- NATHAN, Robert (Gruntal)
- (1894-1985)US writer, author of over 40 novels from Peter Kindred (1919) to Heaven and Hell and the Megas Factor (1975), in which latter (as so often in his work) good and evil - in this case God and Satan - confer and put aside their differences, smilingly. Much of his fiction reflects a wistful, melancholy, sometimes satirical sense of fantasy; and it is perhaps ironic that he is best remembered for perhaps the harshest of his tales, Portrait of Jennie (1940), in which he uses J.W. DUNNE's time theories to frame the sentimental tale of a young girl not of this Earth whose love for a human artist reaches fruition only at the moment of her death. The Barly Fields (omni 1938) - which contains The Fiddler in Barly (1926), The Woodcutter's House (1927), The Bishop's Wife (1928) and itssequel There is Another Heaven (1929), and The Orchid (1931) - fairly represents the soft-edged work of his early years. Later came some Arthurian fantasies, including The Fair (1964), which sustains asublimated elegiac tone in its depiction of a maiden's adventures there, and The Elixir (1971). The Mallott Diaries (1965) deals with Neanderthal survivals in Arizona, and The Summer Meadows (1973) movingly explores the nature of love in a fantasy quest for significant and telling moments in its protagonists' lives. Of direct sf interest is The Weans (1956 Harper's Magazine as "Digging the Weans"; 1960 chap), a satirical archaeologicalreport on the long-destroyed US civilization. RN's reputation is submerged at present, but on revaluation he may be seen as a significant creator of humanistic fantasy.JCOther works: Jonah (1925; vt Son of Ammitai 1925 UK; vt Jonah, or The Withering Vine 1934 US); Road of Ages (1935), an unusual political fantasy in which the Jews are sent into a new Exile; The Enchanted Voyage (1936); Journey of Tapiola (1938) and Tapiola's BraveRegiment (1941), assembled as The Adventures of Tapiola (omni 1950); They Went on Together (1941); The Sea-Gull Cry (1942); But Gently Day (1943); Mr Whittle and the Morning Star (1947); The River Journey (1949); The Married Look (1950; vt His Wife's Young Face 1951 UK); The Innocent Eve (1951), which is assembled in Nathan 3 (omni 1952) along with The River Journey and the associational The Sea-Gull Cry (1952); The Train in the Meadow (1953), an afterlife fantasy; Sir Henry (1955);The Rancho of the Little Loves (1956); So Love Returns (1958); The Wilderness Stone (1961); The Devil with Love (1963); Stonecliff (1967); Mia (1970).About the author: Robert Nathan: A Bibliography (1960 chap) by Dan H. Laurence.See also: The MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ; TIME TRAVEL.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.