Robert M. Philmus
Murder Most Fowl: Butler's
Edition of Francis Godwin
Godwin. The Man in the Moon. Ed.
John Anthony Butler. (Publications of the Barnabe Riche Society, 3.) Ottawa: Dovehouse
Editions, 1995. 118pp. illus. $9.00 (paper).
The Man in the Moone (MiM) is a
very curious piece of work. The Peter Nicholls Encyclopedia labels it "proto
sf"; but by any definition that is not absurdly chronocentrici.e., by any
definition that makes allowance for the relativity of what counts as
science"proto" is unwarranted: MiM is science fiction, and is the
first work which can properly be called such, even though its publication (in 1638, five
years after the death of its author, Francis Godwin) antedates that term itself by almost
exactly 300 years.
Why (and hence that) it is sf is not
obvious from MiM's startor, for that matter, at its finish. It begins with an
account of the life of its "hero," Domingo Gonsales, from his birth in 1552 up
until his mid-40s. After making his original fortune, ignominiously, in the Duke of Alva's
campaign against the Low Countries, Gonsales returns to his native Spain, but in time must
flee to the East Indies to escape prosecution for a fatal duel. Having made a rather
larger fortune there than in Charles V's war against Protestantism, he means to go home
again but instead winds up in China, eventually.
The ending probably owes something to
Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci's diaries of his experiences in China (as transmitted by
Nicolas Trigault, De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, 1615) and perhaps to other
works concerning European contact with that country. But nowhere does MiM bear much
resemblance to Renaissance travel literature, real or fictiveto anything to be found
in Hakluyt's Voyages, say. Its outset might put us in mind of the Lazarillo de
Tormes (1554) or Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller (1594), but MiM
doesn't share with those picaresque narratives a socially satiric intent, at least not
clearly and indubitably.1 Indeed, in many ways it initially invites comparison
with the likes of Robinson Crusoe (1719), partly because of its circumstantial
realism (which in Godwin's case, as I've already hinted, is chiefly
chronological-historical), partly because Gonsales' first-person narrative, though
presumably "unreliable," is indeterminately, or problematically, so, the
presumption of unreliability deriving from the fact that its real author was an Anglican
In any event, the opening and close of the
narrative function somewhat as prologue and epilogue and take up only about a third of the
book between them. The bulk of the fiction is given over to Gonsales' adventures once he
departs from the East Indies; and it is here, in the voyage that lands him first on St.
Helena, then on Teneriffe, and finally on the Moon, that MiM emerges as being
hitherto without parallel.
Godwin would, of course, have had some
precedents for such a lunar voyage, and may have drawn on them, just as he probably did on
Thomas Cavendish's contribution to Hakluyt for his depiction of St. Helena as a
terrestrial paradise.2 One possible inspiration was Canto 34 of Orlando
Furioso (1516/32), which has a slightly different sequence of the same series of
events.3 Gonsales, following his sojourn on St. Helena, takes refuge from
Teneriffe's cannibals atop El Pico (de Teyde) and thence is transported moonwards;
Ariosto's Astolfo, escaping Harpies, rides to an unspecified "mountaines top"
that "nigh touch'd the Circle of the Moone" (34.49-50) and finds there a "Paradise
terrestriall" (34.55), whence he ascends to the Moon to recover Orlando's lost wits.
But Astolfo's vehicle is Ezekiel's chariot of fire. By contrast, Lucian of Samosata comes
up with what at first sight appears to be the same kind of natural means for getting his
Menippus to the Moon that Godwin uses vis-à-vis Gonsales: birds, or rather (in
Lucian's fiction) the feathers thereof. But Lucian's title, "Icaromenippus,"
indicates that he's depending on myth, and facetiously so, consistent with the
thoroughgoing skepticism that this fiction of his shares with his other Menippean satires.
