From “What Not: lost feminist novel that anticipated Brave New World finally finds its time” in The Guardian today:
A forgotten feminist dystopian novel, a story of eugenics and newspaper manipulation that is believed to have influenced Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, is coming back into print for the first time in a century, complete with pages that were suppressed in 1918.
Rose Macaulay’s What Not was first published 100 years ago, but swiftly withdrawn over potentially libellous passages. Once it was reissued in 1919, it had “lost its momentum” and has been out of print ever since, according to independent publisher Handheld Press, which will republish the novel in March 2019.
Set after the first world war, “when the tumult and the shouting had died”, What Not takes place in a Britain where the Mental Progress Act has forced the population to be tested and graded, from A to C. In order to prevent the birth of stupid children, lower-rated people are not allowed to marry within their category. If they do, and reproduce, they incur such punitive taxes that many babies are abandoned, and are then dealt with by the Ministry of Brains.
Can’t wait to read this next year…