Clarke, Ignatius (Ian) Frederick 1918-
CLARKE, Ignatius (Ian) Frederick 1918-
(Ian Clarke, I. F. Clarke)
PERSONAL: Born July 10, 1918, in Wallasey, Cheshire, England; son of John Henry (a broker) and Mabel (a homemaker; maiden name, Bradshaw) Clarke; married Margaret Barton (a college lecturer), August 4, 1952; children: Julian, Christopher, Catherine. Education: University of Liverpool, B.A., 1950, M.A., 1953. Hobbies and other interests: Baking bread, brewing beer, making wine, walking, painting, and traveling in the United States.
ADDRESSES: Home—Dellwood, Frog Lane, Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire OX7 6JZ, England. Agent—A. P. Watt, 26/28 Bedford Row, London WC 4HL, England.
CAREER: University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, university fellow, 1950-53; Bedlington Grammar School, Northumberland, England, senior English master, 1953-56; Newcastle College of Commerce, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, director of communication studies, 1956-58; University of Strath-clyde, Glasgow, Scotland, professor of English studies, 1958-81. Lecturer on modern English literature for British Council in Thailand and Morocco, 1978. Lecturer on utopian fiction for British Council in Morocco, 1979. Military service: Royal Artillery, 1940-42; became second lieutenant. British Army Intelligence, 1942-46; became captain.
MEMBER: Science Fiction Research Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pilgrim Award from Science Fiction Research Association of America, 1974, for achievements as bibliographer and historian of future war motif, and 2000, for scholarship; named to the order of Tiroler Adler, 1983, for service to Austrian citizens since 1946.
under name i. f. clarke, except as noted
(Compiler, as Ignatius Frederick Clarke) The Tale of the Future: From the Beginning to the Present Day, Library Association (London, England), 1961, 2nd enlarged edition (as Ian Clarke), 1972, 3rd enlarged edition, 1978.
Voices Prophesying War, 1763-1984, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1966, revised edition published as Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-3749, 1992.
The Battle of Dorking Controversy: A Collection of Pamphlets, Cornmarket Reprints (London, England), 1972.
(Editor, with John Butt) The Victorians and Social Protest: A Symposium, Archon Books (Hamden, CT), 1973.
The Pattern of Expectation, 1644-2001, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1979.
(Editor) The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914: Fiction of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1995.
(Editor) The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 1997.
(Editor) British Future Fiction, eight volumes, Pickering & Chatto (Brookfield, VT), 2001.
(Translator, with wife, Margaret Clarke) Jean-Baptiste-Francois-Xavier, Cousin de Grainville, The Last Man, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 2002.
Editor of and contributor to a series of articles on prophecy and prediction, 1968—. Editor of sciencefiction reprint program, Cornmarket Press, 1970-73.
SIDELIGHTS: Ignatius Frederick Clarke, a highly regarded historian of ideas, attracted considerable attention with two books published in the 1960s. The Tale of the Future: From the Beginning to the Present Day and Voices Prophesying War, 1763-1984 are both extensive surveys of writings on the future in the past three centuries. In Voices Prophesying War, 1763-1984, Clarke traces the significant changes in man's attitude toward war—which ranges from fatalism to a more recent tendency to view war as an abstraction. For example, the author notices that current war fantasies seem to take place in the distant future and in remote corners of the universe. Commenting on Clarke's analyses of the art of prophesying war, Arthur Marwick of the New Statesman praised the historian's scholarship, adding that the author's assiduous research yielded "a sparkling study, consistently informed by a clear sense of historical perspective."
Clarke revised Voices Prophesying War in 1992, adding a far-futuristic slant in the process. In what is now called Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-3749, the author includes what Eliot Cohen of Foreign Affairs called "a review of the 'Third World War' genre of books that did so well in the 1980s." In the author's reading, Cohen added, "novelists made no greater mistakes than war offices."
As in their assessments of Clarke's earlier books, critics were impressed by the erudition behind his 1979 work, The Pattern of Expectation, 1644-2001. According to Bernard Bergonzi of the Times Literary Supplement, the author "deals very adroitly with a lot of varied material" in his "immensely readable and well-documented" book. In particular, Thomas Pyne of the Los Angeles Times Book Review singled out the author's discussion of the earliest futurologists as the book's "most interesting chapter." Pyne also underscored the crucial link, brought forth by Clarke, between man's thinking about the future and his awareness of the present as a moment in the historical continuum. Clarke himself points out that this awareness resulted in a "vast new literature of expectation" that has been the dominant form of writing about the future since the earliest stages of industrialization.
According to Clarke, man's "idea of the future"—in other words, society's "collective vision" of its future—manifests itself in every aspect of social life. And Clarke's survey of these manifestations, as Henry McDonald of the Washington Post Book World observed, is "impressive, sustained by both imagination and scholarship." But Clarke is also interested in tracing the source of man's fascination with the future. "The tale of the future," which he defines as "the dreamtime of industrial society," follows "the mythic roots within human experience to find sources of supreme power, means of transcending all limitations, opportunities for achieving absolute perfection." And like the alphabet, Clarke asserts, it is "a necessary social invention."
