A visit to Blestland.

London, George Robertson & co., 1896.

8vo, pp. [6], 310; an excellent clean copy, in the publisher’s original green cloth gilt, green patterned endpapers; a few light marks to front board, minimal wear to corners and end-caps; prize inscription to Evelyn Stirling to first free endpapers dated 7 April 1920.


US $354€331

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A visit to Blestland.

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First edition of this novel of utopian socialism which lambasts capitalism and religion. Blestland is a republican workers’ paradise located on a different planet which reveals how the divisions of earth can be abolished: by limiting ‘the enormous power for evil which capital can wield’. Monopolist powers are forbidden, resulting in a society in which ‘you will look in vain for class or religious hatreds, abject poverty and general discontents’. Published six years after William Morris’s News from nowhere, the novel fits securely into the contemporary corpus of utopian socialist fiction. Here organized religion is especially singled out as an evil: ‘fanaticism... accounts for the deplorable want of unity among the masses’, as monopolists stay in power by exploiting workers’ religious differences. Indeed, a missionary provides the plot’s nemesis. The plot manifests Blestland as a dream, which vanished upon waking.

OCLC finds copies at Oxford, Cambridge, BL, and National Library of Scotland. A search via the National Library of Australia finds an additional nine copies.

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