Selected as a book of the year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times
Humans cannot live without stories. But one story has proved itself the most durable and hauntingly real of all time.
The mythic tale of Adam and Eve has shaped conceptions of human origins and destiny for centuries. Stemming from a few verses in an ancient book, it became not just the foundation of three major world faiths, but has evolved through art, philosophy and science to serve as the mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires.
What is it about Adam and Eve’s story that fascinates us? What does it tell us about how our species lives, dies, works or has sex?
In a quest that begins at the dawn of time, Stephen Greenblatt takes us from ancient Babylonia to the forests of east Africa. We meet evolutionary biologists and fossilised ancestors; we grapple with morality and marriage in Milton’s Paradise Lost; and we decide if the Fall is the unvarnished truth or fictional allegory.
Ultimately, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve allows us a new understanding of ourselves.
Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of twelve books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, which won the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, as well as the New York Times bestseller Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and the classic university text Renaissance Self-Fashioning.He is General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and of The Norton Shakespeare, and has edited seven collections of literary criticism.