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The Lost World Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Lost World is an exciting adventure story, featuring wonderfully eccentric characters who search out the answers to a great scientific mystery deep in the Amazon jungle. The novel is among the last written before World War I in the minor literary subgenre called "boys' books," which were written specifically for young adults. "Boys' books" were expected to give young men examples of how they should behave as grownups—with courage and forthrightness.

Although this literary subgenre sounds dull, many "boys' books" such as H. Rider Haggard's She (1887) are actually enormously entertaining. Since Conan Doyle considered the conventions of "boys' books" unrealistic, his characters in The Lost World fight and quarrel constantly, and all have weaknesses and flaws. The story itself never lags. When there is not high adventure to excite, there is a wealth of comedy to entertain.