The Last Man (1826) is a dystopian novel by Mary Shelley. Dedicated to the recently deceased Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, The Last Man was controversial upon publication and was immediately suppressed by British authorities. Resurrected by dedicated critics and readers, the novel is now recognized as a pioneering work of science fiction and as the first work of dystopian literature to be published in English.
The ambitious and semi-autobiographical work is set toward the end of the 21st century and follows a group of radical friends whose experiences during a period of political upheaval test the limits of their love and push them to the brink of survival. After the abdication of the British monarchy, the former prince Adrian befriends Lionel, a fiercely independent and philosophical advocate of republicanism. When Lionel returns from two years abroad in Vienna, where he was conducting political business, he finds that Adrian has disappeared following a conflict with Lord Raymond, who falls in love with the Greek princess Evadne while scheming to be named England’s new king. They eventually resolve their enmity, however, and Raymond travels to Greece with Adrian to fight in a quickly expanding conflict with the Ottomans. As the war rages on, a plague breaks out and spreads without warning across Europe and overseas to the Americas. As the continent is ravaged by conflict and disease, Lionel and his group of friends struggle to keep one another alive in a world growing more hostile and less habitable by the day.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Mary Shelley’s The Last Man is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.