The quest for fire; a novel of prehistoric times

by J.-H. Rosny, 1856-1940




Call number

PZ7.R71956 Q


Publisher Unknown


Three early-humans travel the savannah, encountering sabre-toothed tigers, mammoths, and cannibalistic tribes as they search for a flame to replace the fire that their tribe has los

User reviews

LibraryThing member Stbalbach
Quest for Fire (1911) is one a cycle of prehistoric novels by French author J. H. Rosny-Aine and is his best known work and considered a class of prehistoric fiction. It is about the struggle for possessing fire, while other titles dealt in a similar way with possessing women and land. It's been
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described as poetic. This is probably more so in the French, nevertheless the English translation is entertaining. The scenes with the Red and Blue men are dream-like, almost drug induced, but most of it has an atmospheric naturalism with many descriptions of plants, animals and geography. The novel is bursting with wildlife. Philosophically it is Social Darwinism with a survival of the fittest explanation of events (Darwin never advocated survival of the fittest rather it was a theory of Herbert Spencer). Throughout the story the toughest and smartest prevail. However we see compassion and morality emerge like a small flame in a sea of darkness. Although the Hairy Brothers are tough and smart, no one in the tribe wants them to prevail because they lack morality, something the hero Naoh has. There is legitimate Darwinism here and that makes it successful.
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Original publication date

1967 [English]


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