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Visions of Apocalypse

Representations of the End in French Literature and Culture


Edited By Leona Archer and Alex Stuart

Picturing the end of the world is one of the most enduring of cultural practices. The ways in which people of different historical periods conceive of this endpoint reveals a great deal about their imagination and philosophical horizons. This groundbreaking collection of essays offers an overview of the Apocalyptic imagination as it presents itself in French literature and culture from the thirteenth century to the present day. The contributors analyse material as diverse as medieval French biblical commentaries and twenty-first-century science fiction, taking in established canonical authors alongside contemporary figures and less well-known writers. The book also considers a vast range of other subject matter, including horror films, absurdist drama, critical theory, medieval manuscript illuminations and seventeenth-century theology. Moving from the sacred to the profane, the sublime to the obscene, the divine to the post-human, the volume opens up more than 750 years of French Apocalypticism to critical scrutiny.


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Visions of Apocalypse began life as the theme of the Cambridge French Graduate Conference, 2011. The editors of this volume would like to acknowledge, first and foremost, the tremendous ef forts of our authors for contributing chapters to this book. Thanks must also go to the following institutions which generously funded our conference in 2011: the French Department at the University of Cambridge (who also supported this volume), King’s College, Cambridge, and the French Embassy in London. Special thanks are owed to Bill Burgwinkle for supporting the conference and providing thought-provoking opening and closing remarks, and also to Daron Burrows for graciously lending his time and expertise to contribute to the introduction to this volume. Personal thanks must also go to our families and friends for their unremitting support and encouragement during the organization of the conference and throughout the publication process, in particular: Valerie and Derek Archer, Andrew Viquerat, Lucy McIntyre, and Linda and Richard Stuart.

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