Although the Victorians seemed to know a good deal about what went on within the boundaries of this present world, they were often discontented with what they knew and frequently speculated about existence beyond those boundaries. Their more fantastic speculations took them into the world of dreams, down rabbit-holes and back of the north wind. Their speculations led them to cavort with dongs and jumblies and to give fairy-stories a new seriousness. Such Victorian ‘fantasies’ were essentially speculations about other worlds, but the Victorians also speculated about the future of their own world and there are some advantages in seeing such speculations as further examples of the fantasy writers’ preoccupations. One of the strangest of these studies is Richard Jefferies’ After London (1885). It must be admitted that it is by no means as successful a composition as those later Victorian studies of the future, Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872) or William Morris’s News from Nowhere (1890), but it illustrates, better than they do, the confused nature of Victorian fantasy writers’ responses to their society.
KeywordsBurning Beach Silt Lost Metaphor
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