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The Apocalyptic Imaginary in Two Contemporary Novels from a Comparative Literary Approach

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
5:30 pm
Irvin Hall 242

The two recent novels Democracia (Gutiérrez, 2012) and Weather (Offill, 2020), which depict major crises of the 21st century (namely the 2008 financial crisis in Spain and the climate-denying Trump’s accession to presidency in the United States), illustrate phenomena of the same larger systemic crisis of late capitalism (neoliberalism). After demonstrating that the term “crisis” itself is problematic, the concept of the “Apocalypse” will be called upon to analyze the imaginary conveyed in the novels. Using not only literary tools, but also linguistic ones, it will be explained that, in Weather and Democracia, this imaginary, which reveals the multiple cracks of the current system, challenges the dominant, capitalist worldview. Following on French "collapsologie", which defines a collapse as both a current and impending process, this analysis demonstrates that the Apocalypse in the two novels is presented as complementarily immanent (happening in the present) and imminent (happening in the future).

Noémie Mil-Homens Cavaco is a first-year doctoral student at UCLouvain (Belgium). She is currently on a Fulbright research stay at Miami University, under the supervision of Professor Iñaki Prádanos. She wrote her Master’s thesis on the apocalyptic imaginaries conveyed in the novels Democracia (Gutiérrez, 2012) and Weather (Offill, 2020). Her research and fields of interest include environmental humanities, contemporary rewritings of the Flood and the Apocalypse in an age of climate emergency, technology and the environment, and the imaginaries of the ecological transition.

Reception to follow.

Sponsored by Miami University's department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Fulbright Program, and INCAL — Institut des Civilisations, Arts et Lettres.

Noémie Mil-Homens Cavaco
Noémie Mil-Homens Cavaco
Fulbright Scholar