A WORLD OF WOMEN

By: HILOBROW
March 15, 2022

Today marks the publication of A World of Women, a proto-sf post-apocalyptic novel from the genre’s Radium Age (c. 1900–1935). Hooray!

This is the second installment in MIT Press’s brand-new Radium Age series. The founding editor of the series is HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn.

MIT Press’s edition of J.D. Beresford’s A World of Women is introduced by HILOBROW friend Astra Taylor, who is director of the philosophical documentaries Zizek! (2005), Examined Life (2008), and What Is Democracy? (2018). She is also author of the American Book Award winner The People’s Platform (2014) and Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone (2019), and a co-author of Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: The Case for Economic Disobedience and Debt Abolition (2020). Her latest book is Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions (2021).

More info on the book below…


J.D. BERESFORD
A WORLD OF WOMEN

Introduction by ASTRA TAYLOR
(March 8, 2022)


Cover designed & illustrated by Seth

Imagine a plague that brings society to a standstill by killing off most of the men on Earth. The few men who survive descend into lechery and atavism. Meanwhile, a group of women (accompanied by one virtuous male survivor) leave the wreckage of London to start fresh, establishing a communally run agrarian outpost. But their sexist society hasn’t permitted most of them to learn any useful skills — will the commune survive their first winter? This is the bleak world imagined in 1913 by English writer J. D. Beresford — one that has particular resonance for the planet’s residents in the 2020s. This edition of A World of Women offers twenty-first century readers a new look at a neglected classic.

Beresford introduces us to the solidly bourgeois, prim and proper, Gosling family. As once-bustling London shuts down — Parliament closes, factories grind to a halt, nature reclaims stone and steel — the paterfamilias Mr. Gosling adopts a life of libertinism while his daughters in the countryside struggle to achieve a radically transformed and improved, egalitarian and feminist future.

“A satire on the lives women lead nowadays and the appalling vanity of modern civilization.” — The Publisher’s Weekly (1913)

“It is a piece of the most vivid imaginative realism, as well as a challenge to our vaunted civilization.” — The Living Age (1916)

A World of Women speaks as urgently to the world today as to that of 100 years ago in its insistence that crisis must also be recognized as opportunity — to change our society, not to restore it.” — Sherryl Vint, Professor and Chair, Department of English, University of California, Riverside (endorsement for MIT Press edition)

J.D. BERESFORD (1873–1947) was an English dramatist, journalist, and author. His proto-sf novels include The Hampdenshire Wonder (1911), A World of Women (1913), and The Riddle of the Tower (1944, with Esme Wynne-Tyson); he also wrote in the horror and ghost story genres. A great admirer of H.G. Wells, he wrote the first critical study of Wells in 1915. His daughter, Elisabeth Beresford (1926–2010), was creator of the literary and TV franchise The Wombles.

Originally published in 1913. See this book at MIT Press.

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RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF FROM THE MIT PRESS: VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, ed. Joshua Glenn | J.D. Beresford’s A WORLD OF WOMEN | E.V. Odle’s THE CLOCKWORK MAN | H.G Wells’ THE WORLD SET FREE | Pauline Hopkins’ OF ONE BLOOD | J.J. Connington’s NORDENHOLT’S MILLION | Rose Macaulay’s WHAT NOT | Cicely Hamilton’s THEODORE SAVAGE | Arthur Conan Doyle’s THE LOST WORLD & THE POISON BELT | G.K. Chesterton’s THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL | William Hope Hodgson’s THE NIGHT LAND | MORE VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, ed. Joshua Glenn | MORE TBA.

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RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF: “Radium Age” is Josh Glenn’s name for the nascent sf genre’s c. 1900–1935 era, a period which saw the discovery of radioactivity, i.e., the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. More info here.

Categories

Kudos, Radium Age SF