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Émile Souvestre: Le monde tel qu’il sera

 

 

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.

 

«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 ! » — Troisième journée, § XXI.
 

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.

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.” — Speech, 1868.

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

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 dien Inwohnern verlassen werden.