Nationalism and than some
When reading The Last Man by Granville I decided that it was the greatest most ridiculous book I’d ever read. Most of the reasoning behind this is because nationalism just oozes out of the pages in a way that had me laughing. At first it was not that bad because with the author being French it was not that much of a stretch that the protagonist of the novel would also be French. Even the fact that Great Britain has been completely obliterated is not that much of a stretch especially since it is a rather small island but when they get to Brazil is when I begin to find it funny rather than serious.The point at which this happened is when all the maidens were gathered together and then described as being fair as lilies with flaxen hair. There is no possible way that all the available women in the Americas conformed to the French standard of beauty so this is when Granville loses me due to his very nationalistic worldviews. At this point in the reading I continued on with the thought that the author obviously had issues seeing the world in anyway other than his ideal. When I finished the book and read about Napoleons statue as well as Omegarus being his descendent I still found it to be amusing but within the context of the authors’ life it made a bit more sense. He obviously did not like the revolution and hoped that Napoleon would be a return to having a king so that in essence life as he knew it would be restored. While I can understand his nationalistic views in the case of The Last Man they actually take away from the novel itself but add more to the backstory of its creation. If the novel had just taken a more worldly view I would have classed it as something I would actually enjoy rereading but as it is I just can’t take it seriously.
- De Granville, Xavier Cousin, The Last Man (Middleton: Wesleyan University Press, 2002)