Godwin's attitude is quite different: like Johann Kepler, he's out to promote the
"New Astronomy" (though not in its Keplerian version). Kepler's Somnium,
howeverpublished in the same year that Lucian was first Englished (1634), which was
also about one year after Godwin's death proves wanting in the way that Ariosto and
Lucian are with regard to the means for extraterrestrial travel. Kepler relies on magic
and (as his title suggests) dream to get Duracotus to the Moon.
What's original to Godwin is his
unprecendented scientific rationalization of his lunar voyage. While on St. Helena
Gonsales contrives a "gansa"-powered flying machine which is implicitly but
unmistakably based in Galileian physics. Admittedly, the other theoretical component for
launching the contraption moonward has dubitable scientific status: the hypothesis that
geese migrate to the Moon. Anke Janssen, in his University of Regensburg doctoral
dissertation on Godwin, cites the same idea from Charles Morton's Essay Towards the
Probable Solution of this Question . . . where [certain] Birds do probably
make their Recess and Abode; but Morton's treatise came out in 1703, so his notion
that "it is not impossible that divers of these Fowls . . . do pass and repass
between this [planet] and the Moon" may have come from Godwin. We can,
however, be sure that Morton's question had been on people's minds for well over a
century, at least, and MiM's solution to the mystery may not be an idiosyncratic
fancy. At any rate, the scientific rationale doesn't stop once Gonsales' geese continue
their upward flight, much to his consternation (since they have him and his contraption in
tow); the remainder of his trip, too, is mostly informed by the astronomical findings of
Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, and by the William Gilbert of De Magnete (1600) as
That Godwin, whatever else he may have in
mind, is intent on advancing Copernican astronomy at the expense of the Ptolemaic model
is, I think, unmistakable from such passages as this:
I would should now confesse the wilfulnesse of their owne blindnesse. They have made the
world beleeve hitherto, that the Earth hath no motion. And to make that good they are fain
to attribute unto all and every of the celestial bodies, two motions quite contrary to
each other; whereof one is from the East to the West, to be performed in 24
howers; (that they imagine to be forced, per raptum primi Mobilis) the other from
the West to the East in severall proportions. (58)4
Here Godwin is ridiculing epicycles and
the Ptolemaic conception of the Primum Mobile; and while he soon has Gonsales express
hesitation about a heliocentric universe, his fiction is fundamentally predicated on
(post-) Copernican astronomy, and even more on its chief instrument, the telescope.
The extent to which this is true is
evident from two details in particular. One is that Godwin insists not only on empirical
verification (which would also dictate a first-person narrative), but on ocular
evidence: Gonsales is, epitomally, an "eye-witnesse" (iv). The other, an
extension of this, has to do with the way that Godwin fictively confirms the Earth's
diurnal rotation. Gonsales is "constrained to joyne in the opinion with Copernicus"
that "the Earth" "turneth round upon her owne Axe every 24. howers"
because, "discern[ing] certaine spots or Clouds""even as in the
Moone" or "like unto a Peare that had a morsell bitten out upon the one side of
him"he sees that these move, "from the West unto the East"
(56-57). What is at work here, then, is an analogical imagination informed by the New
Astronomy. Godwin, Grant McColley suggests (citing Mark Ridley's A short Treatise of
magneticall bodies and motions  as a possible source), "is introducing into
literature an analogy drawn from the telescopic observations which proved the axial
rotation of the Sun and Jupiter by the appearance and disappearance of their spots"
This illustrates the chief, but not the
only, science-fictional aspect of MiM. Equally striking is Godwin's juxtaposition
of real and fictitious names in a manner which anticipates, say, H.G. Wells's The Shape
of Things to Come (1933). "Mounsieur Tavier" appears on the same page as
"Marshal Cossey" alongside "Count Mansfeld," those last two being
historical cognomens (with the latter belonging to Peter Ernst [1517-1604], who fought for
Charles V in France and for Philip II in the Low Countries).5 Purportedly, too,
Godwin cites invented sources of information together with real ones (see 105-06 and
McColley's note about them). But perhaps most extraordinary of all among the little
science-fictional details is one that John Butler in effect calls attention to by getting
it wrong. Gonsales, having recovered from the surprise and horror of the realization that
his gansas are taking him to the Moon, begins to look around him and reports: "The
starres, by reason it was alwaies day, I saw... not shining bright, as upon the earth we
are wont to see them in the night time; but of a whitish Colour, like that of the
Moone in the day time with us" (51-52; my emphasis). At work here is perhaps
something more than what I've called an analogical imagination; for "whitish"
introduces incomparabilityi.e., a (science-fictional) sense of Othernessinto
Godwin's comparison, or at least does so vis-à-vis Butler's mistranscription of
the word as "white" (88). The point, however, doesn't entirely depend on an
awareness of Butler's error; for later on, Godwin expressly and at length speaks of the
lunarians' "Clothes" as being of "a colour" "having no afinitie
with any other that I ever beheld with mine eyes," "and therefore neither to be
described unto us by any, nor to be conceived of [by] one that never saw it" (71-72).