In two related volumes from the 1990s, Clarke continued his exploration of future-war narratives. The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914: Fiction of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come and The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come are anthologies of literary works by authors including Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, and George Tomkyns Chesney, the latter of whom produced an "1871 literary bombshell," in the words of Utopian Studies contributor Paul Alkon. Chesney's short story "The Battle of Dorking," said Clarke in The Tale of the Next Great War, "about a rapid German conquest of the United Kingdom was the first tale of the future to attract immediate attention throughout the world." Ian Ousby of the Times Literary Supplement commented that "The Battle of Dorking" "set the pattern [for future-war narratives] by its account of a war that was quick, decisive and cataclysmic: naval engagements followed by a brutally efficient invasion of English soil." "Like Chesney's fable," wrote Alkon, "several of the other stories" in Clarke's anthology "were designed mainly to warn against inadequate military or political measures for defense in a world of dangerously aggressive competing nationalisms."
Clarke "does Anglophone readers a special favor," said Alkon, by including a rare sampling of the futuristic fiction of Albert Robida. "Scattered throughout the anthology, moreover, is a kind of mini-anthology of pictures taken from contemporary illustrations," the critic added, citing illustrations of Martian warriors from a 1906 edition of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds. "We may use this to see how scenes from the stories were imagined at the time of publication."
The eight-volume British Future Fiction, published in 2001, includes futuristic fiction both well-known and obscure. In the latter category are the stories "The Reign of George VI, 1900-1923," written by an anonymous author in 1763, and "Under the Red Ensign," a 1912 work that Clarke categorized in the "disasters to come" category. "Many of these pieces … are still entertaining reading" centuries after their publication, noted Utopian Studies reviewer James Gunn. "Others are useful more as milestones along the road to the story of anticipation, but none are dull. My long-held conviction is that if you wish to know where you are going, it is a good idea to know where you have been. Clarke's collection of hard-to-find stories provides that opportunity."
Clarke once told CA: "I came to futures research following a juvenile interest in science fiction and, in particular, because any serving soldier in 1945 had cause to think long and furiously about the future. A major stimulus to my research was the discovery that so little had been written (and most of it partial and ill-informed) about the ways in which the idea of future has developed, first, as a literary mode, and second, as a means of prediction in more recent years.
"The universal interest in the future—science fiction, think tanks, journals, and institutes of futurology—is a general recognition of the rate and the scale of change. In the first century of the now-continuing industrial revolution the steamship and the railroad represented so marvelous a conquest of time and space that the future, perfectly presented in the prophecies of Jules Verne, was the sacramental manifestation of an ideal materialism. Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers were the high priests of the new religion of progress. For a few brief generations it seemed as if mankind, thanks to technology, would go forward to ever better things.
"That dream was erased in the First World War, when the industrialization of warfare showed the catastrophic difference between expectations and events. The discovery that technological progress does not necessarily equal moral and social progress has been at the core of most radical thinking about the future since 1918 and above all since 1945. The first major statements came from artists, such as authors Karel Capek and Aldous Huxley. Thereafter, there came the sociologists and political scientists who began the first concerted efforts to estimate the probable direction of future developments.
"The gap between today and tomorrow has shortened and we are now experiencing by the decade what our great-grandfathers lived through by the generation. As a consequence, anxieties about the rate and the scale of change have penetrated to the highest levels. As communication technologies make the nations into something like an embryonic world community, the moral and social issues involved in everything from nuclear weapons to very rapid technological development are being raised more and more."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air Power History, spring, 1993, review of Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-3749, p. 60.
Choice, May, 1996, B. Adler, review of The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914: Fiction of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come, p. 1470.
Economist, October 22, 1966.
English Literature in Transition, number 3, 1996, review of The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914, p. 406.
Essays in Criticism, July, 1994, David Seed, review of Voices Prophesying War, p. 258.
Extrapolation, winter, 1999, pp. 277-283.
Foreign Affairs, September-October, 1993, Eliot Cohen, review of Voices Prophesying War, p. 156.
Listener, September 15, 1966.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 28, 1979, Thomas Pyne, review of The Pattern of Expectation, 1644-2001.
New Statesman, May 26, 1967, Arthur Marwick, review of Voices Prophesying War,
Reference & Research Book News, February, 1999, review of The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come, p. 159.
Science Fiction Chronicle, April, 1993, review of Voices Prophesying War, p. 31.
Science-Fiction Studies, November, 1993, H. Bruce Franklin, review of Voices Prophesying War, p. 476; July, 1996, H. Bruce Franklin, review of The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914, p. 287; November, 1997, Charles Gannon, review of The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914, p. 508.
Times Literary Supplement, December 7, 1979, Bernard Bergonzi, review of The Pattern of Expectation, 1644-2001; May 15, 1998, Ian Ousby, reviews of The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914 and The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914, p. 26.
Utopian Studies, winter, 1997, Paul Alkon, review of The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914, p. 147; winter, 2000, Lyman Tower Sargent, review of The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914, p. 155; spring, 2001, James Gunn, review of British Future Fiction, p. 284.
Washington Post Book World, August 12, 1979, Henry McDonald, review of The Pattern of Expectation, 1644-2001.
Wilson Library Bulletin, June, 1993, Elizabeth Shostak, review of Voices Prophesying War, p. 133.*