In the Ruins of Civilizations
In the Ruins of Civilizations. Narrative Structures, World Constructions and Physical Realities in the Post-Apocalyptic Novel
ISBN 978-3-86821-431-4, 330 S., kt., € 34,50 (2013)
(Anglistik - Amerikanistik - Anglophonie, Bd. 18)
Post-apocalyptic novels tell stories set after a global catastrophe has led to the ‘end of the world’. But only in the rarest of cases does the ‘end of the world’ actually mean the end of the planet (or even of the human race), and it is on what remains after the end of the world that this book focuses on. What is left of the world from ‘before’? How are these remnants depicted and how do survivors interact with them? What influence does the state of the physical world have on these interactions? How are these processes narrated, and on which narrative level? To answer these questions, In the Ruins of Civilizations concisely covers the history and appeal of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales and then focuses on four post-apocalyptic novels published in the 21st century – Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Bernard Beckett’s Genesis, and Robert C. Wilson’s Julian Comstock – a story of 22nd Century America. Its theoretical approach is based on the work of ruin theorists, analyses of the depiction of non-functional objects in literature, ecocriticism, socio-geographical readings of landscapes and wildernesses, as well as on theories of narrative levels, narrative communication and space in narrative. It shows that the interplay between narrative structures, world constructions, corporeal objects and physical realities forms the fundamental embodying locus of post-apocalyptic novels.
Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)
"Sibylle Machat’s In the Ruins of Civilizations is an ambitious ecocritical exploration of American twenty-first century apocalyptic writing. The study is serious, well-conceived, analytical, and thorough in terms of scope, theoretical depth, and application. It not only marks the arrival of a young scholar with much potential onto the European ecocritical scene, but also opens an ecocritical window into the early 21st century American apocalyptic mindset and how it plays out in the imaginative space we call literature."
Chad Weidner, Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment 5.2 (2014)