Othernessand its denialmost
comes in once Gonsales arrives on the Moon and discovers there a Utopia presided over by
beings about five times the height of earthlings. What is particularly significant about
these aliens is one of the respects in which they aren't, at least not from Bishop
Godwin's standpoint: not only are they theists; they believe in Jesus Christ. Clearly
Godwin is thinking of the theological problem of Other Worlds (which perhaps had come home
to him in the aftermath of hearing Giordano Bruno speak at Oxford in 1583, when Godwin was
a student there); and clearly his "eye-witnesse[d]" solution is that the Savior
wouldn't be news to aliens, however much their alien world might be news to us. It is also
probable, I think, that our Bishop of Hereford's polemical intent here takes logical
precedence over his championing the New Learning, at the same time confirming that that,
too, is his polemical intent. These two polemical purposes, that is, feed upon and into
one another, but with priority going to the demonstrationor assertion of
Christ's universality, which dictates that Bishop Godwin uphold the New Astronomy for
opening the possibility of extraterrestrial worlds (as Bruno especially was fond of
arguingat the cost of his life).
What else Godwin may be about is far from
certain, the uncertainties centering (though not entirely depending) upon when he was
writing. The date of MiM's composition is of no consequence with regard to its
claim on being the first bona fide example of SF, but the question of dating does serve to
highlight some puzzling features of Godwin's fiction.
The present consensus is that the book
belongs to the 1620s, and probably in the vicinity of Godwin's Nuncius Inanimatus (1629),
which the bishop seems to be advertising when he has Gonsales promise "to give
perfect instructions how those admirable devices . . . which I have light upon, may be
imparted for publique use," said "devices" pertaining to message-sending, inter
alia (10-11). William Empson is, so far as I know, the only recent dissenter from this
view: he wants John Donne to have seen MiM by 1597 to account for the extraordinary
height Donne gives to El Pico in The First Anniversary (1611). That hypothesis, I
think, is absolutely out, not just because McColley has made a case (which Empson, 230-32,
is all too dismissive of) that some of the science informing MiM was unavailable
before 1610, but because Godwin's lunar voyage is inconceivable without the telescope
(invented in 1608). Empson does, however, bring up one peculiarity of MiM which is
hard to dispose of: the fictive dates in MiM for the most part go by the Julian
calendar, but towards the end (110) these are revised to accord with the Gregorian
(regarded as a Catholic innovation, which England therefore rejected until the 1750s).
McColley (76) endeavors to explain the discrepancy by supposing that Godwin's recourse to
Fr. Ricci necessitated the shift to the Gregorian calendar; but that "simple"
"explanation" won't withstand scrutiny for a reason that McColley himself
supplies: that Godwin in the end has recalculated/revised the Julian dating of Gonsales's
voyage, and therefore could just as well have made the appropriate adjustment in Ricci's
Gregorian dates. Given the discrepancy, and the chronological revision that makes for it,
it is difficult to avoid supposing either that Godwin composed MiM over an extended
period or (as Empson would have it) that he revised in the 1620s a work he had drafted and
then put aside years earlier.
