A refereed scholarly Website devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture
The Last Man
Includes HTML, ASCII, and SGML versions, other works by Mary Shelley, works and excerpts from works cited by Shelley, bibliography, maps, images & sound files, critical essays, contemporary works on plague, notes.
Alexander Ypsilanti (1792-1828) was a member of a prominent political family and the leader in exile of the movement for Greek Independence. He led the initial uprising in 1821 that proclaimed Independence and opened the wars of the following decade.
The Last Man, supposedly given to our "editor" as cryptic, prophetic fragments written on Sibylline leaves, takes place in an imagined twenty-first century. This places it in a tradition of futuristic fiction that includes eighteenth-century works by authors such as Grainville and Mercier, for example, and, in the nineteenth century, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
Windsor is 21 miles west of central London. Just south of the town is Windsor Great Park, over 2,000 acres, divided by the Long Walk (originally planted by Charles II) from the Home Park and Windsor Castle.
H. G. Wells published The Time Machine [external link (UVa ETC)] in 1895, the science-fictional story of a time traveler who visits the future and sees first the strange devolution, and then (as in The Last Man) the eventual extinction of the human race. For the influence of Darwin's theory of evolution on Well's dystopian fiction, see Fiona Stafford.