Topic: Novels/19th century
A Dog of Flanders is an 1872 novel by English author Marie Louise de la Ramée published with her pseudonym "Ouida". It is about a Flemish boy named Nello and his dog, Patrasche and is set in Antwerp.
In Japan, Korea and the Philippines, the novel has been an extremely popular children's classic for decades and has been adapted into several Japanese films and anime. Since the 1980s, the Belgian board of tourism caught on to the phenomenon and built two monuments honoring the story to please East-Asian tourists. There is a small statue of Nello and Patrasche at the Kapelstraat in the Antwerp suburb of Hoboken, and a commemorative plaque in front of the Antwerp Cathedral donated by Toyota, that was later replaced by a marble statue of the two characters covered by a cobblestone blanket, created by the artist Batist Vermeulen.
- "A Dog of Flanders" | 2020-02-06 | 71 Upvotes 54 Comments
The Last Man is an apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, first published in 1826. The narrative concerns Europe in the late 21st century, ravaged by a mysterious plague pandemic that rapidly sweeps across the entire globe, ultimately resulting in the near-extinction of humanity. It also includes discussion of the British state as a republic, for which Shelley sat in meetings of the House of Commons to gain insight to the governmental system of the Romantic era. The novel includes many fictive allusions to her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, who drowned in a shipwreck four years before the book's publication, as well as their close friend Lord Byron, who had died two years previously.
The Last Man is one of the first pieces of dystopian fiction published. It was critically savaged and remained largely obscure at the time of its publication. It was not until the 1960s that the novel resurfaced for the public.
- "The Last Man" | 2023-02-04 | 64 Upvotes 22 Comments
The Begum's Fortune (French: Les Cinq cents millions de la Bégum, literally "the 500 millions of the begum"), also published as The Begum's Millions, is an 1879 novel by Jules Verne, with some utopian elements and other elements that seem clearly dystopian. It is noteworthy as the first published book in which Verne was cautionary, and somewhat pessimistic about the development of science and technology.
Long after The Begum's Fortune was published, it came out that its story is based on a manuscript by Paschal Grousset, a Corsican revolutionary who had participated in the Paris Commune and was at the time living in exile in the United States and London. It was bought by Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the publisher of most of Verne's books. The attribution of plot elements between Grousset's original text and Verne's work on it has not been completely defined. Later, Verne worked similarly on two more books by Grousset and published them under his name, before the revolutionary finally got a pardon and was able to return to France and resume publication in his own name.
The book first appeared in a hasty and poorly done English translation soon after its publication in French—one of the bad translations considered to have damaged Verne's reputation in the English-speaking world. W. H. G. Kingston was near death and deeply in debt at the time. His wife, Mrs. A. K. Kingston, who did the translation for him, was certainly otherwise preoccupied than with the accuracy of the text and may have had to rely on outside help. In 2005 a new translation from the French was made by Stanford Luce and published by Wesleyan University.
I. O. Evans, in his introduction to his "Fitzroy Edition" of The Begum's Fortune, suggested a connection between the creation of artificial satellites in this novel and the publication of The Brick Moon by Edward Everett Hale in 1869.
- "The Begum's Fortune" | 2021-08-25 | 36 Upvotes 11 Comments
Erewhon: or, Over the Range () is a novel by English writer Samuel Butler, first published anonymously in 1872, set in a fictional country discovered and explored by the protagonist. The book is a satire on Victorian society.
The first few chapters of the novel dealing with the discovery of Erewhon are in fact based on Butler's own experiences in New Zealand, where, as a young man, he worked as a sheep farmer on Mesopotamia Station for about four years (1860–64), and explored parts of the interior of the South Island and wrote about in his A First Year in Canterbury Settlement (1863).
The novel is one of the first to explore ideas of artificial intelligence, as influenced by Darwin's recently published On the Origin of Species (1859) and the machines developed out of the Industrial Revolution (late 18th to early 19th centuries). Specifically, it concerns itself, in the three-chapter "Book of the Machines", with the potentially dangerous ideas of machine consciousness and self-replicating machines.