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Émile Souvestre: Le monde tel qu’il sera

“Under the rule of woman, there could be no doubt, no compromise, no dispute, on essentials.” — Walter Besant: The Revolt of Man

Émile Souvestre:

LE MONDE | TEL QU’IL SERA | PAR | ÉMILE SOUVESTRE, | illustré par | MM. BERTALL, O. PENGUILLY ET St-GERMAIN. | Vignette von Bertall | ÉDITÉ | PAR | W. COQUEBERT, | PARIS, rue jacob, 48.
Kolophon p. 324: paris. — typographie de schneider et langrand, rue d’erfurth, 1

Paris: Coquebert, 1846.

Octavo. 226 × 146 mm. [2] Bll. (Frontispiz und Titel), 324 Ss. (mit weiteren neun ganzseitigen ungezählten Holzstichtafeln).

Halbleder der Zeit mit etwas Rückenvergoldung.

Erste und einzige Ausgabe dieser schön illustrierten, ersten französischen Dystopie, die in 40 Lieferungen innerhalb der Jahre 1845 und 1846 erschien: von den Tafeln stammen neun von Bertall, i. e. Charles Constant Albert Nicolas d’Arnoux de Limoges Saint-Saëns (1820-1882), 80 Holzstiche im Text von ihm sowie von Octave Penguilly L’Haridon (1811-1870) und Jean-Baptiste Prosper Saint-Germain (1804-1875).
¶ Émile Souvestre (1806-1854) war Sohn eines in Morlaix geborenen Bauingenieurs, betätigte sich als Buchhändlerassistent, Privatschullehrer, Journalist und Gymnasiallehrer in Brest und Mulhausen. 1836 ließ er sich in Paris nieder, wo er 1848 zum Lehrer an einer Schule für den Beamtenunterricht ernannt wurde. Seine literarische Karriere begann 1828 mit einem Drama. Als Romanschriftsteller war er erfolgreicher als auf der Bühne, trotzdem er darauf abzielte, den Roman zu einem Motor moralischer Belehrung in einem sozialistischen Sinne zu machen.

Einband stärker berieben, bestoßen; Kapitale und Gelenke mit Fehlstellen. Die Tafeln papierbedingt gebräunt, sonst vom Rand her etwas gebräunt, einige Blatt fleckig.

Vicaire VII,636 - Sander 645 - Carteret II,340 – Bibliographienfrz. Text.

 

SOUVESTRE, ÉMILE (1806-1854), French novelist, was born on the 15th of April 1806. He was the son of a civil engineer, a native of Morlaix. He was by turns a bookseller's assistant, a private schoolmaster, a journalist, and master at the grammar schools of Brest and of Mulhausen. He settled in Paris in 1836, where he was made (1848) professor in a school for the instruction of civil servants. He began his literary career with a drama, played at the Théâtre français in 1828, the Siège de Missolonghi. In novel writing he did much better than for the stage, although he deliberately aimed at making the novel an engine of moral instruction. His best work is undoubtedly to be found in the charming Derniers Bretons (4 vols., 1835-1837) and Foyer breton (1844), where the folk-lore and natural features of his native province are worked up into story form, and in Un Philosophe sous les toits, which received in 1851 a well deserved academic prize. He also wrote a number of other works – novels, dramas, essays and miscellanies. He died in Paris on the 5th of July 1854. — Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Cambridge: University Press, 1911. Vol. XXV, p. 518.
 

 

Dystopie

 

Henry Lewis Younge: Utopia or Apollo’s Golden Days

Unhappy isle! scarce known to Fame;
DUSTOPIA was its slighted name.
Pure incense was her only boast;
Best product of her pious coast.
 
Again, a God forsakes the skies,
To make a sinking nation rise:
But needs not study, to assume
A shape, as Maia’s son for Rome.
To mortals, Stanhope he appears,
Come to dry up Dustopia’s tears.
No name so lov’d, nor form so fit,
To shroud the sprightly God of Wit.
 
