Science Fiction Studies

#10 = Volume 3, Part 3 = November 1976

The SF Reprint Series: Scholarship and Commercialism

Sometime in the late 1960s publishers began to toy with the idea of doing facsimile reprints of science fiction.1 Apparently no one at that time was quite certain that enough such books could be sold to make a profit. That has changed. We now have extensive reprint series from Hyperion, Gregg, Arno, and Garland, with the first two having each issued a second series. So it is time to take stock of the existing series and to suggest some general criteria by which future reprints could be evaluated.

Facsimile reprints are produced in small editions at rather high prices. Their primary markets, especially in hardcover, are school libraries and the teachers who use them, plus affluent individual scholars or public libraries. The SF series have found a somewhat wider market than most other facsimile reprints, as witness Hyperion's advertising campaign in the SF magazines and Garland's pleased surprise at the number of fans who have bought their reprints.2 But even so it seems appropriate to consider the degree to which these reprints meet the needs of people making a serious study of literature. So what do we need in new editions of books that have been generally unavailable and that will probably not be republished in the near future?

First of all, we must have a text that represents the author's best intention. Since facsimile reprints are made from photographs of one particular edition of a work, the edition to be reproduced must be chosen with care, as was understood by David Hartwell, co-editor of the Gregg Press series:

In deciding on an edition or text to use, we simply investigated every available text to compare desirability--in the case of books with only one edition...available, we had no problem and no choice. But often we had both a U.S. and a U.K. edition to choose from and we compared them for mistakes, clarity, attractiveness. If one edition had more material in addition to the text (introduction, press quotes, or some such) we tried to use it or incorporate the additional material. In the case of living authors, the introducers contacted the authors and asked them about texts and editions. The introducers were in fact a vital and active part in the whole planning process. [Letter, Jan 25, 1976]

Hartwell understands that the printed form closest to the manuscript is usually the best choice since errors tend to slip in with each resetting of a text, but also that it is important to crosscheck thoroughly since a later edition may actually be closer to the author's intention.

Besides an authoritative text, a facsimile reprint may include material designed to help us understand the text. First of all, this should include information coming out of the selection process: a description of the text's condition and publishing history. Also of importance would be information on the writer's life and career as it illuminates the writing the book in question. If the reader is given a decent text to read for himself, introductory material beyond factual information is not absolutely necessary, but it can at least provoke serious thinking.

When we look into the origins of the present four series of reprints, we discover that the selection of copy-texts and the preparation of additional materials were influenced by several factors, chiefly time limits and editorial attitudes. On the first, Sam Moskowitz describes how the reprint publishers shifted into high gear:

Even while we [Hyperion] were preparing the books there were half-a-dozen publishers who were toying with such a series, but there always had been, since at least 1972, when Arno asked me to select 30 for them and I turned them down because the money involved and the distribution proposed did not warrant damaging the collector's value of rare old books. The truth of the matter is that while many publishers talked about such a series, they were afraid to gamble. Therefore, we were first by default. When the instantaneous success of the [Hyperion] series was established, the other publishers almost immediately announced extensive reprint programs. [Letter, Feb 21, 1976]

However long various people had debated doing a series of SF reprints, the fact is that all four of the current series were hurried through publication as publishers scented a buying public and rushed to get their books out first.

One special reason for the rush is that many of these books are in the public domain, not protected by copyright. Obviously a publisher does not want to publish a reprint that will reach the market at the same time or somewhat later than some other edition of the same book. Yet there is no legal way for for him to prevent this from happening except by informal consultation, an uncertain process, subject to abuse or misunderstanding, as is evident from the duplications that exist in the present series. Upon hearing that Arno planned a science-fiction series, Gregg Press consulted with them and arrived at what they thought was a fair compromise: of the three books that the two lists had in common, Gregg agreed to drop two if Arno would drop one. In fact, the title that Arno was to drop, appeared in their final list, and so was dropped by Gregg at the last moment.3 Under such circumstances the simplest thing is to get your book in print and selling before your competitor can get his ready.

