Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism General

Post-Apocalyptic Culture

Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Twentieth-Century Novel

by (author) Teresa Heffernan

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2014
General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2008
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


In Post-Apocalyptic Culture, Teresa Heffernan poses the question: what is at stake in a world that no longer believes in the power of the end? Although popular discourse increasingly understands apocalypse as synonymous with catastrophe, historically, in both its religious and secular usage, apocalypse was intricately linked to the emergence of a better world, to revelation, and to disclosure.

In this interdisciplinary study, Heffernan uses modernist and post-modernist novels as evidence of the diminished faith in the existence of an inherently meaningful end. Probing the cultural and historical reasons for this shift in the understanding of apocalypse, she also considers the political implications of living in a world that does not rely on revelation as an organizing principle.

With fascinating readings of works by William Faulkner, Don DeLillo, Ford Madox Ford, Toni Morrison, E.M. Forster, Salman Rushdie, D.H. Lawrence, and Angela Carter, Post-Apocalyptic Culture is a provocative study of how twentieth-century culture and society responded to a world in which a belief in the end had been exhausted.

About the author

Teresa Heffernan is a professor in the Department of English at St. Mary’s University.

Teresa Heffernan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A useful starting point from which to examine the aesthetics of fiction being produced in the twenty-first century.” ;

Modern Language Review

“Especially worthwhile for students of apocalypticism and also for students of twentieth-century fiction.”

Kritikon Litterarum

Other titles by Teresa Heffernan