Presumptuous, jarring Gods, said he;
Whose pow’rs are all deriv’d from me;
If our lov’d son be absent still,
He’s absent by our royal will.
This might suffice-yet will we deign
Our gracious motive to explain.
Reflect – in Saturn’s days and mine,
When rebel Titans dar’d combine;
And with repeated, impious arms,
Shook Heaven’s throne with loud alarms:
Dustopia own’d that shaking throne,
And made our royal cause her own.
We therefore, mindful of her zeal,
For yours and for your monarch’s weal,
Sent bright Apollo, for a while,
To cheer that loyal, drooping isle!
If gratitude appears on earth,
To heav’n the Goddess ow’d her birth:
Then, let her not be wholly driven,
To grosser earth, from purer heaven.
Such bliss we never gave before:
We ought no less – we could no more.
Thrice happy isle! the boast of fame:
Henceforth, Utopia be thy name.

 

Baptist Noel Turner: On his Disquisition respecting ‘Religious Establishments’

Suppose then we were to accommodate such a good irreligious, unprincipled king, with a set of your equally good. irreligious, unprincipled subjects, since, by supposition, there would be no real faith, honor, honesty, or public spirit on either side, this would doubtless give rise to a most enchanting Δυς-topia, which I must leave those who have more leisure and fancy than myself to depict in proper colors.

 

Mary Shelley: The Last Man

These are wild dreams. Yet since, now a week ago, they came on me, as I stood on the height of St. Peter's, they have ruled my imagination. I have chosen my boat, and laid in my scant stores. I have selected a few books; the principal are Homer and Shakespeare--But the libraries of the world are thrown open to me--and in any port I can renew my stock. I form no expectation of alteration for the better; but the monotonous present is intolerable to me. Neither hope nor joy are my pilots--restless despair and fierce desire of change lead me on. I long to grapple with danger, to be excited by fear, to have some task, however slight or voluntary, for each day's fulfilment. I shall witness all the variety of appearance, that the elements can assume--I shall read fair augury in the rainbow--menace in the cloud--some lesson or record dear to my heart in everything. Thus around the shores of deserted earth, while the sun is high, and the moon waxes or wanes, angels, the spirits of the dead, and the ever-open eye of the Supreme, will behold the tiny bark, freighted with Verney--the LAST MAN.

 

Émile Souvestre

L’âme humaine est ainsi faite, que la difficulté seule peut entretenir son ardeur. Passionnée pour le bien le plus futile s’il menace de lui échapper, elle reste indifférente à tout ce qu’elle obtient sans recherche et sans sacrifice. On aspire de toutes les forces de son désir à l’éloge qu’il faut arracher, tandis que l’on reçoit avec indifférence la lettre d’un admirateur inconnu ; on achète avec empressement les livres de l’écrivain que l’on n’a jamais vu, et, le jour où il vous les apporte, on cesse de les lire. On songe longtemps aux moyens de se présenter chez un voisin, et s’il fait, le premier, une visite, on se met vite sur la réserve. Il suffit de voir tous les jours l’homme que l’on estime pour n’y plus penser. Quand on le rencontrait une fois par année, on s’informait de ses projets, de ses travaux, de ses idées ; maintenant, on ne s’informe de rien ; il est entré dans le cercle de nos habitudes, il a cessé d’être un but, nous ne le regardons plus !

Étrange nature ! nous ne poursuivons que ce qui nous échappe, nous n’aimons que ce qui nous repousse, et tout ce qui vient nous chercher éveille, à l’instant, notre indifférence !

 

John Stuart Mill

I may be permitted, as one who, in common with many of my betters, have been subjected to the charge of being Utopian, to congratulate the Government on having joined that goodly company. It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable; but what they appear to favour is too bad to be practicable.

