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Reconstructing Man And Society

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Chapter Summary

The ever-widening gap between the present and the future made it possible to look ahead with greater awareness. Many writers had high expectations of the recent technological advancements. In Malthus's view, mankind was racing towards ruin, for unchecked procreation would lead to overpopulation, recurring famine and devastating epidemics. These gloomy visions of the future were soon followed by literary variants. The best-known is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. In Otto van Eck's day, views of the past were shifting in the same way as visions of the future. For centuries, history had served as a continuous reservoir of stories from which moral lessons could be drawn, but the past now became a discrete era and an object of study. Lambert van Eck's encyclopaedia gives a good picture of the wide range of his reading, which included the Encyclopédie, to which he refers in his entry on Confucius.

Keywords: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus; Lambert van Eck; mankind; Otto van Eck

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