Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The aspect of Mythology pertaining to "last things", including descriptions of the End of the World and accounts of the fate of the Soul after death. The Christian Apocalypse and the Norse Götterdämmerung (see Nordic Fantasy) offer the most prolific world-end motifs for modern fantasy. Personal eschatology is much more commonly featured, in mock-Dantean Christian Fantasies (see Heaven; Hell), like those by Harry Blamires and R H Mottram (1883-1971), and in a host of Posthumous Fantasies. Many of the latter – such as those by Mrs Oliphant and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps – are associated with Spiritualism, but the best are more adventurous. The elaborate personal eschatologies of the Greek and Egyptian mythologies are also significant contributors of imagery to modern fantasy, the former often in connection with Orphean journeys into the Underworld (see Orpheus) and the latter in connection with Mummies. An interesting commentary on eschatological images of the future and their social significance can be found in The Image of the Future (1973) by Fred Polak. [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.