Although the people at Gregg Press seem to have understood the importance of choosing a good text, they erred in two cases. First, their edition of To the End of Time, a Stapledon omnibus, contains a sadly cut version of Last and First Men.4 Second, consider the use of the 1950 Prime Press edition of Mary Griffith's 1836 novel, Three Hundred Years Hence. In his preface Hartwell speaks of this edition as an example of a fan publisher's dedication; unfortunately, it is also an example of how readily errors slip into reset reprints. I have not thoroughly collated the two editions--a facsimile of the original appears in a 1790 Arno anthology, American Utopias: Selected Short Fiction--but even in skimming some errors pop up. The original has "no instance on the records" (p 40) where the reprint has "no insistence on the records" (p 62), and "a frisk and petticoat" (p 32) instead of the reprint's "a frish and petticoat" (p 52). Arno and Hyperion, though they made a few questionable selections, seem generally to have used the right texts; the most obvious exceptions are Arno's use of a 1926 reset edition of John Daniel (1751) and Hyperion's of a 1928 reset edition of Peter Wilkins (also 1751).

The Garland series is by far the weakest in its selection of copy-texts. Lester del Rey's explanation in the Garland brochure of how books were chosen for the Garland list--"Some titles are still buried in the pages of yellowing magazines and have never been printed in book form. Many more have been printed only in soft-cover editions; and even more have had tiny fan-published hardcover printings, more than twenty years ago, and are no longer available."--is more than slightly misleading. For only one book on the list is republished from the yellowing pages of a magazine, and in almost every case the fan-published novels are reproduced from cheap, reset reprints, rather than the original edition.

The degree of accuracy in a printed text depends on the quality of the typesetting and proofreading. Newsstand paperbacks are published too fast and too sloppily to be reliable. In Garland's reprint of Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space, we meet a new character, Hal Smith, on page 142. Hal Smith? Hal Samdu, of course, as scanned by a hurried typesetter. The error doesn't appear in the 1947 Fantasy Press text--a fan-published edition such as Del Rey refers to above--but in the 1967 Pyramid edition reproduced in facsimile by Garland. I caught a number of other typos while casually reading the Garland edition. To tell whether there are other, less noticeable errors that might affect the book's meaning, one would have to make a careful collation of the two texts--but that would have been unnecessary if the Fantasy Press edition had been used as the copy text. When the first edition is a paperback, as in the case of Lafferty's Past Master, or when the author himself prefers a paperback edition (as in the case of Bester's The Stars My Destination, in the Gregg series), the use of the paperback is justified. But in the case of The Legion of Space, Williamson preferred the Fantasy Press edition, and even sent his copy to Garland, along with a copy of the 1948 Fantasy Press edition of Darker Than You Think,5 which Garland also passed over for a paperback (Berkley 1969). Nor is this the only such case: for at least eleven other books Garland reproduced a paperback reprint rather than the hardback first edition. In general, paperback editions have fewer pages than the hardcover, and if Garland desired to shave costs, that would account for these choices, though in some cases a hardback edition is used even when a paperback is "available," which suggests that immediate availability may have been the determining factor in some cases, so that it was decided to use the copy at hand rather than search for a copy of the edition that would be preferable for reasons either of accuracy or economy.

Some Garland books raise special questions. Coblentz's In Caverns Below, serialized in Wonder Stories in 1935, is reprinted from a retitled edition, Hidden World, published in 1957 by Avalon, a company notorious for drastically cutting manuscripts to fit its page limits. I have not compared the two texts, and they may be identical (which is suggested by Garland's use of the magazine title in its brochure and on the cover of the book even though the Avalon title remains on the title page), but I wonder if Garland ever considered the quality of the Avalon text, or the possibility of reproducing the magazine text--as they did in their admirable edition of Otti Willi Gail's The Shot into Infinity, reproduced from the Fall 1929 Science Wonder Quarierly, the novel not having appeared in book form.

