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Apocalyptic transformations: The secularization of apocalypse in contemporary fiction and film

Rosen, Elizabeth; (2005) Apocalyptic transformations: The secularization of apocalypse in contemporary fiction and film. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Apocalyptic Transformations: the Secularization of Apocalypse in Contemporary Fiction and Film Apocalypse is a story whose main character is God, and whose narrative climax is the awarding of New Jerusalem to the faithful. Because the apocalyptic genre's defining characteristics are therefore theological, contemporary authors and filmmakers face certain unique challenges in adapting the story of Apocalypse for a secular audience. In spite of the increasing presence of a new kind of apocalyptic story which emphasizes the destruction of the world and jettisons ideas of New Jerusalem entirely, authors continue to create apocalyptic works based on the classic paradigm. It is the position of this study that this is so because apocalypse is more than a religious story which has been passed down through the ages: it is also a means by which to understand the world and one's place in it. It is thus an organizing principle imposed on an overwhelming, seemingly-disordered universe, and a vehicle for social critique. This thesis examines both how the late twentieth-century imagination adapts this inherently religious story for secular consumption, and why authors appropriate the apocalyptic story at all. While positing a variety of personal motives ranging from political outrage to metaphysical inquiry, it is the contention of this study that the appeal of the traditional apocalyptic paradigm is based largely on its sense-making potential and socio-critical function. Focusing on the apocalyptic works of five contemporary authors and film-makers-comic book writer Alan Moore, film-makers Larry and Andy Wachowski, and authors Kurt Vonnegut and Don DeLillo-this thesis seeks to understand how the traditional paradigm is changed in the process of secular translation, and what is to be gained from such re-workings. Furthermore, by examining these artists' end-of-the-century engagement with the apocalyptic paradigm, it seeks to draw conclusions about the continuing appeal of the paradigm at the end of the twentieth century.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Apocalyptic transformations: The secularization of apocalypse in contemporary fiction and film
Identifier: PQ ETD:602435
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446510
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