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Donnelly, Ignatius

Entry updated 24 August 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1831-1901) US politician – a US Senator for Minnesota between 1863 and 1868 – and author, famous for his study Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882), which was responsible for a considerable resurgence of interest in the legend of Atlantis, and for The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays (1888), in which he attempted to prove by cryptographic analysis that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's early plays. His most important sf novel was Caesar's Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century (1890; early editions under the pseudonym Edmund Boisgilbert), which countered the Utopian optimism of Edward Bellamy with the argument that the world of 1988 was evolving towards greater inequality and catastrophic War rather than towards peace and plenty, all being dramatized through a proletarian revolt which burns New York to the ground, except for a "Caesar's Column" of corpses in Union Square; the protagonist escapes to Africa in a Balloon. Donnelly wrote two other fantasies of social criticism: Doctor Huguet (1891) as by Edmund Boisgilbert, in which the racist protagonist exchanges bodies with a Black man (see Identity Exchange), and The Golden Bottle; Or the Story of Ephraim Benezet of Kansas (1892), in which a gold-making device is instrumental in the overthrow of capitalism (in later life, Donnelly ran for national office on an anti-Gold Standard platform). [BS/JC]

see also: Cities; Lost Worlds; Politics; Social Darwinism.

Ignatius Loyola Donnelly

born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 3 November 1831

died Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1 January 1901

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