From Eden to Cain:
Unorthodox Interpretations & Literary Transformations:
Selected Bibliography

Compiled by Ralph Dumain


Other reference

Cain and Abel in literature, art and the Bible from

Unorthodox interpretations

Fromm, Erich. Escape from Freedom. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1941. In Britain: The Fear of Freedom, 1942; see pp. 27-28.

__________. Psychoanalysis and Religion [1950] (New York: Bantam Books, 1967), pp. 41-42.

__________. The Forgotten Language: An Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Myths (New York: Grove Press, 1957 [1951]), pp. 234-235.

__________. Marx’s Concept of Man (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1961), Chapter 6, Marx's Concept of Socialism.

__________. You Shall Be as Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Traditions. New York: Fawcett Premier / Ballantine, 1966. See pp. 21-23, 57-58, 96-98.

Summary: Naomi Sherer reviews... You Shall Be As Gods by Eric Fromm.

__________. “On Disobedience” [excerpt] (1984).

Harkins, Angela Kim. “Cain and Abel in the Light of Envy: A Study in the History of the Interpretation of Envy in Genesis 4.1-16,” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 12.1 (2001), pp. 65-84.

Hofmannsthal, Karla von. Did Cain Kill Abel? or was it the other way round? And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, from the Journal of Gender Bible Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, January 2007, pp. 43-68. Authoritative PDF version. Text of the 2007 George Spiro Marlen Memorial Purim Lecture.

Adam & Eve & Cain & Abel in literature

Milton, John. Paradise Lost (1667/1674) Dartmouth's Milton Reading Room.

Byron, Lord. Cain, A Mystery (1821). See also Heaven and Earth (1821).

Blake, William. The Ghost of Abel (1822). 2 plates.

The Ghost of Abel (text only).

"The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve" (painting, 1826), London, Tate Gallery.

Madách, Imre. The Tragedy of Man; translated by William N. Loew, New York: Arcadia Press, 1908.

__________. The Tragedy of Man; translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes; introduction by George F. Cushing; illustrations by Mihály Zichy. New York: Püski Publishing, 1988. Scene 13 on this site.

__________. The Tragedy of Man; translated from the Hungarian by Thomas R. Mark; illustrations by György Buday; with an afterword by Mihály Szegedy-Maszák. 2nd ed. Budapest: Black Eagle Press / Fekete Sas Kiadó, 1999. [1st ed.: 1989.] “The Tragedy of Man: A Reading” by Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, pp. 197-210.

The Tragedy of Man: Essays About the Ideas and the Directing of the Drama: Full Text of the Drama / Imre Madách, translated by Joseph Grosz, responsible editor: György Lengyel, selected and edited by Erzsébet Bereczky. Budapest: The Hungarian Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), 1985.

Baudelaire, Charles. “Abel and Cain” (poem). Original: (CXIX.) Abel et Caïn, in Les Fleurs du mal (1857).

Twain, Mark. Letters from the Earth, edited by Bernard DeVoto, with a preface by Henry Nash Smith. New York; Evanston: Harper & Row, 1962. Contents:

Hesse, Hermann. Demian: the Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth (1923), with an introduction by Thomas Mann, translated by Michael Roloff and Michael Lebeck. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. See chapter 2.

Zend, Robert. “On the Terrace” (1975), in Daymares: Selected Fictions on Dreams and Time, edited by Brian Wyatt, foreword by John Robert Colombo, afterword by Northrop Frye (Vancouver: Cacanadadada Press, 1991), pp. 30-33.

Literary criticism & history

Chen, Amadeus. “A Christian Devil: Lord Byron’s Cain: a Mystery”.

Jacoby, Russell. Bloodlust: On the Roots of Violence from Cain and Abel to the Present. New York: Free Press, 2011.

Lunacharsky, Anatoly. Byron, Shelley and Heine, 11th lecture on the history of European literature, Sverdlov Communist University, 1924.

Note commentary on Byron’s Cain & Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound.

Reilly, Robert, ed. The Transcendent Adventure: Studies of Religion in Science Fiction/Fantasy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Schock, Peter A. Romantic Satanism: Myth and the Historical Moment in Blake, Shelley and Byron. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2003.

Steffan, T. G. (Truman Guy), komp. Lord Byron’s Cain: Twelve Essays and a Text with Variants and Annotations. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968. xvii, 509 p.

Tannenbaum, Leslie. “Blake and the Iconography of Cain,” in Blake in His Time, edited by Robert N. Essick & Donald Pearce (Bloomington; London: Indiana University Press, 1978), pp. 23-34.

See also: Bentley, G. E.. Jr., “A Jewel in an Ethiop’s Ear” [On the Book of Enoch], pp. 213-240.

Tuite, Clara, ed. Byron in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Jones, Christine Kenyon. “Religion,” pp. 101-108.

Horová, Mirka. “The Satanic School,” pp. 183-189.


Three Versions of Judas” (1944) by Jorge Luis Borges

Three Versions of Judas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ricci, Piero. “The Fourth Version of Judas,” Variaciones Borges, 1/1996, pp. 10-26.

Walsh, Richard G. Three Versions of Judas. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. (Original publication: Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2010.)

Refers also to Cain and the Cainites.

On this site


Scene 13, The Tragedy of Man; by Imre Madách, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes

Imre Madách by Dieter P. Lotze: contents & notes

The First Spear, by Frigyes [Frederick] Karinthy, translated by Paul Vajda

Erich Fromm on disobedience in Eden & the emergence of humanity

On Job’s dilemma: God’s injustice (from the play J.B.) by Archibald Macleish

Bibliographies & web guides

De Edeno al Kaino: Malkutimaj Interpretoj & Literaturaj Pritraktoj en Esperanto: Bibliografio

James Blish: A Select Bibliographic Guide

Johannes Linnankoski (Pseudonym of Johannes Vihtori Peltonen, 1869-1913): Literature in English & Esperanto

Sándor Szathmári (1897-1974): Bibliografio & Retgvidilo / Bibliography & Web Guide

Futurology, Science Fiction, Utopia, and Alienation in the Work of Imre Madách, György Lukács, and Other Hungarian Writers: Select Bibliography

Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources: A Selective Work in Progress

Sciencfikcio & Utopia Literaturo en Esperanto / Science Fiction & Utopian Literature in Esperanto: Gvidilo / A Guide


This is only the skeleton of a work in progress. Works on the myths of Adam/Eve/Eden and Cain/Abel originally written in English or translated into English are featured here. Relevant works exist that have never received an English translation. A separate bibliography of works in Esperanto is linked above. As certain heresies are comparable or linked, a few references on Judas are included.

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Uploaded 11 October 2013
Last update 16 August 2022
Previous update 8 May 2022

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