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Childermass, The

The Human Age

a novel by W. Lewis, published in 1928. The novel, the first part of Lewis's unfinished tetralogy The Human Age, is his most idiosyncratic—even eccentric—work. Part surrealist fantasy, part polemic, it opens with a magnificent topographical description of the plains of Dis, or Hell, where Lewis's protagonists, Pullman and Sattersthwaite, find themselves at the beginning of their comic odyssey into the Afterlife. In the course of their journey towards the Magnetic City (Purgatory), they pass through a number of different ‘time-zones’, in which their surroundings are alternately static or fluid, and undergo various changes of age, sex, and persona. The work satirizes, amongst other things, Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Bergson's theories of time, as well as the ‘stream of consciousness’ method of Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. It also offers an indictment of the mass political movements of communism and fascism, which Lewis regarded as equally pernicious.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cheltenham Gloucestershire to Cockermouth Cumbria