In this futurist story written by the popular Canadian humorist Stephen B. Leacock (1869-1944) there are observations of human nature which are as refreshing today as when they were written in 1911. Leacock describes a world where the inhabitants are clad in long-wearing suits of asbestos; where death has been eliminated, although a person can be broken; and where only a vestigial memory of Work remains, anything requiring effort was accomplished centuries ago - in short, a perfect world. This utopia is illustrated in this edition by photo-engravings of drawings by Jan Vredeman de Vries, the Dutch architect, painter, and engraver of the 16th century. His drawings show us a perfectly ordered world and serve as a flawless backdrop to Leacock's future world. Additionally, photo-engravings of drawings by Peggy Gotthold have been made to describe the character of the Man in Asbestos.
From the Introduction
The popular humorist, Stephen B. Leacock (1869-1944) first published "The Man in Asbestos" in 1911, one in a collection of stories he called Nonsense Novels. Leacock was a professor of political economy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He began his writing career with Elements of Political Science, published in 1906; a book recognized as a standard text in its field at the time. He has over fifty volumes to his credit, his serious contributions almost equaling his humorous ones in number. But he was most proud of his huge output of "funny pieces", producing at least one book a year from 1906-1936. Fellow Canadian Robertson Davies describes Leacock's humor as "flowing in the greatest tradition, not of wit, not of irony or sarcasm, but of true and deep humor, the full and joyous recognition of the Comic Spirit at work in life." Leacock once said that "writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult." From the prolific and inventive writing of Stephen Leacock, we have chosen this early story which, 90 years after it was written, still describes a world which may yet exist. He forces us to face our still-uncertain future, but we find ourselves enjoying the experience.
This, the premiere edition of Foolscap Press, was designed, printed, and bound by Peggy Gotthold and Lawrence G. Van Velzer and is limited to 150 copies. The book is 48 pages, 6 5/8 x 9 inches oblong and is printed letterpress on Mohawk Superfine paper on a Hacker Hand Press. The type is set in Monotype San Serif and the books are bound by hand in Japanese cloth over boards.
The price is $50. Discounts are applied to orders from book dealers and institutions. Sales and transit taxes apply to California residents. Please include $5. for shipping and handling. Inquiries and orders should be made to:
412 Trevethan Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062. USA
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