Another problem text is E.E. Smith's The Skylark of Space, serialized in 1928, published in hardcover by a fan publisher in 1948, and then in paperback with a drastically abridged text by Pyramid in 1958, and reproduced by Garland from a 1970 reprinting of the Pyramid edition. Skylark was an immensely popular magazine serial and one of the very first books to come from the fan publishers that Del Rey speaks of in the Garland brochure. However, Doc Smith's day appeared to be over in 1958, and Pyramid had no reasons to give the book more than minimum consideration. And I wonder how much that affected Smith's decision to abridge the story by about 30 percent, so that it fits neatly into the 160-page paperback format. Garland's brochure announces the book as by Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby, but the book as reprinted credits only Smith with the authorship (Mrs. Garby's contribution having been reduced to invisibility in Smith's revision). It is debatable whether the abridged text or the one that had pleased readers for 30 years should have been reprinted. I'm not sure, but again I wonder whether Garland even considered the matter, or simply grabbed the first available copy of the book.

One thing to remember before we turn to editorial apparatus: the facsimile reprint is more flexible than one might suppose. It is not simply a way to reproduce a book exactly as found. For one thing, it is possible to make corrections in the copy text, though it would involve some additional expense as well as textual study of a kind not evidenced by any of these editions. But it is also possible to combine material from several editions--always being aware of the condition of the material and making the reader aware of what is being done. Gregg and Arno took advantage of this possibility by publishing original collections of material taken in facsimile from several sources. The Arno anthology Ancestral Voices is somewhat less desirable than it should have been, since the last page of one story was somehow omitted; however, the Gregg Press edition of fiction by Jack London is excellent, drawing together stories from eight books (eight at least--one story doesn't have a source note) into a useful collection for the study of London as an SF writer. It is a little disconcerting, then, to find Sam Moskowitz explaining that for the second series of Hyperion reprints:

We definitely evaluate editions. Excepting if we do not find it possible to secure a copy of the edition we want, in books that had more than one edition, our intent is to include the most comprehensive or valuable. In the case of Hodgson's The Nightland, it must be the first which is complete in larger type. In Erie Cox's Out of the Silence, it must be the 1947 which includes an extra chapter omitted from all earlier editions. In A Plunge into Space, it is the second edition because it has an introduction by Jules Verne not in the first edition. The Ghost Pirates must be the first because it has an illustration by Sime not in the others. [Letter, Jan 16, 1976]

Actually, there is no reason why a facsimile of a valuable introduction or illustration or chapter from one edition could not be added to the text of the first edition. As long as the editor makes clear what he is doing with the text--as long as the reader can be sure that what was or was not part of the original text--there is no reason not to add anything the editor considers valuable or useful.

This brings us to new introductions, etc., added to the facsimiles. Such materials require extra time and effort to prepare, and only two of the four series include them: Hyperion and Gregg. Although, as said above, the text is the most important part of any facsimile edition, Arno's hitherto little-known books could have used some editorial apparatus. And though the books in the Garland series are much more familiar, Garland's brochure announced that the series would include a history of modern SF by Lester del Rey, the series editor.6

In the preparation of the introductions for the Hyperion and Gregg Press editions, as in the selection of copy texts for all the series, time worked against the editors. Moskowitz especially seems to have felt the pressure to get things done fast. He allowed only six weeks for others to turn in their introductions, and it shows. For example, consider A. Langley Searles' introduction to A Columbus of Space, with its comment that "one touch of gruesome verisimilitude may be cited; on the return trip one of the voyagers is hurled to his death outside the spacecraft, and then follows it as a ghostly satellite in full view of his living companions." Actually, in this edition a dog-creature that the travelers are bringing back from Venus starves to death and is thrown out of the spaceship and promptly left behind. Clearly something has gone wrong. When I mentioned this to a friend who has an extensive collection of SF magazines, he recalled that the Serviss novel had been reprinted in Amazing Stories in 1926, checked through that version, and found that it matched Searles' introduction (and also found that the conclusions of the two versions differed in major ways). With respect to this reprint the situation was further complicated by the fact that the copyright page has "Published in 1894 by G.W. Dillingham, Publisher, New York" although the edition reproduced was published by Appleton, and the date of the story's composition is given by Searles as 1909. Utterly confused, I wrote to Moskowitz, who replied as follows:

When I received your letter I checked all known printings of A Columbus of Space by Garrett P. Serviss. Your friend is quite right, the book version was substantially revised from the magazine. The Amazing Stories version (August to October 1926) is a reprint from the original magazine version (All-Story Magazine, January to June 1909). Apparently Hugo Gernsback purchased reprint rights from the Frank A. Munsey Co. and not from Appleton who published the book. Therefore Amazing Stories had to reprint the unrevised first magazine publication. The 1894 Dillingham notice in the book was intended for Journey to Mars by Gustavus W. Pope, M.D., and Hyperion made a production error in placing it in the book.

