issued. Scarce in the marketplace. (#156944).
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