Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A book that begs for flashlight reading

Serendipitous with my enjoyment of M. T. Anderson's refereeing of Charles and Emma v. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, I had the best time last week reading the equally Darwinian-themed The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1912. Somehow I had always missed this novel (and its subsequent movie spinoffs), but my ten-year-old self would have loved it. You can tell how much fun Conan Doyle had  playing with Darwin's theories; the book busily throws poisonous snakes, ape-people, Indians, and dinosaurs at the bombastic Professor Challenger and his crew, who dip into a dizzy smorgasbord of scientific thought to account for what they are seeing. Cheerfully racist and violent, though, so I can't imagine the book regaining a foothold today.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

My ten-year-old self DID love this book -- and even my 46-year-old self when I reread it again recently. So glad to hear you mention an old favorite, no matter how 'cheerfully racist and violent.' (!) Loved all of the movies, too.

Roger Sutton said...

It would have been great when I was re-reading Journey to the Center of the Earth for the hundredth time.