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Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature

$84.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture

  • Author: John Hay, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108307826

$ 84.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • Even before the Civil War, American writers were imagining life after a massive global catastrophe. For many, the blank slate of the American continent was instead a wreckage-strewn wasteland, a new world in ruins. Bringing together epic and lyric poems, fictional tales, travel narratives, and scientific texts, Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature reveals that US authors who enthusiastically celebrated the myths of primeval wilderness and virgin land also frequently resorted to speculations about the annihilation of civilizations, past and future. By examining such postapocalyptic fantasies, this study recovers an antebellum rhetoric untethered to claims for historical exceptionalism - a patriotic rhetoric that celebrates America while denying the United States a unique position outside of world history. As the scientific field of natural history produced new theories regarding biological extinction, geological transformation, and environmental collapse, American writers responded with wild visions of the ancient past and the distant future.

    • Offers literary historical research into many non-fiction sources (not just fiction and poetry), making it appealing to a wide array of readers interested in American literature, culture, and history
    • Different sections are devoted to canonical and non-canonical authors and texts, allowing instructors to use different sections for different purposes
    • Designed for easy use by scholarly readers, allowing them to effortlessly use the text as a reference guide
    • This book addresses Postapocalyptic fantasies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108307826
    • contains: 9 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The American Noah
    2. Narratives of extinction and the last man
    3. The magnificent mound builders
    4. History unearthed
    5. Contact at Ktaadn
    6. The revolutionary ruins of the New West
    7. Postapocalyptic postscript.

  • Author

    John Hay, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    John Hay is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he specializes in nineteenth-century American literature. He is the recipient of a 2016 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

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