A subgenre of fantasy and science fiction involving an undiscovered human civilization in a remote and exotic locale on Earth. Typically, these are adventure tales in which a voyager from the Western world comes across the hidden community, whether by chance or on purpose. The denizens may be mystical or possessed of unknown technology.
Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard were early champions of the style in the 19th century. The most famous work in the genre is probably The Lost World (1912) by Arthur Conan Doyle, an adventure story about the discovery of prehistoric creatures surviving in South America. The topos had pretty well died out by the 1950s, with a few outliers, mainly in cinema.
Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
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