J.G. Farrell’s Empire Novels: The Decline and Fall of the Human Condition
Georgia Southern faculty member Rebecca Ziegler authored J.G. Farrell’s Empire Novels: The Decline and Fall of the Human Condition.
Despite its name, the real subject of J.G. Farrell’s three-and-a-half-book Empire Series is not the British empire, but the human condition, a state characterized by ‘fall’ – like the empire, like the human race itself according to the biblical story of the Fall from Eden. Farrell lets us know that this is his primary interest by giving one of his major characters a dog named The Human Condition. He actually uses the falling empire as an overarching metaphor, as well as a rich source of imagery and incidents, to illustrate the worsening human situation. In Farrell’s darkly funny books, all sorts of things, concrete and abstract, display independent wills with which they oppose the will of human beings. Ideas, symbols, ceremonies, human communication, human bodies, lands and possessions all act as rebels or subversives to undermine the human condition.
Four Courts Press
ISBN for this edition (10-digit)
ISBN for this edition (13-digit)