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By Stanis?aw Lem

Hal Bregg is an astronaut who returns from an area venture during which simply 10 organic years have handed for him, whereas 127 years have elapsed on the earth. He reveals that the earth has replaced past acceptance, jam-packed with humans who've been medically neutralized. How does an astronaut subscribe to a civilization that shuns chance? Translated by way of Barbara Marszal and Frank Simpson. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

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The setup here is oddly repeated when Moll returns to Virginia much later with her fourth husband, Jemmy. In many ways, Jemmy is a male version of Moll, 舠a man that was as well qualified to make me happy, as to his temper and behaviour, as any man ever was舡 (p. 134). She first meets him when both are engaged in what Moll calls a 舠double fraud舡 (p. 134), and still Moll cannot help revering him: 舠He was a lovely person indeed, of generous principles, good sense, and of abundance of good humour舡 (p.

We can think back on this exchange when, in fact, Moll later becomes a gentlewoman. One of the counterweights of the narrative for Defoe is the realization that for one born like Moll in and to Newgate, gentility is as much a mark of fraud as a mark of rank. When Moll first takes up with the mayor of Colchester舗s family early in the action, the mayor舗s wife is charmed by her misunderstanding of gentlewoman and 舠put her hand in her pocket, gave me a shilling, and bid me mind my work, and learn to work well, and I might be a gentlewoman for aught she knew舡 (p.

Her horror is equaled in its intensity only by her later references to the actual incest she commits and then abjures with her brother: 舠I could almost as willingly have embraced a dog舡 (p. 89). Moll舗s first reaction to incest is not that she has committed a crime against legal standards but against natural law. She is 舠not much touched with the crime of it, yet the action had something in it shocking to nature, and made my husband even nauseous to me舡 (pp. 81-82). Moll would like nothing better than to forget the incest interlude in Virginia, but the narrative will not let her.

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