"Throughout my teaching experiences, especially in seminars that have covered the life and works of the Shelleys, Lord Byron, and other writers of the age, reading The Last Man at the end has consistently provided a stimulating and memorable culmination. This is because these pages are filled with familiar material, even if one has not read the novel before. But asking my students to complete such extensive reading at the term’s conclusion invariably felt demanding and onerous. For pragmatic purposes, therefore, I decided to create the following abridgment, truncating the original narrative by more than a third of its length. It is my hope that, while offering greater exposure to this important novel in classes around the world, this free and open-access edition is used as originally intended: as a pathway toward—rather than a replacement for—the novel in its entirety."