Back to Methuselah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 408 pages of information about Back to Methuselah.
in the shop window under the sign of Man and Superman.  That part of my design succeeded.  By good luck and acting, the comedy triumphed on the stage; and the book was a good deal discussed.  Since then the sweet-shop view of the theatre has been out of countenance; and its critical exponents have been driven to take an intellectual pose which, though often more trying than their old intellectually nihilistic vulgarity, at least concedes the dignity of the theatre, not to mention the usefulness of those who live by criticizing it.  And the younger playwrights are not only taking their art seriously, but being taken seriously themselves.  The critic who ought to be a newsboy is now comparatively rare.

I now find myself inspired to make a second legend of Creative Evolution without distractions and embellishments.  My sands are running out; the exuberance of 1901 has aged into the garrulity of 1930; and the war has been a stern intimation that the matter is not one to be trifled with.  I abandon the legend of Don Juan with its erotic associations, and go back to the legend of the Garden of Eden.  I exploit the eternal interest of the philosopher’s stone which enables men to live for ever.  I am not, I hope, under more illusion than is humanly inevitable as to the crudity of this my beginning of a Bible for Creative Evolution.  I am doing the best I can at my age.  My powers are waning; but so much the better for those who found me unbearably brilliant when I was in my prime.  It is my hope that a hundred apter and more elegant parables by younger hands will soon leave mine as far behind as the religious pictures of the fifteenth century left behind the first attempts of the early Christians at iconography.  In that hope I withdraw and ring up the curtain.



In the Beginning


The Garden of Eden.  Afternoon.  An immense serpent is sleeping with her head buried in a thick bed of Johnswort, and her body coiled in apparently endless rings through the branches of a tree, which is already well grown; for the days of creation have been longer than our reckoning.  She is not yet visible to anyone unaware of her presence, as her colors of green and brown make a perfect camouflage.  Near her head a low rock shows above the Johnswort.

The rock and tree are on the border of a glade in which lies a dead fawn all awry, its neck being broken.  Adam, crouching with one hand on the rock, is staring in consternation at the dead body.  He has not noticed the serpent on his left hand.  He turns his face to his right and calls excitedly._

ADAM.  Eve!  Eve!

EVE’S VOICE.  What is it, Adam?

ADAM.  Come here.  Quick.  Something has happened.

EVE [running in] What?  Where? [Adam points to the fawn].  Oh! [She goes to it; and he is emboldened to go with her].  What is the matter with its eyes?

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