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Beginning at the End. Post-apocalyptic Robinsonades in Contemporary Literature, Film and Games

Tuesday, 4 October 2016, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Beginning at the End. Post-apocalyptic Robinsonades in Contemporary Literature, Film and Games

A public lecture by Dr Maren Conrad (Graduate School ‘Practices of Literature’ at the Westfälische-Wilhelms Universität Münster) during her fellowship at the Trinity Long Room Hub in collaboration with the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies.

Abstract: Even if the apocalypse is there, the catastrophe has happened and the world as we know it has come to an end, paradoxically, there is always one man who lives to tell the tale. Narrations dealing with a post-apocalyptic world therefore offer an impossible and seemingly fantastic concept of survival and identity, placing the last man somewhere in the middle of destruction, between subjective perceptions of the identity and alterity.

This talk focuses on narrative and spatial strategies in stories of the “last man” in a post-apocalyptic setting by taking a comparative look at films (I am Legend, Oblivion, World War Z, The Wall) and computer games featuring the last man (Fallout, The Last of Us, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture) from 1990 onwards as well as their origins in early and contemporary literary works (Matheson’s I am Legend, Glavinic’s Die Arbeit der Nacht, McCarthy’s The Road, Schmidt’s Schwarze Spiegel).

In the post-apocalyptic narration these fantastic spaces have turned into a place where nature prevails over civilization, and where emptiness and the lack of culture puts the self center-stage. I will argue that this seemingly dystopian worlds often are transformed into a densely aestheticized and therefore strangely optimistic version of the Robinsonade as survival fiction, combined with ‘the end of the world’. For these dystopian worlds are quotes and rewritings of well-known concepts of fantastic places of self-reflection and mythic self-encounter derived from 17th-century Romantic literature.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub
Accessibility: Yes
Event Type: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Campus information, Careers, Children’s activities, Classes, Conferences, Courses, Exhibits, External sport events, Key dates, Lectures and Seminars, Library, Public, Science Gallery, Special events, Student events, Trinity Sport events, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
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