With either of those last hypotheses, we
might imagine as well that Godwin had a version of his lunar utopia in hand while
Elizabeth I was still alive. That supposition makes sense of an anachronism otherwise as
puzzling as the changing of Gonsales' calendar: the lunarian-in-chief's request that
Gonsales "salute from him Elizabeth, whom he tearmed the great Queene of
England, calling her the most glorious of all women living" (112). And the same
supposition also obviates a possible problem arising from Gonsales' meeting with diabolic
spirits on his way to the Moon and from his discovery that the lunarians (whom we
apparently should find in every way admirable) are inveterate smokers of tobaccothat
problem being that James I had made it known by 1604 that he was dead set against the
latter practice and had sometime before 1620 publicly changed his mind against MiM's
kind of devils. But it may be that Godwin is deliberately flouting his monarch's views on
these matters (and disparaging some Stuart in comparison with Elizabeth), so that these
details are another expression of his polemical cast of mindand also of a resentment
that seems to have been building up inside him since 1620, at least, for not being treated
according to his merit and for not being able to get a hearing and support for the marvels
he had in mind "for publique use."
In connection with that, the other
argument of Empson's worth serious considerationagain for what light it may throw on
MiMis that Godwin can't have written MiM around the same time as the Nuncius
because the latter shows that by 1629 he was stark raving mad. I incline to agree with
that last judgment. Godwin apparently intends to fulfill Gonsales' promise with respect to
publicizing "devices" "to send messages in an instant many Miles off, and
receive answer againe immediately," "to declare your minde presently unto your
friend," and "such like things" (11); but his pamphlet on the subject,
published in defiance of Charles I's edict on the licensing of books, could hardly have
been more incomprehensible had he written it in the musical notations of his lunarians
(which, as James Knowlson points out , is not really a language but an alphabet-based
cipher, similar to one of the proposals in Blaise de Vigenère's
Traicté des chiffres,
1586). Yet it is tempting to think that our Anglican bishop had already gone beyond the
bounds of proverbial English eccentricity when(ever) he chose a Spaniard and a Catholic as
his "hero" (even if he did so at least 20 years after Philip II's attempt at
overthrowing Elizabeth and English Protestantism).
Nor does it entirely exonerate Godwin's
sanity to suppose that his polemical mind is at work here too. That would make sense of
the kudos for English prowess in the sea battle off the Isle of Pines (1596), for example,
which praise is all the greater coming from a Spaniard (see MiM 9-10). But when we
extend that line of reasoning to the religion of Godwin's lunarians, the results are,
well, somewhat loony. Gonsales early on in his lunar sojourn cries out "Iesus
Maria," but only Jesus' name resonates with the Utopians (who fall "downe
upon their knees" at "the word": 73); and sometime afterward,
"reckoning up a number of Saints," he finds that they respond only to one, St.
Martinus, and to his name because "Martin in their language signifieth
God" (83). And, as if once weren't enough, that datum recurs some pages later, when
Gonsales has the honor of being taken to "Gods Island, or Insula Martini"
(90) for a tête-à-tête with the head honcho. In all of this, it is perhaps
somewhat less likely that our Anglican Bishop has mentally rummaged through the St.
Martins he knows of (close to half a dozen such by 1600) and come up with Martin of Tours
(316-97 A.D.), one of whose emblems is a goose, than that he has in mind the rhetorical
strategy he elsewhere employs for patriotic ends. If, however, he is indeed implying that
the lunarians are not only Christians but Protestants and not only Protestants but
Lutheranscalculating by the way that this discovery will be all the more convincing
coming from a Catholic like Gonsaleshe's also in the process literally deifying
Martin Luther, which doesn't, so far as I'm aware, figure in any of Anglicanism's
The possibility that Godwin is canonizing
the theologian officially recognized as the progenitor of Anglicanism ties in with another
fictive datum: that apart from the secular chief of the lunarians is
someone"his name is Imozes" who "commandeth in all things . . .
concerning matters of religion" (91). Gonsales naturally likens this man to "the
Pope," but Godwin may have the Archbishop of Canterbury in mindand may also be
thinking, wishfully, of the ideal of the separation of State and Church.
