Berington, Simon

Tagged: Author

(1680-1755) UK author, apparently a Catholic priest, the author for reasons only partly didactic of one of the first Lost World novels in the literature; it is probably the first to suggest that the lost race in question may be Ancient Egyptians. Published anonymously, the book is described on the title page as a translation from the Italian. Its title, which is long, constitutes a synopsis: The Memoirs of Sigr Guadentio di Lucca: Taken from His Confession and Examination Before the Fathers of the Inquisition at Bologna in Italy. Making a Discovery of an Unknown Country in the Midst of the Vast Deserts of Africa as Ancient, Populous, and Civilized, as the Chinese (1737) [for remainder of subtitle, and for 1748 vt, see Checklist]. It may be added that Sigr di Lucca spends much of his life quite happily in the Lost World of Mezzorania, deep in unknown Africa, and dominated by the great City of Phor, whose wheel-like shape (all main roads radiate from the central Temple of the Sun) seems certainly based on the ideal city of Tommasso Campanella. Mezzorania is governed on Utopian principles. The Religion is superior to Christianity or Islam, we are told. The Sex, as well, is very good – there is no She figure in the tale, which in other ways as well fails to prefigure the misogyny of the Lost World tale in the nineteenth century; di Lucca marries, has children, returns to Italy after twenty years to report on his journey, but only after his family has died. [JC]

Simon Berington

born Hope under Dynmore [now Hope under Dinmore], Herefordshire: 21 January 1680

died London: 16 April 1755

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