Топ-100 ⓘ New Amazonia: A Foretaste of the Future is a feminist utopia
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ⓘ New Amazonia: A Foretaste of the Future is a feminist utopian novel, written by Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett and first published in 1889. It was one element in th ..




New Amazonia
                                     

ⓘ New Amazonia

New Amazonia: A Foretaste of the Future is a feminist utopian novel, written by Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett and first published in 1889. It was one element in the wave of utopian and dystopian literature that marked the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

                                     

1. Context

Corbett wrote the novel in response to Mrs Humphry Wards "An Appeal Against Female Suffrage", an open letter published in The Nineteenth Century and signed by over a hundred other women against the extension of Parliamentary suffrage to women.

                                     

2. Plot

In her novel, Corbett envisions a successful suffragette movement eventually giving rise to a breed of highly evolved "Amazonians" who turn Ireland into a utopian society. The books female narrator wakes up in the year 2472, much like Julian West awakens in the year 2000 in Edward Bellamys Looking Backward 1888. Corbetts heroine, however, is accompanied by a man of her own time, who has similarly awakened from a hashish dream to find himself in New Amazonia.

The Victorian woman and man are given an account of intervening history by one of the Amazonians. In the early twentieth century, war between Britain and Ireland decimated the Irish population; the British repopulated the island with their own surplus women. Women came to dominate all aspects of society on the island.

The history lesson is followed by a tour of the new society, which embodies a version of state socialism. Men are allowed to live on the island, but cannot hold political office: "masculine government has always held openings for the free admission of corruption, injustice, immorality, and narrow-minded, self-glorifying bigotry." The Amazonians are vegetarians; they employ euthanasia, eliminating malformed children - and bastards. They maintain their superiority by practicing "nerve-rejuvenation," in which the life energy of dogs is transferred to humans. The result is that the Amazonians grow to be seven feet tall, and live for hundreds of years but look no older than forty. The narrator tries the procedure herself: "The sensation I experienced was little more than a pin-prick in intensity, but.I felt ten years younger and stronger, and was proportionately elated at my good fortune."

The narrator reacts very positively to what she sees and learns; but her male companion reacts precisely oppositely and adjusts badly - to the point where the Amazonians judge him to be insane. The narrator nonetheless tries to protect her male counterpart, and in the process is accidentally transported back to the grimmer realities of Victorian England.

                                     

3. Matriarchy resistance

W. H. Hudsons second novel, A Crystal Age 1887, published two years earlier than Corbetts book, also contains the plot element of a nineteenth-century man who cannot adapt to a matriarchal society of the future.

                                     

4. The author

Little is known about Newcastle journalist Elizabeth Corbett, who published as "Mrs. George Corbett." Some of her fifteen novels - mysteries, adventure stories, and mainstream fiction - have clear feminist themes and elements, despite the traditional values of the age in which she lived and worked.

                                     
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