Bray, John Francis

Tagged: Author

(1809-1897) US author, in the UK 1822-1842; he published several economic tracts, some of them radical, like his first, Labour's Wrongs and Labour's Remedy (1839). Of sf interest is A Voyage from Utopia to Several Unknown Regions of the World: by Yarbfg: Translated from the American (written 1841-1842; 1957), which anticipated William Dean Howells's technique of presenting the views of a visitor from the Utopia, which is located in an unknown Archipelago. The narrator visits various civilized countries, their names distorted through his attempt to comprehend their various native languages, so that London becomes Londo, and Ireland, a land run by "Catholos pestos", becomes Erino; and so forth. The visitor's responses to the labour conditions and abiding hypocrisies characteristic of the lands his visits are outraged, republican, and satirical (see Satire). Bray may have thought the work unpublishable in his time; in any case, his move back to America may have frustrated any plans to publish; the manuscript was discovered in 1937. [JC]

John Francis Bray

born Washington, District of Columbia: 26 June 1809

died Pontiac, Michigan: 1 February 1897

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