Long before Aquaman…

Atlantis_map_1882

… there were plenty of people thinking about Atlantis.

The location of this legendary kingdom that — according to Plato and others — sank into the ocean is unknown.

But that hasn’t stopped thinkers from imagining where it might be — see the map illustration accompanying this post.  Do you notice anything unusual off the coasts of Africa and Spain?

This map comes to us courtesy of a book written by 19th-century American business success story, politician, and prophet of the apocalypse, Ignatius Donnelly, the subject of an intriguing recent piece by critic Carl Abbott in The Public Domain Review.

Abbott traces the ups and downs of Donnelly’s career and paints an intriguing portrait of him as an outsider, permanently at odds with his society, imagining its collapse–even praying for it–and writing books that merged pseudoscience, myth, and dystopian visions.

Abbott gives us a fascinating snapshot of this fascinating, forgotten figure, but what he also reminds us about is how an old myth, like the one about Atlantis, finds renewed energy during difficult, catastrophic times.  Donnelly lived in a turbulent America; today we’re living through a collection of natural catastrophes that have plenty of people talking about the end-times.

The appearance of Abbot’s review–should I include the upcoming Justice League movie, too? hmmm — couldn’t be better timed.  A worthy read for you, my beloved friends, check it out.

2 responses

  1. Oddly enough, I recently read a story about a sunken city found off the coast of northern Africa; and another story, “Off the coast of Sicily, near the city of Gela, a new expedition to a 2,600-year-old shipwreck has returned with 47 lumps of orichalcum, a rare alloy said to be smelted* on the fabled island of Atlantis…” So who knows. It may still be lurking somewhere…..

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