What are some great representations of Atlantis (the myth of Atlantis) that look at the themes and ideals that surround Atlantis?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The “lost continent” of Atlantis, a civilization that sunk beneath the waves, has long been a source of fascination for writers. The classical vision of Atlantis, which was put forward by Plato in his Socratic dialogues, has been the foundation for most subsequent interpretations. With New World discoveries from the...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The “lost continent” of Atlantis, a civilization that sunk beneath the waves, has long been a source of fascination for writers. The classical vision of Atlantis, which was put forward by Plato in his Socratic dialogues, has been the foundation for most subsequent interpretations. With New World discoveries from the late fifteenth century onward, Atlantis became merged with the idea of Utopia; a notable representation is Francis Bacon’s The New Atlantis from 1627.

In the nineteenth century, the development of diving technology made the prospect of discovery even more alluring. Two well-known writers created now-classic depictions. Even the creator of Sherlock Holmes was not immune to the mystique. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a novel, The Maracot Deep, concerned with deep-sea divers who find Atlantis, where technology enables continued underwater existence. In contrast, Jules Verne depicted the civilization in ruins in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea; the travelers arrive there on the Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s submarine. A more elaborate tale that fleshes out the civilization’s end occupies C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s The Lost Continent, published as a novel in 1900 following its magazine appearances in serialized form.

In the twentieth century, central and peripheral uses of Atlantis proliferate. Along with stories about visits to the kingdom itself, classic British fantasy incorporates Atlantis or the comparable Numinor or Numenor as the possible birthplace of the wizard Merlin; versions of this appear in C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team