Daâh: The First Human
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DAÂH: THE FIRST HUMAN
by Edmond Haraucourt
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Juan-Miguel Aguilera
Daâh is some distance away. Since the mothers have always refused to let him kill their offspring, even when food is in short supply, and since, this time, the Dogs have taken charge of that task, he has finally found an opportunity to realize his curious desire. Squatting all alone against the trunk of a beech tree, Daâh is calmly eating his grandson.
Edmond Haraucourt's Daâh: The First Human (1914) begins with the proto-humans Dâh and his wives, Hock and Ta, living a solitary existence, and then sketches, episodically, an account of their slow ascent towards civilization. With Daâh serving as a kind of "collective hero," the novel proceeds through a sequence of epiphanies that includes the invention of families, the axe, clothes, religion, fire and, ultimately, a burgeoning awareness of what will someday become our world.
Daâh is a milestone in the genre of prehistoric fantasy, taking into account the then-new discipline of physical anthropology and attempting to bridge the gaps left by science. Haraucourt aspires to a kind of truthfulness in its depiction of the psychological and social processes involved in the pattern of change and discovery, and is remarkable in his ability to portray characters who are not yet us. That is what makes Daâh unique and a true masterpiece.
edited by Peter Gabbani
Edmond Haraucourt: Daâh, Le Premier Homme [Daah, The First Human] (Flamm., 1914)
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.