Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The name of Shang-tu, the Mongolian summer capital historically founded by Kublai Khan in 1256, was anglicized in the 17th century as Xamdu or Xaindu and then eclipsed forever by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's euphonious variation in "Kubla Khan" (1816). This poem established Xanadu as a gorgeously unreachable Imaginary Land containing Alph, the sacred River. Coleridge's vision of the Khan's "pleasure-dome" features in L Sprague de Camp's and Fletcher Pratt's The Castle of Iron (1950), where events in Xanadu suffer a monotonous eternal return because the poem is unfinished, and in Greg Bear's The Infinity Concerto (1984), where the poem is completed as a Spell and its idyllic scene destroyed. Xanadu (1992-current 3 vols) is a Heroic-Fantasy anthology series ed Jane Yolen. [DRL]

further reading: The Road to Xanadu (1927) by John Livingstone Lowes (1867-1945).

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.