27 April 2017

Review: Voices Prophesying War by I. F. Clarke

Hardcover, 268 pages
Published 1992 (first edition: 1966)
Borrowed from the library
Read January 2013
Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-3749
by I. F. Clarke

Voices Prophesying War is the classic study of future-war fiction. It technically begins in 1763, but I. F. Clarke's study really kicks off with 1871 and The Battle of Dorking, and the book's real focus is the period from 1880 to 1914, where future war fiction was immensely popular. Clarke traces its interaction with science and with politics, and these three chapters are the real heart of the book. Clarke's reading is wide and deep, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think contemporary literary critics would look at this body of work as its own distinctive genre, with its own features and projects. I found the post-Great War sections of the book less interesting, but then I would.

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