Title

Introduction: The United States of Apocalypse

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date

12-17-2020

Publication Title

Apocalypse in American Literature and Culture

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

First page number:

1

Last page number:

14

Abstract

In addition to evoking western lands and democratic politics, the very name of America has also encouraged apocalyptic visions. The “American Dream” has not only been about the prospect of material prosperity; it has also been about the end of the world. Final forecasts constitute one of America’s oldest literary genres, extending from the eschatological theology of the New England Puritans to the revolutionary discourse of the early republic, the emancipatory rhetoric of the Civil War, the anxious fantasies of the atomic age, and the doomsday digital media of today. For those studying the history of America, renditions of the apocalypse are simply unavoidable. This collection brings together two dozen essays by prominent scholars that explore the meanings of apocalypse across different periods, regions, genres, registers, modes, and traditions of American literature and culture. It locates the logic and rhetoric of apocalypse at the very core of American literary history.

Keywords

American literature; Apocalypse interpretation; American culture; Apocalyptic literature

Disciplines

American Literature | American Studies | Arts and Humanities

Language

English

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