 

Fjodor Dostojewski: Der Großinquisitor

Da der Inquisitor seine Rede beendet hat, wartet er, daß der Gefangene ihm antworte, denn daß dieser schweigt, bedrückt ihn. Er sieht, wie der Gefangene ihm die ganze Zeit über aufmerksam zuhört und ihm dabei gerade ins Auge sieht, ohne daß Er auch nur im geringsten den Wunsch verriete, ihm zu erwidern. Der Greis möchte, daß Er ihm ein Wort nur sagte, ein stolzes meinetwegen, ein furchtbares. Doch Er steht plötzlich auf, tritt an den Greis heran und küßt ihn sanft auf dessen blutlose Lippen. Das war seine Antwort. Der Greis erbebt. Seine Mundwinkel bewegen sich. Er geht zur Tür, öffnet sie und spricht zu Ihm: ‚Gehe hinaus und kehre nicht wieder -- kehre nie wieder -- nie, nie!‘ Er läßt Ihn hinaus auf die ‚dunklen schweigenden Plätze‘ der Stadt. Der Gefangene geht hinaus.

 

Walter Besant: The Revolt of Man

Ever since Lord Chester had become awakened to the degradation of man and the possibility of his restoration, his mind had been continually exercised by the absolute impossibility of reconciling his new Cause with his Religion. How could the Grand Revolt be carried out in the teeth of the most sacred commandments? How could he remain a faithful servant of the Church, and yet rebel against the first law of the Church? How could he continue to worship the Perfect Woman when he was thrusting woman out of her place? We may suppose Cromwell, by way of parallel, trying to reconcile the divine right of kings with the execution of Charles the First.

 

Robert Hugh Benson: Lord of the World

There was no change in that sky from its state an hour before, except that perhaps it had lightened a little as the sun climbed higher behind that impenetrable dusky shroud. Hills, grass, men's faces—all bore to the priest's eyes the look of unreality; they were as things seen in a dream by eyes that roll with sleep through lids weighted with lead. Even to other physical senses that unreality was present; and once more he remembered his dream, thankful that that horror at least was absent. But silence seemed other than a negation of sound, it was a thing in itself, an affirmation, unruffled by the sound of footsteps, the thin barking of dogs, the murmur of voices. It appeared as if the stillness of eternity had descended and embraced the world's activities, and as if that world, in a desperate attempt to assert its own reality, was braced in a set, motionless, noiseless, breathless effort to hold itself in being. What Silvester had said just now was beginning to be true of this man also. The touch of the powdery soil and the warm pebbles beneath the priest's bare feet seemed something apart from the consciousness that usually regards the things of sense as more real and more intimate than the things of spirit. Matter still had a reality, still occupied space, but it was of a subjective nature, the result of internal rather than external powers. He appeared to himself already to be scarcely more than a soul, intent and steady, united by a thread only to the body and the world with which he was yet in relations. He knew that the appalling heat was there; once even, before his eyes a patch of beaten ground cracked and lisped as water that touches hot iron, as he trod upon it. He could feel the heat upon his forehead and hands, his whole body was swathed and soaked in it; yet he regarded it as from an outside standpoint, as a man with neuritis perceives that the pain is no longer in his hand but in the pillow which supports it. So, too, with what his eyes looked upon and his ears heard; so, too, with that faint bitter taste that lay upon his lips and nostrils. There was no longer in him fear or even hope—he regarded himself, the world, and even the enshrouding and awful Presence of spirit as facts with which he had but little to do. He was scarcely even interested; still less was he distressed. There was Thabor before him—at least what once had been Thabor, now it was no more than a huge and dusky dome-shape which impressed itself upon his retina and informed his passive brain of its existence and outline, though that existence seemed no better than that of a dissolving phantom.

It seemed then almost natural—or at least as natural as all else—as he came in through the passage and opened the chapel-door, to see that the floor was crowded with prostrate motionless figures. There they lay, all alike in the white burnous which he had given out last night; and, with forehead on arms, as during the singing of the Litany of the Saints at an ordination, lay the figure he knew best and loved more than all the world, the shoulders and white hair at a slight elevation upon the single altar step. Above the plain altar itself burned the six tall candles; and in the midst, on the mean little throne, stood the white-metal monstrance, with its White Centre ….

Then he, too, dropped, and lay as he was ….

