The Last Man

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The Last Man is an apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book tells of a future world that has been ravaged by a plague. The novel was harshly reviewed at the time, and was virtually unknown until a scholarly revival beginning in the 1960s. It is notable in part for its semi-biographical portraits of Romantic figures in Shelley's circle, particularly Shelley's late husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.

Contents

Characters

Lionel Verney The Last Man. The orphan son of an impoverished nobleman, Lionel is originally lawless, self-willed, and resentful of the nobility for casting aside his father. When he is befriended by Adrian, however, he embraces civilization and particularly scholarship. Verney is largely an autobiographical figure for Mary Shelley.[1]

Adrian, Earl of Windsor Son of the last King of England, Adrian embraces republican principles. He is motivated by philosophy and philanthropy, rather than ambition. He is based on Percy Bysshe Shelley.[2]

Lord Raymond An ambitious young nobleman, Raymond becomes famous for his military efforts on behalf of Greece against the Turks, but eventually chooses love over his ambition to become King of England. He instead becomes Lord Protector of England before returning to Greece. Raymond is motivated by passion and ambition rather than principle. He is based on Lord Byron.[3]

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