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Sydney Fowler Wright

Publication Year: 2003

First published in 1927, Deluge is one of the most famous of the English catastrophe novels. Beautifully written and action packed--RKO Radio Pictures even filmed this story--the novel depicts a flood so severe that it destroys modern civilization, leaving the few survivors to adapt to the rigors of the natural world. Like other English writers responding to the trauma of World War I, Sydney Fowler Wright expresses a loathing of the worst aspects of industrialization. The flood, in his view, becomes an opportunity for the remaking of society. The protagonists soon realize that civilization and technology have divorced them from the knowledge and skills necessary for survival. Released from their over-reliance on social regulation, they struggle to overcome their own brutality to develop a new sense of community. For over 75 years readers have praised this book for its style and wisdom, and debated the meaning of its controversial ending. This Wesleyan edition is graced with an excellent introduction and annotations by leading science fiction scholar Brian Stableford.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction


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pp. v


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pp. vii

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pp. xi-lviii

Sydney Fowler Wright was born on 6 January 1874 in the Midlands town of Smethwick. He was the son of Stephen Wright (1841-1936), an accountant, and Emily Gertrude Fowler (1843-82). He was sent to King Edward's School in Birmingham, but he left in January 1885, having completed only two terms, shortly after his eleventh birthday. ...


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pp. lix

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pp. 1-5

To an observer from a distant planet the whole movement would have appeared trivial. There was probably no point at which land either sank or rose to one five-thousandth of the earth's diameter. But water and land were so nearly at one level that the slightest tremor was sufficient either to drain or flood them. ...

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BOOK I. Martin and Helen

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pp. 7-38

May 31 was Whit-Sunday. It was one of those rare days that the English climate would sometimes give to those who had grown weary of its more sinister vagaries, green and cool and sunny after a week of showers. It was on that day that Mrs. Templeton lunched at the Websters. ...

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BOOK II. Claire

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pp. 39-76

Claire Arlington stood on the edge of what had once been a steep hillside in the Upper Cotswolds.1 Now it was lapped by a tide that rose within eighty feet of the summit. ...

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BOOK III. Martin and Claire

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pp. 77-147

The later summer came, and Martin was still alone. He had made his headquarters about a mile away from his first location. ...

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BOOK IV. Helen and Claire

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pp. 149-219

There are women who are incapable of tragedy. An invincible triviality protects them. ...

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BOOK V. Three

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pp. 221-300

Martha Barnes cleaned her pre-deluge doorstep. It was the only part of her original tenement which was still available for such ministrations. Martha was a widow. She was the sister-in-law of Navvy Barnes, of whose end we know, ...

Appendix: Fowler Wrights's Prefoace to the Second Edition of Deluge

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pp. 301-305


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pp. 307-322


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pp. 323-329

E-ISBN-13: 9780819570673
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819566591

Page Count: 393
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Early Classics of Science Fiction