 

Alfred Kubin: Die andere Seite

Die bekannten Geistes- und Nervenkrankheiten, Veitstanz, Epilepsie und Hysterie traten jetzt als Massenerscheinungen auf. Nahezu jeder Mensch hatte einen nervösen Tik oder litt an einer Zwangsvorstellung. Platzangst, Halluzinationen, Melancholien, Starrkrämpfe mehrten sich in besorgniserregender Weise, aber man tollte fort, und je mehr sich die grauenhaftesten Selbstmorde häuften, um so wüster trieben es die Überlebenden. In den Gastwirtschaften kam es zu den blutigsten Messerstechereien. Ich konnte keine Nacht mehr ruhig schlafen, der Lärm drang störend aus dem Kaffeehaus bis in mein Zimmer. Die Zügellosigkeit steigerte sich, man wagte schließlich alles. (...)

Eine unwiderstehliche Schlafsucht senkte sich auf Perle. Im Archiv brach sie aus und verbreitete sich von da über Stadt und Land. Kein Mensch konnte der Epidemie widerstehen. Wer sich eben noch seiner Frische rühmte, hatte, ehe er sich’s versah, den Keim der Krankheit schon irgendwo aufgefaßt. (...)

Das Unheimlichste war ein rätselhafter Prozeß, der mit dem Überhandnehmen der Tiere begann; unaufhaltsam und immer rascher zunahm und die Ursache zum völligen Untergange des Traumreichs wurde. — Die Zerbröckelung. — Sie ergriff alles. Die Bauten aus so verschiedenem Material, die in Jahren zusammengebrachten Gegenstände, all das, wofür der Herr sein Gold hingegeben hatte, war der Vernichtung geweiht. Gleichzeitig traten in allen Mauern Sprünge auf, wurde das Holz morsch, rostete alles Eisen, trübte sich das Glas, zerfielen die Stoffe. Kostbare Kunstschätze verfielen unwidersatehlich der innnern Zerstörung, ohne daß sich ein zureichender Grund dafür angeben ließ.

Eine Krankheit der leblosen Materie. — Moder und Schimmel gab es in den bestgehaltenen Häusern; es mußte ein zersetzender, unbekannter Stoff in der Luft liegen, denn frische Speisen, Milch, Fleisch, später auch Eier wurden in einigen Stunden sauer und faul. Viele Häuser barsten und mußten schleunigst von den Einwohnern verlassen werden.

 

Hans Dominik: Die Macht der Drei

Zu meinen Füßen liegt die Welt! Was bin ich? ... Was bin ich?! Bin ich der Herr? ... Ja ... ja! Ich bin ihr Herr. Ich habe die Macht, sie zu zwingen! ... Zwingen ... zum Guten zwingen. Ein guter, ein gerechter Herr will ich sein. Aber wenn sie mir zu trotzen wagen?! ... Trotzen ... wer will mir trotzen? ... Kein Sterblicher! ... Auf Erden keiner ... keiner! ... Silvester ... Atma? ... Auch die nicht ... Ha! ... der eine sicher nicbt. Den hat das Schicksal genommen, als er sein Geschick erfüllt ... Der andere! ... Atma? ... Atma! ... Atma!! ... Fiel Cäsar nicht durch Brutus’ Hand? ... Atma! ... Rief ich dich.

Es war eine Gabe des letzten noch lebenden Trägers der Macht für sie ... für ihren Knaben. Die Stimme des alten Termölen drang in ihr Sinnen: ‚... Die Macht ... die unendliche Macht. Woher kam sie? ... Wohin ging sie? ... Warum?‘ ...

 

Aldous Huxley: Prisons

The fantasy of Piranesi’s Prisons is wholly different in quality from that displayed in the works of any of his immediate predecessors. All the plates in the series are self-evidently variations on a single symbol, whose reference is to things existing in the physical and metaphysical depths of human souls — to acedia and confusion, to nightmare and angst, to incomprehension and a panic bewilderment.

