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Jennings, Hargrave

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(?1817-1890) UK author, who may have also written as by Sha Rocco, though it is much more likely that books under that name were by Abisha S Hudson (1819-1904). Jennings published some studies in the occult, most famously The Rosicrucians, their rites and mysteries; with chapters on the ancient fire- and serpent-worshippers (1870; several revised editions), and several miscellanies, these assembling essays in cultural criticism along with tales meant usually to illustrate his arguments. Some sf ideas are presented in these compilations, though in metaphorical terms ill-suited to the suspension of disbelief. The first of them is My Marine Memorandum Book (coll 1845 3vols), which contains several maritime fantasies. The book-length title story of The Ship of Glass; Or, the Mysterious Island: A Romance (coll 1846 3vols) is mostly set in an exaggeratedly flamboyant version of a pre-mediaeval Spain where a Scientist-mage and ship-builder with occult powers [for Land of Fable and Rosicrucianism see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] manufactures, adhering to a centuries'-old recipe, the eponymous ship, which carries its crew to an unknown, uninhabited Island "peopled with strange airs" where diamonds bestrew the greensward; the ship has crashed, but the crew returns rich. Curious Things of the Outside World (coll 1861 2vols) continues the pattern set by My Marine Memorandum Book; but The Childishness and Brutality of the Time: Some Plain Truths in Plain Language: Supplemented by Sundry Discursive Essays and Narratives (coll 1883) is laid down in Club Story format, and includes an oriental romance; the tale of a man who convincingly depicts himself – and all of Homo sapiens – as a Machine; and another maritime narrative, in this case featuring the Flying Dutchman (see Wandering Jew). Charon: Sermons from the Styx (coll 1886 chap) contains mostly afterlife fantasies.

Jenning's numerous publications on what he came to call phallism – a sexual understanding of sexual magic not based exclusively on the male phallus – are not described or listed here. [JC]

Hargrave Jennings

born ?1817

died London: 11 March 1890

works (selected)


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