Tomorrow's Eve

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 2001 - Fiction - 222 pages
2 Reviews

Take one inventive genius indebted to the friend who saved his life; add an English aristocrat hopelessly consumed with a selfish and spiritually bankrupt woman; stir together with a Faustian pact to create the perfect woman--and voil ! Tomorrow's Eve is served.

Robert Martin Adams's graceful translation is the first to bring to English readers this captivating fable of a Thomas Edison-like inventor and his creation, the radiant and tragic android Hadaly.

Adams's introduction sketches the uncompromising idealism of the proud but penurious aristocrat Jean Marie Mathias Philippe Auguste, Count Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, a friend and admired colleague of Charles Baudelaire, St phane Mallarm , and Richard Wagner.

Villiers dazzles us with a gallery of electronic wonders while unsettling us with the implications of his (and our) increasingly mechanized and mechanical society. A witty and acerbic tale in which human nature, spiritual values, and scientific possibilities collide, Tomorrow's Eve retains an enduring freshness and edge.

 

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User Review  - satyreyes - LibraryThing

Tomorrow's Eve is a French novel, first published in 1886. It is, equally, a hard science-fiction philosophical page-turner -- the story of how Thomas Edison invents a robot girlfriend for an ... Read full review

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A horrid piece of literature. There are two terrible things about it. First, it's horrendously sexist. Women are meant only to give men pleasure, according to every character, and presumably, the author. And women even fail at that!
Second, the book is hard to read. Most of it is a repetitive (though, personally, not uninteresting) work of literature with literally no plot. It is mostly a debate between two men about, you guessed it, how women are meant only to give men pleasure, and women even fail at that! The other part of the book is a lecture by Edison as he describes his creation, which, though it is a completely fictional thing, seemingly deserves dozens of pages for the description of its inner workings. Despite this lengthy explanation, the reader is left with no real understanding of the machine's inner workings, and, in fact, has no clear idea of what the Android looks like. It's like reading a transcript from a college lecture which concerns your favorite topic and was given by your favorite professor... but the topic was calculus and the professor taught art! The author often had no idea how to succinctly express his ideas in Tomorrow's Eve, and when those ideas are expressed, they are disgusting.
Don't read this book. While it has some interesting bits, (Edison is steampunk Tony Stark!) it says nothing anyone would want to hear. (Edison believes that "women can't be friends with each other!")
There is plenty of better literature out there. Go find it.
 

Selected pages

Contents

Menlo Park
7
Phonographs Papa
8
The Lamentations of Edison
9
Sowana
11
A Summary Soliloquy
13
Mysterious Sounds
14
A Dispatch
15
The Dreamer Touches a Dream Object
17
Serious Sides of Light Adventures
106
The Shadow of the Upas Tree
110
Danse Macabre
117
Exhumation
119
Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense
122
Dazzlement
124
Hadaly
127
First Appearance of the Machine in Humanity
129

Retrospective
19
Snapshots of World History
21
Lord Ewald
24
Alicia
28
Shadows
30
How Substance Changes with Form
32
Analysis
34
Hypothesis
36
Dissection
39
Confrontation
44
Remonstrations
47
The Pact
51
White Magic
53
Security Measures
56
Apparition
57
Preliminaries to a Miracle
59
Amazement
64
Excelsior
65
Of the Swiftness of Scholars
72
Time at a Stop
74
Ambiguous Pleasantries
78
Cosi Fan Tutte
85
Chivalric Discourse
86
The Trail Divides
87
An Underground Eden
89
Easy is the Descent into Avernus
91
Enchantments
92
Birdsongs
93
God
94
Electricity
96
The Secret
101
Miss Evelyn Habal
103
Nothing New Under the Sun
134
Walking
139
The Eternal Female
143
Equilibrium
144
Something Striking
147
I Am Black but Comely
149
Flesh
150
Rosy Mouth Pearly Teeth
153
Urania
155
The Eyes of the Spirit
157
Physical Eyes
159
Hair
161
Epidermis
162
And There Was Shadow
167
Dinner with the Magician
169
Suggestion
172
The Price of Fame
182
A Night of Eclipse
187
The Androsphinx
193
Figures in the Night
194
Struggles with the Angel
196
Angelic Aid
198
Revolt
201
Incantation
202
Night Idyll
203
Penseroso
204
Expeditious Explanations
208
Farewells
216
Fate
218
Villiers Epigraphs
220
Copyright

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Page xvii - In a final memorable sentence he asserted that the pope and the church "neither can be nor ought to be reconciled with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.
Page 3 - Thus, the EDISON of the present work, his character, his dwelling, his language, and his theories, are and ought to be at least somewhat distinct from anything existing in reality. Let it be understood, then, that I interpret a modern legend to the best advantage of the work of Art-metaphysics that I have conceived; and that, in a word, the hero of this book is above all "The Sorcerer of Menlo Park," and so forth— and not the engineer, Mr.

References to this book

About the author (2001)

Villiers de l'Isle-Adam (1838-99) was a French poet whose works include the short story collection Contes Cruels and the play Axl. Robert Martin Adams was the author of Divertimenti, Strains of Discord: Studies in Literary Openness,and other books.

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