The most disquietingly obvious fact about all these dungeons is the perfect pointlessness which reigns throughout. Their architecture is colossal and magnificent. One is made to feel that the genius of great artists and the labour of innumerable slaves have gone into the creation of these monuments, every detail of which is completely without a purpose. Yes, without a purpose: for the staircases lead nowhere, the vaults support nothing but their own weight and enclose vast spaces that are never truly rooms, but only ante-rooms, lumber-rooms, vestibules, outhouses. And this magnificence of Cyclopean stone is everywhere made squalid by wooden ladders, by flimsy gangways and cat-walks. And the squalor is for squalor’s sake, since all these rickety roads through space are manifestly without destination. Below them, on the floor, stand great machines incapable of doing anything in particular, and from the arches overhead hang ropes that carry nothing except a sickening suggestion of torture. Some of the Prisons are lighted only by narrow windows. Others are half open to the sky, with hints of yet other vaults and walls in the distance. But even where the enclosure is more or less complete, Piranesi always contrives to give the impression that this colossal pointlessness goes on indefinitely, and is co-extensive with the universe. Engaged in no recognisable activity, paying no attention to one another, a few small, faceless figures haunt the shadows. Their insignificant presence merely emphasises the fact that there is nobody at home.

Physiologically, every human being is always alone, suffering in solitude, enjoying in solitude, incapable of participating in the vital processes of his fellows. But, though self-contained, this island-organism is never self-sufficient. Each living solitude is dependent upon other living solitudes and, more completely still, upon the ocean of being from which it lifts its little reef of individuality. The realisation of this paradox of solitude in the midst of dependence, isolation accompanied by insufficiency, is one of the principal causes of confusion and acedia and anxiety. And in their turn, of course, confusion and acedia and anxiety intensify the sense of loneliness and make the human paradox seem yet more tragic. The occupants of Piranesi’s Prisons are the hopeless spectators of this pomp of worlds, this pain of birth — this magnificence without meaning, this incomprehensible misery without end and beyond the power of man to understand or to bear. (...)

Considered from a purely formal standpoint, the Prisons are remarkable as being the nearest eighteenth century approach to abstract art. The raw material of Piranesi’s designs consists of architectural forms; but, because the Prisons are images of confusion, because their essence is pointlessness, the combination of architectural forms never adds up to an architectural drawing, but remains a free design, untrammelled by any considerations of utility or even possibility, and limited only by the necessity of evoking the general idea of a building. In other words, Piranesi uses architectural forms to produce a series of beautifully intricate designs — designs which resemble the abstractions of the Cubists in being composed of geometrical elements, but which have the advantage of combining pure geometry with enough subject matter, enough literature, to express more forcibly than a mere pattern can do, the obscure and terrible states of spiritual confusion and acedia.
Piranesi Carceri d’Invenzione, 1761

 

Dennis Gräf und Martin Hennig: Die Verengung der Welt. Zur medialen Konstruktion Deutschlands unter SARS-CoV-2 und Covid-19 anhand der Formate «ARD Extra» und «ZDF Spezial»

Während Bilder von deutschen Krankenhäusern in der Regel mit dem originalen Hintergrund-Ton gezeigt werden (siehe zum Beispiel das ZDF Spezial vom 28. März 2020, 00:30ff. und 07:35ff.), werden in der erwähnten New York-Sendung sowohl zu Beginn als auch am Ende Musik bzw. Geräusche gewählt (Sirenenton, obwohl keine Einsatzfahrzeuge zu sehen sind), die in ihrer Beschaffenheit Anleihen beim Hollywood-Blockbuster machen. Damit geht eine spezifische Ästhetik einher, die üblicherweise für fiktionale Formate reserviert ist, obwohl es hier doch gerade um die Dokumentation einer Wirklichkeit geht. Genau diese wird aber durch die gewählte Inszenierungsstrategie konterkariert, indem durch die Musik eine Emotionalisierungsstrategie zur Anwendung kommt und die Hollywood-Ästhetik eine Art dystopische Endzeitstimmung generiert. Diese Strategie ist, wie wir bereits unter dem Aspekt ‹Gesellschaft in der Krise› ausgeführt haben, auch schon in den Bildwelten der regulären Beiträge angelegt; in der New York-Sendung wird allerdings deutlich, dass das Dystopische ins Quasi-Fiktionale gesteigert und das Thema zur Inszenierung wird.