Searles did indeed read the Amazing Stories version in preparation to writing the introduction, because he sold his hardcover several years back. He was unaware that there were differences and actually reread the novel to refresh his memory. In checking the two I find that in the magazine version, the man, Henry, opens a port and jumps into space as a form of suicide. In the book, a companion dog dies on the trip and its body is sent spinning into space (a sequence obviously copied from A Tour of the Moon [1869] by Jules Verne, to whom the book is dedicated). Since Searles refers to the body of a "voyager" in orbit around the ship out in space, he is semantically correct, even though he was unaware of the change. [Not really: the body orbits only in the earlier version. --JS] Obviously, since the book is the later edition, it represents the author's final intention (and the rewrite lessens the air of juvenility of the novel). If the book should go into another printing, I will recommend changes to bring the introduction in line with the text.

That this kind of confusion should exist at all shows how rushed was the Hyperion editorial work. Moskowitz' letter, however, shows something else, not just about the books but about Moskowitz himself, who is worth some attention here, since the Hyperion series is so much a personal project. For Moskowitz has devoted his life and a fair share of his passion to the study and promotion of SF. I am sure he did check all known printings of Serviss' novel, once the confusion was pointed out to him. I am sure that he tried to do a thorough, conscientious job of editing this series. But his heated reaction when I quoted his letter in a fanzine review of several Hyperion reprints--

The device of finding an error (in this case a contradiction) and then going on to discredit an entire book (in this case an entire series) on the basis of this is sophomoric and obviously an egotistical ploy to display how bright the reviewer is since he had previously been given a personal, courteous acknowledgment. Nowhere in soliciting this reply did he indicate it was for incorporation in a review. The scrambling for other points to quibble about to try to buttress a feeble case is readily apparent.

--shows not just how seriously but how very personally he approached the task. Moskowitz took personal responsibility for providing introductions to 13 of the 23 titles in Hyperion's first series. This was an awesome job to attempt in six weeks, in addition to making sure the other introductions were prepared. Leaving aside the question of whether this was the wisest procedure, it is rather astonishing not so much that there is some unclear writing and sloppy detail but that overall the introductions are adequate. If some of the introductions especially written for the series, like L. Sprague de Camp's to Lamb's Marching Sands, are hasty and superficial, others--Joseph Wrzos' to Serviss' The Second Deluge, for one--are quite good. Not all the introductions are new, however: H.G. Wells' introduction to Tarde's Underground Man and A.H. Bullen's to Peter Wilkins were in the edition reprinted; moreover George Allan England's Darkness and Dawn is "introduced" by a rather defensive essay by England on his writing in general, Thyrill L. Ladd's introduction to Cumming's The Girl in the Golden Atom is virtually a reprint of a 1948 fanzine article--and five of Moskowitz' introductions are reprinted, one (to Keller's Life Everlasting) from the 1947 original edition, and four (to the books by Merritt, Stapledon, Weinbaum, and Wylie) in facsimile from chapters of Explorers of the Infinite, a 1963 book also reprinted in the Hyperion series. Although these chapters discuss the writer's work as a whole, with little special emphasis on the book in question, they are among the very best critical essays in the Hyperion reprints, well constructed and rather smoothly written. But these chapters represent Moskowitz' thinking of at least eleven years ago, without addition, correction, or revision. When I mentioned this in an earlier review of the Hyperion series, I was appalled at the thought of Moskowitz keeping exactly the same ideas--doing no new thinking on a subject for that many years, not even to consider the stories written by Wylie between 1963 and his death. Now, all things considered, it seems likely that the straight reprinting of these chapters resulted simply from the pressure Moskowitz felt to get things done fast--and from his certainty that what he had already done was good enough to get by. But this is another limitation of these introductions.

