Sometimes, an excerpt is a tease that doesn't live up to its promise. Happily, that is not the case for the online extracts on Elfinspell by Edmond About that included tantalizing portions of this book.
My-Oh-My! What a wonderful story! This is considered one of the earliest Science Fiction novels of modern days. But it is far more than that. No hints, though, see for yourself!
You will notice that the translator is Henry Holt, who issued this early in his publishing career when he was partnered with Leypoldt in the latter half of the 1800’s. It is nice, and rare, to see that publishers can sometimes be valuable writers as well.
The inspiration for this early science-fiction novel is based on a discovery made early in the 19th century by Spallunzani. That his experiments caused widespread interest can be seen by a notice published in a French popular journal, online here in English translation, called Curious Archives, or Singularities, Curiosities and Novel Anecdotes of Literature, History, Sciences and Arts, Etc., in the second issue printed in the year 1834. This article is online in the original French, too.
Monsieur About also reproduces the style of writing and the speech of the early Napoleonic empire very accurately. In support of this statement, read the words of Napoleon Bonaparte himself, in a letter to his wife Josephine written in 1796 on this site in English, as well as a copy of his pretty horrible handwriting.
For the Online Edition, several typos have been corrected, and the end notes have been incorporated into the body of the text, at the end of the pertinent chapters.