Hussey, David

Edité par Arthur Barker Ltd. [1938]., London, 1938
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Éditeur : Arthur Barker Ltd. [1938]., London

Date d'édition : 1938

Reliure : Hardcover

Edition : 1st Edition

Description :

Octavo, pp. [1-4] 1-348, original pictorial light tan cloth, spine panel stamped in black. First edition. "A novel about the discovery of an island in the South Pacific with a matriarchal society run strictly along the lines of a bee-hive. Three men discover it by chance -- a pair of retired military officers and a High Church archdeacon who are, in the former case, larking about, and in the latter case, going to an island whose previous vicar was eaten by cannibals and whose natives are now in danger of converting to a nonconformist sect. They are shipwrecked on an island which they are shocked to find has been landscaped and cultivated to a very high degree. After taking shelter in a structure shaped like a giant bee hive, they wake to find themselves bound, gagged and taken prisoner by women dressed in uniforms. They eventually meet the elderly "Queen Bee" and learn the island's story. Seventy-five years earlier (i.e., circa 1875) this woman, who was intelligent and ambitious but stymied by the male chauvinism of the day, inherited a small fortune in England after surviving her two wastrel brothers and eventually discovered this island, which has magnetic properties that render nearby compasses useless. She bought it and set about recruiting similarly disaffected women from around the world to populate it, while maintaining agents around the world to recruit members, keep her informed of news, and procure supplies. Babies are also present on the island but, when asked as to their provenance, retires to a regal (and very Victorian!) diffidence. Most of the women have never seen men before and know of them only in the most pejorative fashion as "drones." The society seems to run smoothly enough (with the help of the massive Hive Orders manual), working diligently to produce the sweetness and light of their mascots. Should the men/drones be treated as guests or prisoners? Efforts to instruct them in the ways of the matriarchal culture are comically fruitless. And, with the proximity of males and females, Nature will have its way: the two military men pair off with women and plot to escape. They manage to do so in the chaos that follows the death of the elderly Queen. How are they to select a new queen? One fanatical faction takes the pattern of the bees literally and talks of flying around in the air, mating, killing the mate, and killing off all the other rival would-be queens. Another finds leadership in a woman who uses feminine wiles to fulfill these expectations without actually performing them. A curious work, not well-known to the genre, blending adventure, romance, comedy, satire and sociological speculation. It ventures into utopian territory and provokes reflection without falling into the quicksand of tiresome axe-grinding that has doomed so many other works. Among other things, it's a worthwhile contribution to feminist literature." - Robert Eldridge. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, Additions. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992) or Day, Supplemental Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Not in standard utopian or feminist bibliographies. A touch of offsetting to free endpapers, a clean, very good copy. (#152385). N° de réf. du libraire 152385

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