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The Mark of the Beast, by Sydney Watson

Unusually, two posts in one day. This is something I've also posted on Tumblr, but I wonder if it won't get more discussion here...

We found an old copy on a free bookshelf in town, and within minutes we were in raptures (sorry) over the writing, which at times resembles Ebony Dark'Ness Dementia Raven Way on acid, if Ebony Dark'Ness Etc. were inhabiting the body of a fusty early 20th century man determined to stop women... well, doing anything, really. Sydney Watson’s 1915 novel, The Mark of the Beast, is basically the granddaddy of novels about the Rapture. Without this book and its ilk, no Left Behind series.

It’s an odd mix of preposterousness, bigotry (mainly of the patronising anti-Semitism and vintage misogyny varieties), eugenics and incredibly purple prose. When he rails against modern books encouraging women to feel they belong to themselves, and free love, and all the rest of it, he’s bitching about the likes of H.G. Wells, who wrote socially progressive novels at the time.

It’s also a book so bad that even a Rapture-believing Christian complains in a particularly satisfying Goodreads review that, were they not reading it digitally, they’d feel the urge to fling it across the room… in fact, if you want to find out more about this stuff, you really need to look at Christian sources, where there is much eloquent eye-rolling over this book and its contemporaries...



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2014 05:21 pm (UTC)
Actually I don't mind the prose at all. I mean it does do a lot of describing, but it doesn't linger too long and is reasonably well balanced.

I feel like I've become inured to stuff like that :P
Jan. 11th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
The thing about it is that, above all, it IS a page-turner!
Jan. 11th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
Wow. That is a... special book. I'm impressed you actually managed to read it!
Jan. 11th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
I consumed it mostly as a listener - my boyfriend felt compelled to share a lot of it with me!
Jan. 12th, 2014 01:59 am (UTC)
How have I missed this? *downloads*
Jan. 12th, 2014 10:04 am (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )