John Speller's Web Pages Lilith

John Speller's Web Pages - Church Music: General
The medieval Jewish legend of Lilith is that she was Adam's first wife, who fell out with him because she insisted on being on top when having sex. She left the Garden of Eden and became a demon, leaving the way open for Adam's second, submissive, wife, Eve. This text is taken from an extended poem by Mrs. Collier, Lilith, the Legend of the First Woman, published in 1885. By a curious coincidence, the most famous painting of Lilith was Sir John Collier's "Lilith," and one might think Mrs. Collier was interested in the theme by her namesake's painting. The painting, however, appeared seven years after Mrs. Collier's poem was published, so perhaps the influence was the other way around. Nonetheless, Mrs. Collier seems to have been fluent in the iconography of art, since a number of medieval pictures of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden featured a leopard, which she specifically mentions. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Mrs. Collier came from a very conservative background and was the daughter of one of the earliest Iowa settlers.

Download PDF

"Lilith" by Sir John Maler Collier (1850-1934)
Site Contents Untitled