Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The Greek Goddess of Love and beauty, called Venus by the Romans; the equivalent of the Phoenician Astarte. Legend credits her with a key role in starting the Trojan War when she offered Helen to Paris as a bribe. She betrayed her husband Hephaestus with Ares. Her symbolic presence dominates Aphrodite (1896) by Pierre Louÿs and "The Disinterment of Venus" (1934) by Clark Ashton Smith and is of considerable importance in Mistress of Mistresses (1935) and its sequels by E R Eddison. She is the central character of "Mrs Hephaestus" (1887) by George A Baker (1849-1918) and Venus the Lonely Goddess (1949) by John Erskine. Other relevant mythological fantasies include "Mr Skinner's Night in the Underworld" (1878) by Max Adeler, The World's Desire (1890) by H Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang, The Night Life of the Gods (1931) by Thorne Smith and Pagan Passions (1959) by Randall Garrett and Larry M Harris.

Notable fantasies based on a tale reproduced in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), in which a Statue comes to life after a Ring is placed on its finger, include "The Venus of Ille" (1837) by Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870), The Tinted Venus (1885) by F Anstey, "St Eudaemon and his Orange Tree" (1907) by Vernon Lee, "The Bride" (1931) by Rosalie Muspratt (1906-1976) and The Eve of Saint Venus (1964) by Anthony Burgess (see Pygmalion). Significant fantasies based on the story of the German knight Tannhäuser, who consorted with the love goddess in a cave-palace within the Venusberg, include "The Faithful Eckhart and the Tannenhaeuser" (1799) by Ludwig Tieck, the incomplete "Under the Hill" (1896) by Aubrey Beardsley, completed by John Glassco as Under the Hill (1959), and "The Gods and Ritter Tanhuser" (1913) by Vernon Lee. A fantasy featuring Aphrodite's magic girdle, which made everyone who wore it the object of irresistible desire, is "The Girdle of Venus" (1947) by Harold Lawlor. [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.