Starman: the rise of the ‘cosmic traveller’

Neil Cornwell

in Odoevsky's Four Pathways into Modern Fiction

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780719082092
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702062 | DOI:
Starman: the rise of the ‘cosmic traveller’

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This chapter examines the motif of round-the-world flight, and the impact on surrounding society of the quirks of a single life, in Odoevsky's tale The Live Corpse. It is seen to be developed into what purports to be interplanetary flight. The chapter also examines the rise and fall of a civilisation, in Dostoevsky's late story The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Particulars of such supposed cosmic travel may have been, in part at least, ‘borrowed’ by his successors from Dostoevsky. However this may be, such things are seen to be taken very much further, in twentieth-century English horror and science fiction writing, in key works by William Hope Hodgson and Olaf Stapledon.

Keywords: Odoevsky; The Live Corpse; interplanetary flight; science fiction; William Hope Hodgson

Chapter.  8269 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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