Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Eden

The Garden of Eden is a significant mythical motif; it is closely related to other images of primeval rural innocence like Arcadia. The possibility – or tragic impossibility – of rediscovering such a state of being is a significant element of ecological mysticism, as reflected in such novels as Green Mansions (1904) by W H Hudson and the title story of Beneath the Surface and Other Stories (coll 1918) by Gerald Warre Cornish (1875-1916). Eden maintains a presence in such post-Adamian Biblical fantasies as Blow, Blow Your Trumpets (1945) by Shamus Frazer and influences such images of the Afterlife as Neil Gunn's The Green Isle of the Great Deep (1944). Fruit from the two Trees of knowledge occasionally appear in contemporary fantasies, ironically in "The Apple" (1897) by H G Wells and earnestly in David Lindsay's The Violet Apple (1978). The notion promulgated by some 19th-century occultists that Eden might be located at the then-inaccessible North Pole is echoed in M P Shiel's The Purple Cloud (1901), and is thought by some scholars to have been in Edgar Allan Poe's mind when he penned the even-more-enigmatic conclusion of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1837). [BS]

see also: Adam and Eve.

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.