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222 T A.D. 3,000. The True Report    of a County Council Candidate’s Dream,    The People He Saw, What They Thought    of Him, and He of Them U nlike his contemporary, H. G. Wells, Bernard Shaw rarely took flights into prophecy. His most significant efforts in that genre would come much later, in the fantasies and prophecies of Back to Methuselah (1921), The Apple Cart (1929), The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles (1934), and Farfetched Fables (1948). In some ways, all of his late plays were prophecies. In 1889, however, he was under the influence of Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872) and Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1887) when in the guise of a dream-vision he drafted a remarkable political getout -the-vote appeal for a London County Council election. He was not running for office himself, but had spoken at a meeting of the Social Democratic Federation in Islington in support of its candidates. Two years later he was invited to stand for Parliament from Battersea, across the Thames, as a Socialist candidate, and begged off. He could not afford the time and the expense in a certain losing effort. In 1897, he did run for Vestryman, afterward Borough Councillor, for the London district of St. Pancras, and won the seat, then lost his bid four years later to represent St. Pancras in the London County Council to George Alexander, actor in and director of Oscar Wilde’s comedies. Some strikingly futuristic elements in “A. D. 3,000” suggest Shaw’s later plays—the long-lived Londoners; the new mechanical means of locomotion , from moving sidewalks to flying machines; vacuum cleaners; a telephone equipped with television screen (which precipitates an embarrassingly amusing moment in Back to Methuselah).There is even a foreshadowing of the phonetician Henry Higgins of Pygmalion. “It was nearly 17,” Shaw wrote in his diary for 14 January 1889, “when I got to work on an article, A County Councillor’s Dream, for the double number of The Star on Thursday. After the meeting I walked to Portland Rd. With [H. M.] Hyndman. Wrote a few letters when I got home.” The A.D. 3,000 223 dream-vision also written then was framed in matter-of-fact simplicity, to convey verisimilitude. Written in a single sitting. the pre-Wellsian experiment in fiction, not collected by Shaw afterwards in Short Stories, Scraps and Shavings (1932) for his Collected Edition, appeared in the Star forThursday, 17 January 1889, the day of the actual County Council election. In the text below, obvious typographical errors typical of newspaper texts are silently corrected.The original publication in the afternoon Star was anonymous. A.D. 3,000.The True Report of a County Council Candidate’s Dream [Bernard Shaw] I felt sure of being returned [to office] when I got to bed at last after addressing four meetings in the course of the day. My chief opponent is only a workman, and as the division for which I am standing is inhabited chiefly by men of his own class, he has not the slightest chance against me; for I am a member of the Board of Works, and an old Vestryman. No sooner had I blown out the candle and committed my head to the pillow than I began to imagine myself delivering speeches about what the new County Council would do for the people.The darkness swam with faces , but instead of listening they shifted in all directions like bubbles, in soda water. I was still hard at work trying to make myself heard when I suddenly found myself in full sunshine on a handsome bridge in the middle of a splendid city. Something about the general hang of the place and the course of the broad river seemed familiar to me; and yet I could not quite make up my mind about it. At first it seemed that nobody was about, but presently a colored man, with a tattooed face, quite the gentleman,though, turned away from the balustrade and asked me politely whether I could point out which was St. Paul’s. Taken aback by the question, I instinctively turned to the northeast shore, and there, sure enough, the first thing I saw was unmistakably the Monument [to the Great Fire]; but I recognized nothing else except the slope of Fish-street-hill. As for St. Paul’s, there was not a sign of it. I looked rather foolish, and told him that it must...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780944318478
Related ISBN
9780944318256
MARC Record
OCLC
830023703
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-18
Language
English
Open Access
No
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