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James Elroy Flecker

The Last Generation

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If you are interested in dystopian science fiction, The Last Generation: A Story of the Future is a dark little gem from the early 20th century that is worth not to be forgotten.

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About the Author

James Elroy Flecker, born in London in November 1884, was a British diplomat, poet, playwright and novelist, best known today for his poetry, and for his verse drama Hassan: The Story of Hassan of Baghdad and How he Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand (published and performed posthumously) — not to be confused with his poem The Golden Journey To Samarkand, nor with a collection of his poems (published 1913) with the same title.

From 1902 to 1906 Flecker studied in Oxford, and from 1908 to 1910 in Cambridge, learning modern oriental languages in preparation for his consular career; in 1907 he published his first collection of poems. During his studies he came in contact with members of the Aesthetic Movement, John Addington Symonds among them. Flecker also became a close friend of the classical archaeologist and art historian John Beazley, a friendship in which may be found hints of homosexuality; Flecker’s religiously very strict parents held Beazley responsible for their son’s turn towards agnosticism. In 1908 Flecker passed the consular service examination, and from 1910 on he was posted in the Eastern Mediterranean. On a ship to Athens he met his future wife, Greek poet Helle Skiadaressi, whom he married in 1911. That year, stationed in Beirut, he also also struck up a friendship with “Lawrence of Arabia” T. E. Lawrence.

In 1910 Flecker was diagnosed with tuberculosis, an illness that increasingly took its toll; the last 18 months of his life, writing poetry and working on Hassan until the end, he spent at various sanatoriums in Switzerland, where he died in January 1915.

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