First edition of the first Western novel featuring a time machine, published 8 years before THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells.
EL ANACRONÓPETE [The Time Ship]
"Gaspar's work is more than a simple divertissement à la Jules Verne. It has a specific Spanish tone and its underlying themes, steeped in wit and irony, imply social, political, literary, and even religious and philosophical criticism." – Bell and Molina-Gavilán
Gaspar coined "anacronópete" from the Greek for "ana" (along), "chronos" (time), and "petomai" (to fly). In this book, a corrupt gentleman of science tries to use a time machine to take his niece back to an era in which he can force her to marry him. But that's only part of the wild adventure, where the main characters, "along with a dozen French prostitutes and a squadron of Spanish hussars," use the machine "in search of more permissive times, [and] the key to eternal life" (Bell and Molina-Gavilán). Along the way, the travelers witness a number of key events in history, including an eruption of Vesuvius and the parting of the Red Sea. While the work as a whole shows the influence of Verne, the fabulous wood engravings by Soler especially point to the book's debt to the French science fiction and adventure novelist. A major early work of science fiction in Spanish, it would not be printed again in full until 2000; we find no copies of the first in any American institutional holdings.
Read more: Santiáñez-Tió, "Nuevos mapas del universo: Modernidad y ciencia ficción en la literatura española del siglo XIX (1804-1905)," in Revista Hispánica Moderna 47 (2); Bell and Molina-Gavilán, introduction to their 2012 translation, The Time Ship.
Barcelona: Biblioteca Arte y Letras, 1887. 7.5'' x 4.75''. Modern quarter brilliant red goatskin, marbled paper boards. Spine elaborately ornamented in gilt with maroon goatskin onlays and gilt-lettering. Marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Half title. Title page lettered in red and black. Illustrated by F. Gómez Soler with wood-engraved vignettes, headpieces, and tailpieces, and a full-page wood engraving of the time machine. Bound as issued with two other novellas by Gaspar: VIAJE Á CHINA and METEMPSÍCOSIS. 393,  pages. Some scattered foxing.
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