To Great Lengths
In Jean-Baptiste François Xavier Cousin de Granville’s book, The Last Man, the end of the world is foretold, starting with the last two fertile people in the world. The only fertile man, Omegarus, is told by the Spirit of the Earth that he can start humanity over again. However, the marriage between Omegarus and the last fertile woman, Syderia, appears to be condemned by God. Omegarus wonders why he was brought to South America to find Syderia. The reason was the Spirit of the Earth.
The Spirit of the Earth manipulates humanity around him, in means of his own survival. He even goes so far to find all the secrets of nature to keep the earth alive, for his own sake (1). Considering Granville’s state of mind and distrust in humanity after being cast out of the clergy, he does not have much faith in the rest of his world in Paris. Therefore Granville sees those participating in the Enlightenment and participating the discovery of sciences as interrupters and destroyers of nature. This is personified in the Spirit of the Earth, who possesses vials of animals’ essences in his laboratory, in the center of the earth (2).
However, in the end, the Spirit of the Earth creates the end of the earth when the boilers in his laboratory explode (3). This is Granville’s thought of what happens if men of science continue to pursue all the secrets of nature, then this will lead to the destruction of the earth, very similar to how it ruined his.
1) Grainville, Jean, and I. F. Clarke. “Canto X.” In The Last Man, 123. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2002.
2) Grainville, Jean, and I. F. Clarke. “Canto X.” In The Last Man, 123. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2002.
3) Grainville, Jean, and I. F. Clarke. “Canto X.” In The Last Man, 134. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2002.