Measured by the same standards, the Gregg Press reprints have the best editorial apparatus of any of the series. Part of this is a matter of time and organization. Gregg allowed approximately six months for the selection and editing of the series, involving each volume's introducer in the selection process. Thus although the introducers had only about six weeks for actual writing, they had a longer lead time in which to prepare themselves to write. (By contrast, Lester del Rey's introduction to The Messiah of the Cylinder in the Hyperion series was hampered because Del Rey did not get the book on time--Hyperion assumed Moskowitz had sent it and vice versa--leaving him only about three weeks to work up information on a book he was not truly familiar with and write the piece [--Del Rey in conversation]. The Gregg series editors also "worked hard to find the right persons to do each of the introductions and then sweated to coax their best work on the project" (Hartwell, letter). These introductions vary in quality, of course. For one, Hartwell's own preface to Three Hundred Years Hence is an extremely brief pendant to the introduction reproduced as part of the 1950 Prime Press edition--and that, in turn, was basically taken from a 1935 essay written for people who did not have the book at hand and thus consisting largely of plot summary. On the whole, though, the Gregg introductions provide information adequately or better and serve at least as good starting points for serious thought.

Much has been made of the high prices asked for these editions. Setting aside the Hyperion paperbacks, which of course have a decided price advantage, I would say that the Gregg reprints offer the most for the money, with Hyperion, Arno, and Garland following in that order. This is of course a vast oversimplification, for despite the personal insistence of some editors, it is not necessary to give any of the series either unqualified admiration or overall rejection on the basis of nit-picking. We can pick and choose individual books. The Hampdenshire Wonder is available from both Arno and Garland, apparently reprinted from the same edition, for $17.00 and $11.00 respectively. London's The Scarlet Plague, offered by Arno for $10.00, also appears, along with the bulk of London's SF short stories, in Gregg's The Science Fiction of Jack London, $15.00. Hyperion's hardback edition of The Absolute at Large was originally $2.50 cheaper than Garland's, though the price has now been raised to $10.00, so that the difference is only $1.00. And we might note that if Garland's uniform price of $11.00 a volume makes some of their books high-priced on a per-page basis compared to the other series, it also makes some of them comparatively inexpensive. In some cases we can reject the reprints in these series in favor of an ordinary trade edition. Coblentz' After 12,000 Years is still, or was very recently, available in the FPCI edition reprinted by Garland. Peter Wilkins is available in a scholarly edition from Oxford University Press at only $2.05 more than the Hyperion hardback. And the four books by Charles Fort that Garland reprinted from Ace paperbacks at $11.00 each are available in a 1941 omnibus with index recently reprinted by Dover, with a preface by Damon Knight, for $15.00.

As we evaluate these reprints we thus discover that both quality and economy vary from series to series and from book to book. I assume that the editors and publishers did the best job of selection and publication they could in the face of competitive pressure. We cannot remove the competition or the pressure, but we can add some pressure of our own. To the extent that publishers are doing reprints for money, we can pressure them by not buying shoddy or over-priced books. To the extent that they are motivated by pride in their work, we can point out--loudly--the points at which their work deserves shame. We can ask them to hold off on the ballyhoo, slow down, and do their jobs properly. The buying, reading public has some clout in a commercial situation, and if we recognize that many of these reprints are not as good as they should--and could--have been, then we should do all we can to make sure that future reprints are better.

NOTES. To gather information for this essay, I wrote to the publishers and to at least one editor of each series, explaining that I was doing a review of the various series and asking for assistance; later I sent a draft of the essay to each person who had contributed information so that he could correct errors in anything attributed to him. My thanks to R.D. Mullen for the loan of several volumes from the various series, and to the editors who have published my book reviews or columns containing earlier remarks on the reprints: Hank and Leslie Luttrell, Mike Glyer, and Richard Delap.

1. Hal Dareff, Hyperion's publisher, says that he first thought of doing an SF reprint series in 1969 when he was publisher of Greenwood Press (letter, Apr 20, 1976). Thomas T. Beeler, executive editor of Gregg Press, traces the germination of Gregg's series to 1969, when he and David Hartwell planned a reprint series based on "the major pulp magazines" and on major SF published only in paperback. Various complications delayed and changed those plans. Beeler agrees, however, that it was the publication of the Hyperion series that impelled him and Hartwell to sit down and make firm plans (letter, Jan 20, 1976).

