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Jerry Cornelius [series]

Entry updated 24 January 2017. Tagged: Community.

A loosely linked sequence by Michael Moorcock (whom see for fuller discussion), beginning in the mid-1960s in New Worlds and central to that magazine's then Entropy-permeated world view. Jerry Cornelius, introduced in "Preliminary Data" (August 1965 New Worlds), was at first a semi-parodic Icon of contemporary "Swinging London" UK culture, stylishly cool against a background of violence and impending Disaster. Early exploits appeared in novel form as The Final Programme (excerpts August and December 1965, March 1966 New Worlds; 1968; rev 1969; rev 1977; rev 1979), which was filmed as The Final Programme (1973; cut vt The Last Days of Man on Earth 1975 US). An illustration for the second episode, "Further Information" (December 1965 New Worlds), drawn and lettered by Harry Douthwaite, summarized this Antihero's status thus: "The Conflicting Time Streams of the 20th Century were Mirrored in Jerry Cornelius". Mal Dean drew a Jerry Cornelius Comic strip with Richard Glyn Jones for International Times, May 1969 to January 1970; Dean's cover for New Worlds #191 (June 1969) is perhaps the most dramatic depiction of the character.

Later novels of Moorcock's initial quartet – assembled as The Cornelius Chronicles (omni 1977; rev vt The Cornelius Quartet 1993) – transposed the Cornelius character into Commedia dell'Arte territory as a Pierrot or Harlequin figure [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Other writers of the New Worlds circle were encouraged to treat the Cornelius mythos as a Shared World or Open Universe, early stories in this vein being assembled as The Nature of the Catastrophe (anth 1971; exp vt The New Nature of the Catastrophe 1993) edited by Moorcock and Langdon Jones. John Sladek's review (June 1982 Foundation) of Moorcock's late series instalment The Entropy Tango: A Comic Romance (fixup 1981) takes the form of a brief but unsparing Parody. Cornelius was introduced to Denmark via a Danish-language anthology edited by Jannick Storm (whom see). A twenty-first-century Cornelius novel is Carter Kaplan's Tally-Ho, Cornelius! (2008). [DRL]

see also: Series; Temporal Adventuress.


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