End of Days: Essays on the Apocalypse from Antiquity to Modernity

December, 2009

Edited by Karolyn Kinane, professor of medieval and early modern literature, and Michael A. Ryan

The idea of the complete annihilation of all life is a powerful and culturally universal concept. As human societies around the globe have produced creation myths, so
too have they created narratives concerning the apocalyptic destruction of their worlds. This book explores the idea of the apocalypse and its reception within culture and society, bringing together 17 essays that explore both the influence and innovation of apocalyptic ideas from classical Greek and Roman writings to the foreign policies of today’s United States.

“A lot of the teaching and research I do explores how the medieval past is represented in contemporary popular culture,” says Kinane. “This project shifted that focus to consider how popular cultures treat a future event, the end of the world. By studying Armageddon in a variety of historical and cultural contexts, including the puritan migration, Nazi Germany, and zombie movies, I’ve learned just how potently anxieties and hopes for the future shape present behavior. The collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of this volume allows readers to discover multiple connections and conclusions about religion, politics, and art from its pages.”

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