2. C.F. Edmonds of Garland Publishing, letter, Feb 12, 1976.

3. Beeler (see Note 1).

4. The reasons for the original cut are discussed by R.D. Mullen, SFS 2(1975):278. Hartwell also mentions that Gregg considered adding the expurgated material as an appendix to its edition but was dissuaded by the expense.

5. Conversation at SFRA Conference, Nov 14, 1975.

6. Since Del Rey's book has been delayed in the writing, I cannot judge how truly indispensable it is. Garland's brochure says: "it is strongly urged that all partial purchases of the Garland Library of Science Fiction include Lester Del Rey's Science Fiction, 1926-1976. This volume, written especially for the series, is a necessary adjunct to understanding the phenomenon of modern science fiction." However, Del Rey intends to write a general history of modern science fiction without undue emphasis on the books of the Garland list (conversation, March 12, 1976).

--Joe Sanders

Essays on The Glass Bead Game / Magister Ludi

Volker Michels, ed. Materialien zu Hermann Hesses "Das Glasperienspiel," Band 2. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1974, 375p, DM 8.

Chronologically arranged in this volume are various reviews of the Hesse novel published in English both as The Glass Bead Game and as Magister Ludi, beginning with an early, brilliantly written appraisal by the Swiss literary historian Robert Faesi. Naturally, coming as it does from Hesse's publisher most of the essays range from the very positive to the enthusiastic, but at least they show the ups and downs in Hesse's reputation over the years, especially in the opinions on the present novel, written in old age (published 1943).

Hesse often has been accused of artificiality and remoteness from worldly affairs, and even in this volume there is mixed in with the praise some negative valuations of certain aspects of the novel, especially the ambivalent ending, Joseph Knecht's death in a mountain pool. Between 1950 and 1960 Hesse's reputation was very low in Germany, but since then interest in his work has grown tremendously, especially in the USA and Japan, but also in the USSR and Germany. Youth movements claimed him as a prophet for their rebellion against the establishment, and occasionally some of his works were called up as witnesses for the subculture of the drug scene, so that sometimes the curious question was raised whether Hesse wrote his works while under the influence of drugs. Nothing could have been farther from the sworn enemy of the "feuilleton culture," as he called it, who defended a culture Western in the best sense (if influenced by the East) and looked back to a more balanced age. The very latest German writings on Hesse (by Joachim Kaiser and Heinz Ludwig Arnold) are again more skeptical. They seem dubious about the future of Hesse's reputation, and it seems that the enthusiasm for Hesse is still far greater abroad than in his own country.

Most of these essays give an overall survey of the novel in its relationship to Hesse's corpus and/or its position in literary history; especially stressed is its relationship to the Erziehungsroman, late Goethe (Wilhelm Meister), and Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. Some of the essays deal with specific aspects and problems, such as the names of the characters or Hesse's kinship with Chinese culture. Characteristically, the more detailed studies are mostly by Americans and other foreign critics, while the Germans prefer more global presentations or the literary-history point of view. Two Soviet contributions are proof of the Russian interest in Hesse. Of special interest to SF readers are two essays stressing the element of the game in Hesse: Ernst Robert Curtius's "Der homo ludens" and Heinrich Schirmbeck's "Der homo ludens und das Glasperlenspiel." Other critics include Max Rychner, Joachim Maass, Anni Carlsson, Theodor Heuss, publisher Siegfried Unseld, Hans Mayer, and Theodore Ziolkowski. Various shorter notes and a copious bibliography conclude the book,, which offers a wide spectrum of views on one of the important utopian novels of the century and on the spiritual realm that Hesse presented in it to the world.

--Franz Rottensteiner

Eric S. Rabkin. The Fantastic in Literature. Princeton University Press. xi+234, $12.50.