This entire line of interpretation,
however, is put somewhat in doubt by another way of accounting for St. Martin's special
status on Godwin's Moon. Just before leaving that Utopia, Gonsales reports that the
lunarians preserve their moral uprightness by deporting to Earth anyone deemed likely to
offend against it; and in evidence of that practice, he then cites a chapterhe can't
remember which"towards the end of . . . [the] first booke" of William of
Newburgh's Historia rerum anglicarum (late 12th century). The chapter in question
(ß27) sketches a "prodigy" which William deems worthy of a place in his
chronicle: the discovery in East Anglia during the reign of Stephen of two green-skinned
children, who tell their interrogators that they come from they know not where, except
that it is place where the Sun neither rises nor sets that they call "the land of St.
Martin." The reference to William is surely an acknowledgment by Godwin of one source
of MiM's inspiration. But it could also be readas perhaps Poe read itas
a hint that Godwin intends a literary hoax, maybe from MiM's start. I think not,
both for reasons I've already adduced and because Godwin's Utopians answer a question that
the Green Children by William of Newburgh's account leave in suspenseviz.,
whether "the people of the land of St. Martin" are Christians.6
Still, the issue of authorial distance is no more absolutely decidable with Godwin than it
is with Defoe, especially given Godwin's choice of a Spanish Catholic protagonist.
There is, of course, a simple, though I
would say incomplete, solution to the Gonsales puzzle. Godwin may well have primarily
meant his Spaniard to serve precisely the way his name does on the title-page of the first
edition: as a pseudonymi.e., a way of disclaiming authorship in the event of trouble
over the book. Otherwise, however, the evidence for an ironic distance between Gonsales'
views and Godwin's is slender at best.
Butler, in the course of several
(inconclusive) pages on the question of Gonsalesit's the only puzzling thing about MiM
that Butler treats as such, or at allbegins by saying that he's "a little man
with a very big ego" (29). For reasons I touched upon apropos of the Nuncius,
size of ego is not, I suspect, a point of difference between Gonsales and his author. It
is therefore ironic that the "name" MiM "eterniz[ed] . . . for
ever" (10)or rather, for the better part of 300 yearswas Gonsales', not
Godwin's. The Bishop of Hereford got an authorial acknowledgment on the title-page of the
second edition (1657), but only in the form of initials, "F.G., B. of H."; in
the meantime, however, Jean Baudoin's French translation of the pseudonymous text had come
out (in 1648), and in consequence most of the writers in SF's history whom MiM
influencednotably, Cyrano, Poe, and Vernethought it had been authored by
This and some of the other matters I've
touched upon here Butler also takes up in his 50-odd page Introduction. That begins well
enough, with a biographical sketch which has an air of authority about it (but, perhaps
naively, presents Godwin in a way that he would have wholly approved and lacks
bibliographical information about any source except the Dictionary of National
Biography). Butler then moves on to survey, under the heading of "Other Worlds
and Lunar' Literature," European attitudes and views toward the New World,
ancient Greek astronomical notions, "Icaromenippus," and the Moon in early
17th-century science and fictionall in that order and in the space of 14 pages. What
emerges here is a disconnectedness not simply between one topic and the next but of
Butler's remarks to the work in question. Having briefly commented on the nature of
European colonialism at the time, for example, Butler admits that Gonsales in no
Conquistador or missionary; he arrives on the Moon as an accidental tourist (though he
hopes for fame and for something tangible of monetary value in return for his gift of
precious stones). The summary of Lucian, too, becomes self-admittedly irrelevant, though
in this case not instantly: first Butler says that MiM has "elements that
certainly owe something to" "Menippean satire" (23), and only later does he
repudiate even that claim, when he wonders "if anything is satirised" in MiM
(32). If so, the sentence continues, "it is the pretensions of science and
In so far as there is any focal point to
Butler's Introduction, that is it. He is not, however, steadfast in his misreading. In
expatiating on his thesis, 15 pages later, he no sooner avers that "Gonzalez [sic]
has seen where philosophers and scientists went wrong" than he adds: "Gonzalez
shows a certain amount of reluctance to wholly accept the Copernican cosmos at the expense
of abandoning the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic system"perhaps, Butler opines,
