The Last of the Race: The Growth of a Myth from Milton to Darwin

Synopsis

The perennial fascination with the end of the world has given rise to many "last men," from the ancient myths of Noah and Deucalion to contemporary stories of nuclear holocaust. This is an innovative and wide-ranging study of the myth of the "Last of the Race" as it develops in a range of literary and non-literary texts from the late seventeenth to late nineteenth centuries. Examinations of works by Milton, Burnet, Defoe, Ossian, Cowper, Wordsworth, Byron, Mary Shelley, Fenimore Cooper, Bulwer-Lytton, and Darwin combine to form an important account of the traces of this most resonant of cultural preoccupations, providing a distinguished contribution to cultural history as well as to literary studies.

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