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The Mummy: A Tale of The Twenty-Second Century
Henry Colburn, London 1828 - 3 vols. 8vo. Bound in recent half tan calf over marbled boards, red and green title labels. Internally clean, minor spotting and foxing to title pages and with the most visible defect being sign of tape residue to the gutter of the title page in volume I. Very slight sorming to upper right hand corner of the first two pages of Vol II. Edges untrimmed, nice wide margins, soft, high quality paper that has stood up to the test of time admirably, a thoroughly handseom and attractive set of a very scarce and very important book. Jane Loudon produced The Mummy! Or A Tale of The Twenty-Second Century (published by the piratical Henry Colburn, who published Polidori’s Vampyre under Byron’s name in 1819). Both of Loudon’s parents were dead by 1824, when she was 17, and she was forced to find some way to "do something for [her] support":"I had written a strange, wild novel, called the Mummy, in which I had laid the scene in the twenty-second century, and attempted to predict the state of improvement to which this country might possibly arrive."Already well-traveled and with several languages under her belt, Jane Loudon was clearly not without either smarts or skills. Her husband-to-be sought her out after writing a favorable review of the novel, believing her, naturally, to be a man. Once the shock of her femininity had worn off, they were married a year later.Loudon’s resurrected Cheops is a sage and helpful corpse, granted life maintained by a higher power rather than by human error and hubris. Loudon’s twenty-second century is an absolutely blinding bit of fictional prophecy, on par with William Gibson’s Neuromancer for edgy prescience. The habit of the time was to view the future as the early nineteenth century, but with bigger buildings and with the French in charge, but Loudon’s 2126 AD goes for women striding about independently in trousers, robot doctors and solicitors, and something that’s not too far from an early concept of the internet. Her strange, wild story, in which corpsified Cheops helps rebuild a corrupt society, addresses much of the underlying horror of Shelley’s Frankenstein with a more redemptive take on the reanimation of dead flesh. It was also a definite influence on Bram Stoker’s better-remembered "Jewel of The Seven Stars," published in the 1890s, and possibly even on Poe’s "Ligeia" in 1838, in which a man painstakingly wraps his dead wife in bandages prior to her burial."One of the children of FRANKENSTEIN, interesting in its curious medley of themes from current events, literature, and social theory. It contains snippets of almost every popular fictional form of its period and the immediate past, and also anticipates future developments. It offers utopian thought, Gothicism, anti-intellectualism, Egyptological discoveries, fantastic inventions, memories of Napoleon, Byronism, a dynastic theory of history, and much else . The SF element is strong, with many inventions and many projections of history; the supernatural element enters in the background, in the ultimate anti-intellectual theme, when the mummy reveals that it was not really revived by electricity, but by God as a warning against scientific prying." - Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction "novel focuses primarily on the Byzantine political intrigues in an England under a female monarchial succession. In this advanced world of the future, where weather control is possible and people travel in high-speed balloons, a man named Edric journeys to Egypt -- now totally industrialized -- with a Frankensteinian plan for reanimating the mummy of Cheops. The attempt appears successful, but afterwards Edric passes out and the mummy escapes, taking Edric's balloon to England and entering into the plotting and counter-plotting there. Thereafter, the romance reads more like something out of Sir Walter Scott. In the final scene [in] the Cheops' tomb, the mummy, who has for the most part been presented as a diabolic figure, reveals to Edric that supernatural [Attributes: Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities]
Last Found On: 2016-11-30           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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