"because Gonzalez (if not Godwin) wishes to avoid controversy with the Catholic
Church" (47). Having thus raised the possibility that Godwin may not share his hero's
reservations about the New Astronomy, Butler then proceeds to reiterate Gonsales-Godwin's
resistance to Copernican theory (47-48). These contradictions from one sentence to the
next will no doubt confuse any careful reader dependent on Butler for
informationwhich presumably means the reader whom Butler is writing for. On the
other hand, those who bring with them a knowledge of Renaissance thought may see its
reflection in Butler's shilly-shallying. Kepler, for example, went in for judicial
astrology, and not just because it was more profitable than astronomy. And John Wilkins,
later a founding member of the Royal Society, made his name with a treatisethe first
to capitalize on MiMexpressly intended to promote the New Empiricism but
perpetually reverting to the Old Authoritarianism. Butler himself momentarily takes
cognizance of this (dis)equilibrium between the Medieval and the Modern, speaking in
general of an "ambivalence" about the "new learning" (52); but he
doesn't keep it in mind long enough to realize that Godwin's reservations about Copernicus
are minor in contrast to what "Gonsales" is "constrained" to accept,
especially considering how empirically-oriented MiM is (as evinced also by the
absence of any appeal to Authority except for William of Newburgh's, which may be a
The problem that Butler has with MiM's
relationship to Renaissance astronomy may in part have to do with the second-hand quality
of everything he has to say on the subject. He relies heavily on Thomas Kuhn's The
Copernican Revolution, which in my view is a brilliant piece of work but one which
requires some familiarity with more traditional treatments, if not with Kuhn's primary
materials (as well as with his better-known Structure of Scientific Revolutions).
And given that first-hand knowledge is not Butler's strong suit in what is reportedly his
area of specialization (the early-to-mid-17th century), it shouldn't be hard to imagine
how clueless he is when dealing with MiM as utopian and science fiction.
Butler the editor leaves as much to be
desired as does Butler the literary critic. Of his 34 endnotes (together occupying under
4pp.), 8 deal with supposed textual variants; but most of the ones that he records are
non-existent. This produces one of at least two textual misreadings ("white" for
"whitish" being the other I found in my spot check): Butler has Gonsales'
narrative begin with "'Tis," whereas both the 1638 and 1657 editions (the two
Butler collates) have "It is." Into the bargain, the textual liberties he takes
go beyond the bounds of acceptable editorial practice, and in ways that he doesn't
completely stipulate when he declares that he's "modernised . . . spelling,
punctuation, and paragraphing" and "added" "[a] few words, mostly
conjunctions and pronouns" (63). His "modernizing," it turns out, extends
to sentence structure; and while he can countenance "'Tis" and
"divers" (i.e., the archaic form of "diverse"), he can't always abide
lengthy sentences (or, for that matter, Godwin's arabic numbers, which Butler consistently
changes into words), even if his "improvements" on Godwin alter the
As if anticipating objections to his
editorial practice, Butler provides himself with a fallback position, as it were. He
claims that no previous edition has come equipped with "either an introduction of any
substance or notes" (62). That contention, unless its "or" be a perfect
quibble, I find totally baffling. McColley's reprint, a pillar of textual reliability
compared with Butler's, has an introduction and notes which together, while never so much
as mentioning science fiction, are otherwise more informativeand far less
misinformativeabout MiM's meaningful details and its overall tenor than are
Butler's (whose endnotes usually contain information of the sort to be found in a small
encyclopedia). Hence the most charitable explanation I can come up with for Butler's
denial, in effect, of McColley's priority is that Butler never actually saw the McColley
(consistent with his misdating of it at "1935"  and the absence of any full
bibliographical citation of itand consistent also with Butler's ignorance of about
half the secondary literature on MiM).8
To be fair, Butler's edition does have
certain advantages over McColley's. Unlike that (would-be) predecessor, Butler footnotes
the meaning of Renaissance words and Latin phrases.9 He also includes (bad)
reproductions of MiM's three original illustrations (without, however, labelling
them as such so as to distinguish them from two other plates he throws into his edition).
