Unusually, two posts in one day. This is something I've also posted on Tumblr, but I wonder if it won't get more discussion here...( 'Her hair - what a wealth of it there was - was blue-black, finer than such hair usually is, and with a sheen on it like unto a raven's wing.' Of course it was. )
We found an old copy on a free bookshelf in town, and within minutes we were in raptures (sorry) over the writing, which at times resembles Ebony Dark'Ness Dementia Raven Way on acid, if Ebony Dark'Ness Etc. were inhabiting the body of a fusty early 20th century man determined to stop women... well, doing anything, really. Sydney Watson’s 1915 novel, The Mark of the Beast
, is basically the granddaddy of novels about the Rapture. Without this book and its ilk, no Left Behind series
It’s an odd mix of preposterousness, bigotry (mainly of the patronising anti-Semitism and vintage misogyny varieties), eugenics and incredibly purple prose. When he rails against modern books encouraging women to feel they belong to themselves, and free love, and all the rest of it, he’s bitching about the likes of H.G. Wells, who wrote socially progressive novels at the time.
It’s also a book so bad that even a Rapture-believing Christian complains in a particularly satisfying Goodreads review
that, were they not reading it digitally, they’d feel the urge to fling it across the room… in fact, if you want to find out more about this stuff, you really need to look at Christian sources, where there is much eloquent eye-rolling over this book and its contemporaries...