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Poetical Drifts of Thought; or, Problems of Progress
Detroit: Lyman E. Stowe, 1884. First Edition. Hardcover. A singularly eccentric work of American 19th-century imaginative writing, combining aspects of utopian literature, futurology, freethought, Swedenborgianism, Darwinism, and social engineering. Stowe's primary medium is verse, but the writing is in places sufficiently discursive that scansion seems but an afterthought. Among Stowe's many visionary conceptions are air travel; television ("Seeing Distant Friends by Electricity's Aid"); control of global weather patterns; and the replacement of solid foods with "nutritive gasses." Our choice to classify the work as essentially a work of utopian literature is based on the extended prose-and-verse entry "Sketches of the City of the Straits," which presents a decidedly utopian view of Detroit in the year 2100, including a glass dome "20 miles square" covering the entire city. The entire volume is profusely illustrated with a combination of stock woodcuts and the author's own rustic sketches, including a three-panel folding panorama of the Detroit waterfront viewed from Windsor, Ontario. Not in Sargent or Negley, despite obvious utopian elements. OCLC notes 20 holdings (about half in Michigan), but quite scarce in commerce. Tall octavo (24cm). Publisher's green beveled, pictorial cloth boards, blocked in gilt and blind on spine and covers; 319pp; illus. A bright, Fine copy, exceptionally well-preserved.
      [Bookseller: Lorne Bair Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-01-08           Check availability:      Biblio    

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