Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Among the myths of the Old Testament only Adam and Eve's exploits in Eden have inspired more echoes in modern fantasy than the Flood. Noah and his family are featured in such works as Seola (1878) by Mrs J Gregory Smith (1818-1905), Blow, Blow Your Trumpets (1945) by Shamus Frazer, Two by Two (1963) by David Garnett, The Moon in the Cloud (1968) by Rosemary Harris, Not Wanted on the Voyage (1985) by Timothy Findley, Boating for Beginners (1986) by Jeanette Winterson and "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge" (1988) by James Morrow. A new deluge is featured in All Aboard for Ararat (1940) by H G Wells, but merely threatens in The Elephant and the Kangaroo (1947) by T H White and "Alfred's Ark" (1965) by Jack Vance. The Ark is a powerful symbol in its own right, commonly evoked in sf and in such surreal fantasies as The Ark Sakura (1984) by Kobo Abé.

Catastrophic floods are naturally at the heart of many Atlantis stories, sometimes linked to the flood-references in Greek Mythology and the tale of Gilgamesh. The Lost Continent (1900) by C J Cutcliffe Hyne is a notable example of this syncretizing tendency. Other mythical lands supposedly lost by drowning include the kingdoms of Ys and Lyonesse. The folktale of the inundation of Ys following the seduction of the king's daughter was repopularized in France by the successful Opera Le roi d'Ys (1888) by Edouard Blau (1836-1906) and Edouard Lalo (1823-1892), from which Robert W Chambers borrowed the setting for "The Demoiselle d'Ys" (1895); the tale had previously been retold (in a Welsh setting) in The Misfortunes of Elphin (1829) by Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) and was ironically recast by Norman Douglas in They Went (1920). [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.