Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Hereafter In Poul Anderson's Works

There is an ancient and venerable tradition of literary hereafters from Homer and Plato through Virgil and Dante to Arthur Conan Doyle, CS Lewis and others.

These literary works are both imaginative exercises and reflections on how to live here and now.

Many of Poul Anderson's characters believe that there is a literal hereafter.

However, such a hereafter does not appear often in Anderson's works.

When it does, it is clearly a fantasy premise, not part of a belief system accepted or advocated by the author.

I am currently reading "Mansoul" (and here) by Alan Moore and am unsure of its status.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree that Poul Anderson's use of the hereafter, such as in "Pact" or in OPERATION CHAOS, was as a fantasy premise, not because he believed or advocated such ideas. For most of his life Poul Anderson was an agnostic, altho he always treated honest believers in God with respect and sympathy (as we can see in many of his works).

I said "most" in the paragraph above because I'm not sure of his final views in the later years of Anderson's life. I got the impression, beginning with his poem "Prayer in War" (seen in ORION WILL RISE), that Anderson at least wished he believed in God.