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Black Oxen

Gertrude Atherton

Book Overview: 

Lee Clavering, a young playwright falls in love with an Austrian countess, not noticing the adoring glances from the outgoing flapper, Janet. Unknown to the young lover, the object of his devotion is defying age with artifice in this controversial pseudo-science fiction romance.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The more insulting, the more ruthless, the more one-sided the disclosure of their irremediable faults and meannesses, the more voluptuous the pleasure. There had been reactions after the Civil War, but on a higher plane. The population had not been maculated by inferior races.

The young editors, critics, special writers were enchanted. This was Life! At last! Moreover, it was Democracy. These young and able men, having renounced their earlier socialism, their sense of humor recognizing its disharmony with high salaries and pleasant living, were hot for Democracy. Nothing paid like Democracy in this heaving world. The Democratic wave rose and roared. Symbolic was this violent eruption of small-town fiction, as realistic as the kitchen, as pessimistic as Wall Street. All virtue, all hope, all idealism, had gone out of the world. Romance, for that matter, never had existed and it was high time the stupid world was forcibly purged of its immemorial ill. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A very interesting book written in 1923, the prose is quite elegant &, listening to it as an audiobook, the reader's British accent & reading style gave it a flow & an eliteness that was most satisfying. The premise of the story is rather unusual for its time--WWI has ended & the rumblings of WWII a

The story centers on the relationship between thirty-four year old columnist Lee Clavering, and Mary Zattiany, a 58 year old woman who, through modern science, has regained her youth (although this is unknown at the beginning, but is fairly easily guessed). The story takes place within New York’s hi

this is turning into a science fiction novel

Science fiction..political commentary

Interesting in that it is written in that period between the World Wars, when there was an economic depression and political upheavals not even guessed at in the offing. I would venture to guess that the suggestion of B

Gertrude Atherton may be known these days more for her horror and ghost stories, but her best seller was the racy and controversial science fiction romance "Black Oxen." Of all the Radium-Age scifi classics I have reviewed, this one perhaps best captures the spirit of the Twenties, complete with lat

Fascinating "what if" romance that will be especially appreciated by those who love New York City. The story is set in the transition period from the post-WWI Gilded Age to the 1920's. I knocked it back a star because the author has some distasteful, if only glancingly referenced, fascist sentiments

I've known about Gertrude Atherton for some time (since I was doing research on turn-of-the-century San Francisco and came across her name as one of the leading authors of the area) but I haven't had a chance to read any of her work until now. This book is, sadly, not set in San Francisco but I enjo

A very unusual mixture of AGE OF INNOCENCE with the fantasy fiction of H.G. Wells.

Into New York society enters a young Austrian Countess who sparks interest in the upper class, and among the flapper-prone Sophisticates. Part of the attraction is the appeal of the European elite. But, it is more tha

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