And finally, Butler's is the only text of MiM currently in print. Alas.
1. Thomas Copeland's article on MiM
as picaresque takes that generic categorization for granted rather than proving its
validity. Butler discusses the matter as well (31-32) and concludesrightly, I
thinkthat Gonsales takes himself too seriously to be a picaro (thereby,
however, disposing also of the only reason Butler can come up with for Godwin's choice of
a Spanish hero).
2. See Hakluyt, 296-97.
3. Thomas Harington, the earliest English
translator of Orlando Furioso, was a friend of Godwin's. Butler mentions this
(13n), but doesn't make any connection whatsoever with MiM.
4. The page references for all quotations
from MiM itself are to the 1638 edition. Only three copies of this are known, but
McColley reproduces a text which is not only reliable but preserves the original's page
5. Butler (115n6) would have us believe
that the reference is to Peter Ernst's bastard son, Ernst, even though both Ernst's dates
(1580-1626) and the fact that he was an ally of the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War
disqualify him as the "Count Mansfeld" whom Gonsales has served on the side of
in 1569 or thereabouts.
6. See William of Newburgh, I, 73-75. The
key phrase I've Englishedthe Green Children's response to the query as to where they
come fromin the Latin original reads: "Homines de terra Sancti Martini"
("qui . . . nostræ præcipuæ venerationi habetur").
7. Hence Butler puts a period midway
through one of Godwin's 60+-word stretches to produce: "Adding unto that which they
[the discourses of learned men] deliver, this experience of mine will easily conclude . .
." The subject of "will . . . conclude," however, is not "this
experience" but "He" ("that readeth the discourses of learned
8. The secondary literature Butler seems
ignorant of includes the works by Copeland and Janssen listed below, along with some pages
of mine (in a book whose subtitle names Godwin) that concentrate on the importance of
eyesight in MiM as SF.
9. Since Butler seems better as a
Classicist than he is as a student of the Renaissance, it's unfortunate that he (like
McColley) doesn't speculate about the derivation of the names of the three magical stones
that Gonsales gets from the lunarians. One of these, a perpetually hot substance, Godwin
calls "Poleastis," apparently after the Pole Star, thus inviting speculation
about how he arrives at the names for its companions: "Machrus" (forever
luminescent) and "Ebelus" (a precursor of Wells's Cavorite). See MiM,
Ariosto, Lodovico. Sir Thomas
Harington's Translation of "Orlando Furioso." Ed. Graham Hough. London:
Centaur P, 1962.
Copeland, Thomas. "Francis Godwin's The
Man in the Moone: A Picaresque Satire." Extrapolation, 16 (1974/5):
Empson, William. "Godwin's Voyage to
the Moon." Essays on Renaissance Literature. Ed. John Haffenden. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge UP, 1993. 220-54.
Hakluyt, Richard. Voyages and
Discoveries. Ed. and abridged by Jack Beeching. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1972.
Janssen, Anke. Francis Godwins
"The Man in the Moone." Frankfurt AM and Bern: Peter Lang, 1981.
Knowlson, James R. Universal Language
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