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Grove, Frederick Philip

Entry updated 24 August 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1879-1948) German-born Canadian translator, editor, poet and author born Felix Paul Berthold Friedrich Greve, in his early career a minor poet and a translator of H G Wells into German;his first novel, the nonfantastic Fanny Essler: ein Berliner Roman (1905; trans Christine Helmers 1984 2vols) as Felix Paul Greve, was a roman á clef damaging to his career; he moved to the USA in 1909. Greve/Grove used various pseudonyms in his early life, adopting the name by which he is known after his arrival in Canada in 1912 (it seems not to be known if he legalized the change). His later work, seemingly written and certainly first published in English, includes realistic novels, rural studies and poetry, including "The Legend of the Planet Mars" (written circa 1915; first appeared Spring-Summer 1982 Canadian Poetry), a Scientific Romance in verse describing the self-destruction of the high civilization of Mars at the climax of a theological dispute (see Religion); the influence of Wells was manifest.

Grove is of more direct sf interest for the sf Satire Consider Her Ways (written 1913-1923; 1947), a Scientific Romance whose Satirical darkness reflects the disillusion engendered by World War One. It presents the notes of an amateur scientist in Telepathic contact with three ants, members of an exploratory team from Venezuela whose investigations climax in the New York Public Library. Their comments on the nature of Man and human society are pointed, and – over and above their comically estranged descriptions of human behaviour as inherently automated – convey a clear sense that Homo sapiens has been fatally infested with the commodification of the world for which it is solely responsible: but the race suffers from anosognosia: it cannot perceive the disease that is eating it. The main ant explorer, Wawa-quee, sees human society inherently Dystopian, and presents ant society in remarkable detail as so organized as to make Utopia inevitable. The novel has never received due attention. [JC]

see also: Canada.

Frederick Philip Grove

born Radomno, Germany: 14 February 1879

died Simcoe, Ontario: 19 August 1948

works (highly selected)

  • Consider Her Ways (Toronto, Ontario: The Macmillan Company of Canada, 1947) [hb/uncredited]

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