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Title: Beyond the sense of an ending: post-apocalyptic critical temporalities
Author: De Cristofaro , Diletta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 2391
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2015
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Beyond the Sense of an Ending: Post-Apocalyptic Critical Temporalities argues that recent post-apocalyptic fictions written by non-science fiction authors subvert the apocalyptic understanding of time and history at the core of western modernity. In accord with the postmodern narrative turn in historiography, the novels expose the apocalyptic totalising teleology as a narrative construct deeply enmeshed with power structures. Emphasising the connection between apocalyptic End and narrative endings, the texts articulate critical temporalities through their narrative structures. Contemporary postapocalyptic fiction is beyond the apocalyptic “sense of an ending” (Kermode), for it critiques the epistemic primacy of the End - namely, its sense-making function - in history and conventional narratives alike. The chapters trace a trajectory from “antiapocalypse” (Quinby) to “counter-apocalypse” (Keller), that is, from novels which challenge apocalyptic history without acknowledging their dependence on apocalyptic discourse to novels which recognise this double bind through parody. After an analysis of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse (2007) as antiapocalyptic critiques of America’s ideological core, the thesis turns to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004) and Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007), focussing on their subversion of the deterministic teleology of apocalyptic history through plots which eschew linearity. Will Selfs The Book o f Dave (2006) and Sam Taylor’s The Island at the End o f the World (2009) are then discussed as counter-apocalypses which parody apocalyptic discourse as the self-referential construction of unhinged minds. Finally, the thesis foregrounds both negative and potentially constructive aspects of the postmodern critique of metanarratives through Douglas Coupland’s apocalyptic Girlfriend in a Coma (1998) and his counter-apocalyptic Player One (2010), respectively.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available