The Lost World (Google eBook)

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BompaCrazy.com, 1955 - Fiction - 319 pages
48 Reviews

The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine and illustrated by New-Zealand-born artist Harry Rountree during the months of April?November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between Native Americans and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures. To mark the novel's 100th anniversary, a special collector's centenary edition was released in New Zealand in October 2012 in the format of an illustrated expedition report that also includes analytical chapters by several leading authorities.


References to actual history, geography and current science

The characters of Ed Malone and Lord John Roxton were modeled, respectively, on the journalist E. D. Morel and the diplomat Roger Casement, leaders of the Congo Free State reform campaign (the Congo Reform Association), which Conan Doyle supported.

The setting for The Lost World is believed to have been inspired by reports of Doyle's good friend Percy Harrison Fawcett's expedition to Huanchaca Plateau in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia. Fawcett organized several expeditions to delimit the border between Bolivia and Brazil - an area of potential conflict between both countries. Doyle took part in the lecture of Fawcett in Royal Geographic Society in 13 February 1911 and was impressed by the tale about the remote "province of Caupolican" (present day Huanchaca Plateau) in Bolivia - a dangerous area with impenetrable forests, where Fawcett saw "monstrous tracks of unknown origin".

Fawcett wrote in his posthumously published memoirs: "monsters from the dawn of man's existence might still roam these heights unchallenged, imprisoned and protected by unscalable cliffs. So thought Conan Doyle when later in London I spoke of these hills and showed photographs of them. He mentioned an idea for a novel on Central South America and asked for information, which I told him I should be glad to supply. The fruit of it was his Lost world in 1912, appearing as a serial in the Strand Magazine [sic], and subsequently in the form of a book that achieved widespread popularity."

The Allosaurus that attacks the camp is described as being as large as a horse, whereas in life Allosaurus was much bigger. However the book also allowed the possibility that the dinosaur that attacks the camp was a Megalosaurus or a juvenile Allosaurus, which would be a much closer size comparison. Both Summerlee and Challenger are undecided if the attacking beast was a Megalosaurus or Allosaurus but they imply it is a Megalosaur as "Any one of the larger carnivorous dinosaurs would meet the case." Inaccurate size measurements are also given to the Iguanodon and Phorusrhacos.

Following the stereotypes of the time in which the book was written, the dinosaurs are described often as extremely stupid; For example, at some point an Iguanodon pulls down the tree in which it is feeding, being injured and frightened in the process. This idea is generally omitted in the modern film versions.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Bill_Bibliomane - LibraryThing

It is in The Lost World that we first encounter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's other lasting creation, the irrascible and pompous (but admittedly brilliant, even if the admission is made by himself ... Read full review

Review: The Lost World (Professor Challenger #1)

User Review  - Christopher - Goodreads

It's a classic tale of adventure and discovery that goes something like this: I'm a journalist and my girlfriend doesn't want to marry me because apparently I'm not adventurous enough. So I decided to ... Read full review

All 9 reviews »

Contents

Foreword
4
CHAPTER I
5
CHAPTER II
10
CHAPTER III
15
CHAPTER IV
21
CHAPTER V
32
CHAPTER VI
41
CHAPTER VII
48
CHAPTER IX
66
CHAPTER X
86
CHAPTER XI
96
CHAPTER XII
110
CHAPTER XIII
120
CHAPTER XIV
131
CHAPTER XV
141
CHAPTER XVI
153

CHAPTER VIII
55

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1955)

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 ? 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.

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Conan Doyle was friends for a time with Harry Houdini, the American magician who himself became a prominent opponent of the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s following the death of his beloved mother. Although Houdini insisted that Spiritualist mediums employed trickery (and consistently exposed them as frauds), Conan Doyle became convinced that Houdini himself possessed supernatural powers?a view expressed in Conan Doyle's The Edge of the Unknown. Houdini was apparently unable to convince Conan Doyle that his feats were simply illusions, leading to a bitter public falling out between the two.