Item description for A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay...
A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by the Scottish writer David Lindsay. First published in 1920, it combines fantasy, philosophy and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. It has been described by the critic and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century" and was a central influence on C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.21" Width: 6.14" Height: 1.24" Weight: 1.83 lbs.
Release Date Dec 17, 2007
Publisher Tutis Digital Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN 8184561008 ISBN13 9788184561005
Availability 0 units.
More About David Lindsay
DAVID LINDSAY writes for New York Press and has contributed to such publications as The Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, and The Village Voice. He is the author of House of Invention, also available from The Lyons Press. Lindsay lives in New York City.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Voyage to Arcturus?
Not a journey for everyone Jun 13, 2008
Lindsay offers an imaginative diatribe against a world hopelessly blind to it's true spiritual nature in A Voyage To Arcturus. The "hero" is Maskull, but he represents Everyman, and the world he visits is Tormance, which is Earth in disguise, stripped of it's nuances and complexities. Tormance is a world of physical and psychological extremes circling the larger of the twin suns comprising the star Arcturus.
Maskull is on a quest for the truth, but it's more a result of compulsion than volition. He and his companion Nightspore are summoned by the mysterious Krag to make the journey because Surtur has returned to Tormance and compels them to follow him. Who Surtur is will be discovered much later, as will the identities of Krag and Nightspore. Maskull arrives on the south of Tormance alone and somehow knows he must head north. His ultimate goal will be to find the realm of Muspel, under the mysterious blue Alppain sun, where Surtur's true nature will be revealed. Until he gets there, he must deal with a world ruled by Crystalman whom many confuse with Surtur. This world is dominated by the blazing white sun called Branchspell. On his journey, he will interact with various strange inhabitants of Tormance who will in some instances strengthen and help guide him, but in others, frustrate him and expose his human weaknesses. It is all a necessary preparation for his ultimate test.
Lindsay tries to offer us some strong medicine for the spirit and he couches it in beautifully descriptive prose. This is really not a book for Science Fiction or Fantasy buffs, although it could be categorized as belonging to those genres. It uses some wildly original ideas to philosophize about the nature of humanity, like Dante did in The Divine Comedy or Swift did in Gulliver's Travels, but on a considerably less ambitious scale. The characters are purely symbolic so you can't truly identify with them, and Lindsay's basic view on Man's nature is pessimistic. You have to buy into his philosophy to truly appreciate this book.
A Minor Masterpiece; A Flawed Edition May 1, 2008
I first read this philosophical fantasy back in the 1960s or early '70s. I was overwhelmed by it then, but a year or two later when I went to reread it, the book had disappeared. (Doubtless an unreturned loan to a friend.) When I learned the book was back in print, and in several aditions, I wasted little time in buying it. I now realize that I was right the first time. The novel is (at least!) a minor masterpiece.
I will not get into details of the plot which centers on a journey of a man from earth across Tormance, a fictional planet circling the fictional two suns that make up the star we know as Arcturus. There, he searches for truth and has a series of fantastic adventures--some of them murderous--that entail the growth of extra limbs and organs whle his beliefs change as violently as his body.
It was only the edition I have (Wilder Publications) that made me hesitat before giving this bood the five stars it richly deserves. The many misprints include misspelled words, sentences with words missing, poor punctuation, etc. etc. One major typographical stumbling block was having hyphens the same length as dashes. The most curious flaw, however, was placing the name, Frank R. Stockton at the top of left hand pages facing the book's title which was correctly placed at the top of the right-handed pages. A little research told me that Stockton wrote fantasies for children--which probably explains the suggestion at the front of this edition that parents discuss with their children how views on race have changed since the book was written. An otherwise strange caution since "A Voyage To Arcturus" is not a children's book nor is there any mention of race in it.
In summing up, I would say do get this magnificent novel, but try to avoid the Wilder Pubications edition. There are many other editions listed in this site and they can't all be as flawed as this one.
Lindsay, genius, genius, genius Mar 18, 2008
It would be hard to add much to the foregoing reviews. Suffice it to say that the book is genius. it requires several rereads and its better approached when you are over thirty.
Words like unique are often used about the prosaic. This book is, indeed, unique.
If you can get hold of the Savoy edition you will savour the true beauty of the work in a suitable package; a beautiful edition. If you collect books I wouldn't pay an arm and a leg for the insipid first edition, a small Gollanz hardback, with brittle, flimsy paper.
Every review of value. Mar 12, 2008
Those who read it during their "formatory" years were left with an indelible imprint, some remembering the characters and scenes decades after reading this book. The same can be said for PK Dick's "Ubik" and "Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" among others. To review Arcturus in any other way (eg literary) would be like a chemist reviewing an excellent wine from a chemist perspective without ever tasting it. As someone once said "there is a difference between knowing and knowing about." Regarding the movie suggestion, maybe Tim Burton could pull it off.
An Abominable Edition of an Intellectual Masterpiece Feb 24, 2008
I own a tattered and yellowing copy of David Lindsay's "Voyage to Arcturus" issued by Ballantine Books in 1963 for 95 cents, and became increasingly distressed at its fragility, especially the wear to the amazing cover by an unattributed talent I imagined was laboring away by dim light in the basement of a publishing house. When I saw a re-issuance I eagerly ordered it.
The 2007 Wilder Publications issue is a travesty.
1. The Cover is irrelevant and has no correspondence to Lindsay's text. 2. The incredible number of typos and misprintings is disturbing, disruptive and misleading. 3. The typeface is a catastrophe, with nearly-identical letter and word spacings. 4. The book begins with an irrelevant publisher's admonition that has no correspondence to Lindsay's text. 5. The author is named on every facing page as Frank R. Stockton: the Methodist minister who crafted "The Lady and the Tiger" short story. Did Wilder Press publish that too? Is David Lindsay's name on another book?
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I also bought the DVD to my great disappointment. The 1973 production featured an appallingly bad screenplay (converted to a Haight-Ashbury style), pre-school Claymation-like creatures, infantile lenswork, and crassly misinterpreted over-the-top direction. 1973 was the year that brought us Francois Truffaut's "Day for Night", if you need a reference to the era's film sensibilities and standards. I am fascinated by Lindsay's book, but this odius film will kill any delight you might cherish.