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Tiphaigne de la Roche, C F

Entry updated 9 August 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1729-1774) French author of some works of fantasy with Proto-SF elements, three of which were miscellaneously assembled as Amilec; Ou la graine d'hommes qui sert à peupler les planétes (1753; trans anon as Amilec; Or, the Seeds of Mankind 1753), Zamar, député à la Lune par Amilec ["Zamar, Delegated to the Moon by Amilec"] [for full subtitle see Checklist] (1754 2vols) and L'Empire des zaziris sure les humains; Ou, la zazirocratie ["The Empire of the Zaziris over Humankind; Or, Zazirocracy"] (1761), all three trans Brian Stableford as Amilec and Other Satirical Fantasies (omni 2011), a volume that also includes Giphantie (see below). Within various formats of telling – including narrations by a genie (or more abstractly the genius of the tale: the pun is strong in French) – Tiphaigne engages in Cosmological speculations, as well as suggesting a theory of the origin of species which includes the notion that seeds from our species propagate other planets (see Fred Hoyle). Zamar incorporates a Fantastic Voyage to the Moon and Venus, plus two short Utopias, told Satirically. La zazirocratie describes the djinns of legend as in fact Secret Masters of our planet.

The protagonist of Giphantie (1760; trans anon as Giphantia, or A View of What Has Passed, What Is Now Passing, and, During the Present Century, What Will Pass, in the World 1760-1761 2vols) undertakes a Fantastic Voyage into the East, where a mentor describes the prelapsarian world he has entered, where the elementals that govern all life (earth, fire, water and air) retain their pre-Adamic virtue, and all forms of life blossom. The absorbed protagonist (Giphantie is an anagram of Tiphaigne) to whom a great globe of the Earth is now revealed is allowed to make use of two high-Technology devices: one a pointer which, when touched anywhere on the planet, transmits conversations; and a device that records visual images, and can be understood as a metaphorical prevision of photography. Through these devices, he learns that Homo sapiens benefits from three (clearly allegorical) descendants of the first Tree: of these, the Tree of Itches irritates humans into becoming articulate, and the leaves of the Fantastical Tree infect human brains, forcing them to create various Inventions. There are elements of Satire here detectable. The protagonist is then taken Underground, eventually transiting the Hollow Earth within and arriving back in France. [JC]

Charles-François Tiphaigne de la Roche

born Montebourg, Contentin, France: 19 February 1729

died 11 August 1774


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