The Last Man


I'm currently reading The Last Man by Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville. Considered an "ur-text", the back of the book (which was originally published in 1805, in French, by the Frenchies) informs me that this book was "the first end -of-the-world story in future fiction" and is "essential reading for anyone interested in the roots of science fiction". I'm only forty pages in, and it's slow going due to the old-school "let's have our characters only speak in long paragraph form" approach to dialogue. Overall, though, it's pretty interesting. Adam, from Adam and Eve fame, has been chained to the mouth of hell for all eternity, doomed to watch the bad humans march before him and suffer, and is released only to help bring on the end of the world, eons later (after the moon, among other minor trifles like England, has been destroyed). Poor Adam, can't the father of humanity catch a break?

The cover of my edition of The Last Man has a woodcut from the artist Gustave Dore. His work is as interesting as the book itself. Here are a few more prints:

Crusaders On the Nile
Scene from The Inferno
Lucifer Paradise Lost

3 comments:

Clurg said...

I guess you, Kelly, and I have a common and crazy interest in the whole utopia/last-man-on-earth thing.

Dore is amazing. Dore, Durer, and Bosch probably rotted my eight-year-old "I likes ta draw" brain.

I still love each of those artists.

Have you read I Am Legend and seen Last Man on Earth, the best film version of the book with Vincent Price?

Happy Apocalypsin'!

Blogagaard said...

I've read I AM LEGEND, but I haven't seen that version of LAST MAN. I'll check it out; thanks, Clurg!

Blogagaard said...

I finished the book. It was sort of stupid.

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