From the author of Frankenstein comes this apocalyptic tale of a world devastated by plague. Mary Shelley's 1826 roman à clef takes place in the late twenty-first century, as England's last king abdicates and a charmed circle of idealistic political reformers plunges into a maelstrom of war, pestilence, and anarchy.
Shelley wrote this gripping novel after the untimely deaths of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their comrade, Lord Byron. She modeled a pair of characters on the charismatic poets and based the narrator—the sole survivor of a pandemic—on her own persona. This parable of humanity's destruction by plague is widely regarded as a repudiation of Romanticism and its failure to solve the world's problems through art and philosophy. It reflects the ways utopian ideals, unchecked by moral and ethical standards, can shatter society.
Misunderstood by nineteenth-century readers, Shelley's visionary novel disappeared for over a century, only to reemerge to critical acclaim as a precursor of science fiction and a forerunner of modern apocalyptic tales. Novelist Muriel Spark hailed it as the harbinger of "an entirely new genre, compounded of the domestic romance, the Gothic extravaganza, and the sociological novel," and pronounced it Shelley's "most interesting, if not her consummate work."
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This apocalyptic tale by the author of Frankenstein envisions a future world devastated by plague. Misunderstood by contemporary readers, Mary Shelley's 1826 precursor to the science fiction novel has reemerged to critical acclaim. Its quasibiographical portraits of the author's Romantic-era cohorts, including Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, are of particular interest.From the Back Cover:
Mary Shelley's third published novel, The Last Man, is a disillusioned vision of the end of civilization, set in the twenty-first century. The book offers a sweeping account of war, plague, love, and desolation. It is the sort of apocalyptic vision that was widespread at the time, though Shelley's treatment of the theme goes beyond the conventional; it is extraordinarily interesting and deeply moving. If The Last Man is in some sense a "conventional" text of the period, it is also intensely personal in its origin; Shelley refers in her journal to the last man as her alter ego, “the last relic of a beloved race, my companions extinct before me.” The novel thus develops out of and contributes to a network of story and idea in which fantasy, allusion, convention, and autobiography are densely interwoven. This new version of the first edition (1826) sets out to provide not only a thoroughly annotated text, but also contextual materials to help the reader acquire knowledge of the intellectual and literary milieu out of which the novel emerged. Appendices include material on "the last man" as early nineteenth-century hero, texts from the debate initiated by Malthus in 1798 about the adequacy of food supply to sustain human population, various accounts of outbreaks of plague, and Shelley's poems representing her feelings after the death of her husband. The Last Man reverberates particularly strongly for the late twentieth-century reader, not only because of its millennial overtones but also because of its parallels between the plague that Shelley depicts and the AIDS epidemic of our own time. Overall, it is a novel that rivals Frankenstein in the rich profusion of ideas it gives rise to in the reader.
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Book Description Dover Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0486471225
Book Description Dover Pubns, Mineola, New York, U.S.A., 2010. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. Re-issue. 6x9.25. An apocalyptic tale ofa world devastated by plague in the 21st Century. England's last king abdicates and a circle of idealistic political reformes plunge the world into war, pestilence and chaos. Written in 1826, this is a current re-issue of a visionary novel. Bookseller Inventory # 14908
Book Description Dover Publications, 2010. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: This apocalyptic tale by the author of Frankenstein envisions a future world devastated by plague. Misunderstood by contemporary readers, Mary Shelley's 1826 precursor to the science fiction novel has reemerged to critical acclaim. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0486471225
Book Description Dover Publications, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0486471225
Book Description Dover Publications. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0486471225 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0486471225
Book Description Dover Publications, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0486471225
Book Description Dover Pubns, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. reprint edition. 342 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0486471225
Book Description Dover Publications, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110486471225