“Time, no arrow, no boomerang, but a concertina”:Cloud Atlasand the anti-apocalyptic critical temporalities of the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel

De Cristofaro, Diletta (2017) “Time, no arrow, no boomerang, but a concertina”:Cloud Atlasand the anti-apocalyptic critical temporalities of the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 59 (2). pp. 243-257. ISSN 0011-1619

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/00111619.2017.1369386

Abstract

Through the paradigmatic example of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, I argue that contemporary post-apocalyptic fictions articulate temporalities critical of Western modernity’s apocalyptic understanding of history. The article’s first section outlines the history of apocalyptic discourse and fleshes out the connection between postmodern theories of historiography and contemporary post-apocalyptic novels: these invite us to reflect on history qua narrative, while challenging an essentially apocalyptic model of narrative. The second section focuses on Cloud Atlas’s concertina-like structure, which resists a telic closure, warps the deterministic linearity of apocalyptic history and of traditional plots, and, through recurring patterns, foregrounds the dystopian implications of apocalypticism. The third section considers these implications in Cloud Atlas—from colonialism to the future neo-colonial biopower of corporations and anthropogenic environmental crises. Finally, I examine how the content and structure of the novel combine to exalt individual agency against the determinism and predatory behavior supported by the apocalyptic metanarrative

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell, post-apocalyptic fiction, anti-apocalypse, critical temporality
Subjects: W600 Cinematics and Photography
W800 Imaginative Writing
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 14:52
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2020 15:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44025

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