Starman
The rise of the ‘cosmic traveller’
in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
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This chapter examines the motif of round-the-world flight, and the impact on surrounding society of the quirks of a single life, in Odoevsky's tale The Live Corpse. It is seen to be developed into what purports to be interplanetary flight. The chapter also examines the rise and fall of a civilisation, in Dostoevsky's late story The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Particulars of such supposed cosmic travel may have been, in part at least, ‘borrowed’ by his successors from Dostoevsky. However this may be, such things are seen to be taken very much further, in twentieth-century English horror and science fiction writing, in key works by William Hope Hodgson and Olaf Stapledon.

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