Ours is an age of metacriticism, of grand attempts to discover and propound the basic principles that will bring order out of the chaos of a million literary texts. Professor Rabkin's initial proposition is that fantasy derives from the reversal of ground rules, but ground rules (i.e. rules established in and for a particular narrative) soon yield to generalized "perspectives on" (i.e. attitudes toward) the reality of the world around us. The concept of extrapolation is added to that of reversal, and "organized body of knowledge" is opposed to "unstructured collection of contemporary perspectives." A utopia is SF if it is the former it extrapolates or reverses, but not if it is only the latter. News From Nowhere is said not to be SF because "Morris' vision... abandons, rather than differing from, contemporary technology" (p 144). But in actual fact Morris both extrapolates and reverses much in the organized body of knowledge pertaining to the ways in which work and society are organized (and indeed even assumes some advances in technology): he was not simple enough to imagine that socialism will follow automatically on the abandonment of 19th-century technology. Mr. Rabkin's generalizations seem valid enough at first glance, but in most of the cases with which I am familiar, he seems not to have read his exemplary texts very well, so that his generalizations remain untested.

--R.D. Mullen

Jules Verne by His Grandson

Jean Jules-Verne. Jules Verne: A Biography. Translated and adapted by Roger Greaves. Taplinger Publishing Co., xii+245, $10.95. The adaptation includes a bibliography, with some excision and re-arrangement from the French edition; new material has been added by both author and translator.

This new biography is clearly superior in describing the life of Jules Verne. Like previous attempts, it relies for much material on the 1928 biography by M. Allotte de la Fuye, Verne's niece, but Jean Jules-Verne takes pains to verify or disagree with her work. As might be expected, Jean's biography is strongest in its description and analysis of his grandfather's family relationships, but it also investigates other aspects of Verne's life with impressive thoroughness. His attention to Verne's correspondence with his publisher leads to a number of valuable insights.

As a critical biography, Jean's work is probably on a par with Kenneth Allott's 1940 study. While Allott confidently placed Verne among the literary and scientific developments of his time, he sometimes discussed such topics as the development of romanticism or the developments of a particular year with scant attention to Verne himself. Still, the wit and general overview are lacking in the new biography. Both biographers agree, however, that Poe was the most important literary influence on Verne.

Sometimes Jean's close attention to his grandfather's life proves especially rewarding in understanding the fiction. Possibly the most important observation is about the character of Captain Nemo. Thus Kenneth Allott could only observe that Nemo was of unspecified nationality in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but turned out to be an Indian prince in Mysterious Island. But Jean cites his grandfather's correspondence to show that Nemo was originally intended to be a Pole, whose implacable hatred was directed against Russia after the suppression of Poland in 1863. Because of France's shaky alliances, Verne's publisher feared that the book would be suppressed, and urged that Nemo direct his hatred against some other country or issue--specifically, American slavery. Verne preferred to leave the issue vague rather than deliberately compromise the original conception, which certainly added to the romantic grandeur of Nemo's posture. But this background should increase our understanding of Verne's finest novel.

Jean's general evaluation of his grandfather's novels is good. He often dismisses unimportant works in a sentence or two, but devotes considerable attention to occasional novels that are little read but unusual products of Verne's imagination. The index is helpful.

--Charles Nicol

Three Special Issues on Utopian Fiction. The criticism of literary utopias and of Utopian thought has in these last years experienced a considerable flowering, which by the way (as Frank P. Bowman notes in the issues of Littérature (discussed below) contrasts with an almost negligible production of contemporary utopian fiction.

The Revue des Sciences Humaines #155 (Sept 1974) is devoted to "utopia" understood as a literary fact as distinguished from "utopianism" as a mode of theoretical praxis and a fact pertaining to the history of ideas. R. Trousson—well known for his earlier work on the myth of Prometheus and the classical "conjectural" genres—in his interesting article, "Utopie et roman utopique" attempts to clarify the typology of this genre and its neighbors—robinsonade (desert-island story), arcadia (pastoral), Golden Age story, Cockayne story, imaginary voyage—affirming that one can speak of a utopia "when, within a narrative framework, there is presented a community functioning on the basis of certain political, economical, moral principles which reproduce the complexities of a social existence, whether in a far-off space or time, or inserted within an imaginary voyage" (p 373). It will be noted that this definition does not take into consideration the type of deviation from the author's empirical world, e.g. whether it is better or worse.

The issue as a whole is oriented toward literary theory and narrative semiotics or toward (in the articles by A. Cioranescu and J. Gury) historical erudition, and the works discussed almost exclusively the "classical" utopias of the Renaissance and 18th century. Other articles deal with various genological points, the "contract of believability" for utopias, and the status of the utopian narrator (a subtle and penetrating study by G. Benrekassa). A number of the contributions participate in the tendency of one stream of French literary criticism to treat literature as specific linguistic practices that have to be examined primarily for their immanent characteristics: a utopia is a "language," the product of a semantic manipulation, and—in the words of C.G. Dubois—a "fixional architecture" (with a pun on fictional vs. fixational in the psychoanalytic sense).

Littérature #21 (Feb 1976), "Lieux de l'Utopie" (i.e. "Places of Utopia"), presents a more heterogeneous group of texts than those in RSH, dealing also with utopia as a literary fact, but from a more interdisciplinary point of view and with a stronger proclivity toward a display of hypothetical theorizing. In "Utopie et atopie" J.N. Vaurnet rushes into an often elliptic and risky typological overview of utopianisms; utopia, so much given to classifications, seems to be itself menaced by hasty taxonomies! Frank R. Bowman, in "Utopie, imagination, espérance [hope]," deals with the present state of research in the field, juxtaposing especially the reflections of Northrop Frye, Ernst Bloch, and Judith Schlanger, and suggesting that there is an interesting similarity between utopia and autobiography, two paraliterary genres that transmit a subjective imaginary world by means of a social discourse. Louis Marin, in "Les Corps utopiques rabelaisiens," attempts, in a rapid study of Gargantua, to reverse the general critical tendency toward stressing the systematic nature of utopian "quasi-systems." He pleads for "Laisser du jeu" (with a pun on loose vs. play), and seeks to show how utopian narration profits from lacunae, incoherence, fortuitous fantasy, word-play, centrifugal deviations, etc. He concludes that a utopia is "a regression of discourse to the libidinal signifier, liberated from the signified." On the other hand , G. Benrekassa very usefully abandons the merely immanent or formal analysis of utopian discourse in order to integrate it into the system of meanings of its time. He confronts, e.g., the utopian fiction of the 18th century with the "positive" political discourse of the same century, including that by political writers on utopia itself, ambiguously conceived as a "useful chimaera." Some of the articles deal with particular works: Michel Horinman applies an interesting semiotic model to the Peregrinacâo of Fern’o Mendes Pinto, 1614; E. Kaufholz writes on Schnabel's Insel Felsenburg, 1731; Michèle Duchet on Rousseau; and Pierre Barberis on Chateaubriand. An obscure text of the Freudian theoretician Catherine Clement, presenting the psychoanalytic cure as an atopia, concludes the issue.

The purpose of "Marxism and Utopia," a special section, ed. Fredric Jameson, of The Minnesota Review #6 (Spring 1976), is "to reconsider the relationship of Marxism to utopian thought." In the first article, "'Utopian' and 'Scientific': Two Attributes for Socialism from Engels," Darko Suvin makes a perspicacious critique of the usual interpretation of Engels' famous essay Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, i.e. of the idea that "scientific" vs. "utopian" is to be taken as an exclusive opposition of the Type A vs -A. Discussing the concept of scientificalness (Wissenschaftlichleit) that Engels could have historically held, Suvin attempts to return to and revalorize the utopian component of Marxism. The same tendency appears in the essays by Mark Poster (on Fourier), Jost Hermand (on Brecht), and Stephen Bronner (on Ernst Bloch, who with Mannheim is behind most of the contributions to this issue). In contrast to the other special issues reviewed here, the MR issue deals with utopian thought in the larger sense, as a mode of theoretical praxis. Louis Marin presents three "Theses on Ideology and Utopia," a very condensed attempt to define this whole field, starting from an initial thesis in the manner of Mannheim: "Utopia is an ideological critique of ideology." Jean Pfaelzer and Paul Buhle study some utopian elements in US fiction, the first dealing with 19th-century texts, and the second with H.P. Lovecraft, whose crepuscular vision is seen as pre- or para-socialist, which seems to be a rather risky view.

Marc Angenot.

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