25 August 2016

Review: The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel

Trade paperback, 295 pages
Published 2012 (originally 1901)
Previously read March 2011 
Acquired June 2014
Reread September 2014
The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel

I read this book and loved it, so I was a little disappointed when I taught it in the context of a seminar on British literature from 1890 to 1950, and my students pretty much bounced off it, finding it all a bit weird. I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed, too, as I remembered it being weirder. The notes to the Penguin Classics edition I assigned to my students indicate its copy text is the novel's original 1901 serialization, whereas the 2001 Bison Frontiers of the Imagination edition I'd read a few years prior was drawn from a 1929 revision, so maybe that accounts for the difference. (Editor John Sutherland's claim that Shiel was fortunate to not live long enough to see the 1959 film adaptation The World, the Flesh and the Devil is, however, total pish. The film is excellent.)

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