Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Evening Lecture Series 2022

Stories of the End: Apocalypse and Literature

“Of course, we have it now, the sense of an ending,” wrote the literary critic Frank Kermode in 1966, arguing that this sense is always with us. “There is nothing at all distinguishing about eschatological anxiety,” Kermode insists; it is common to almost every culture, every age. As Kermode points out, the apocalyptic mode has profoundly shaped the histories of literature, art, mass media storytelling, and politics; in the 2020s, it will surely continue to do so, as we confront a worsening climate crisis, a resurgent right-wing populism, and other unfolding crises. The cultural and political contexts of apocalyptic narratives are, however, always changing.

This course, delivered by Trinity School of English staff, will ask: How have culture, history, and politics shaped the stories that we tell about the end of the world? How have we thought about the apocalypse (which means, of course, “revelation”, as well as termination)? How will we think about it in the future? Might the end of the world, in 2021, at last really be nigh? This lecture series will engage with the many forms that the end of the world has taken in literature, and ask: why do we love to tell Stories of the End?  

Possible areas to consider might include: literary uses (and abuses) of the Book of Revelation; non-Christian apocalypse literature(s); evangelicism in literature; climate change and “eco-apocalypse” (or “carbon apocalypse”); pandemics; zombies; messiahs; Cold War nuclear anxiety in fiction; 9/11 and the apocalyptic imaginary; millennial prophecies, both secular and otherwise; the “End of History”; QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theories; the Anthropocene; apocalyptic science fiction and fantasy; queering the apocalypse; World War I and World War II and the apocalyptic imagination; apocalypse and the Global South; poetry and the apocalypse; Afrofuturist/Afrospeculative (re)imaginings of apocalypse; doomsday preppers; transhumanism and “the Singularity”; emotion/affect in the shadow of apocalypse; masculinities and apocalypse; feminism and the apocalyptic imagination; “the end of the world/the end of capitalism”; apocalypse in the age of world systems; and more besides. 



€50 for the entire series. Individual lectures are €5 each. Concessionary rates for the full series will be €40 or individual lecture €4 each. The concessionary rate applies to: students, OAPs, unemployed, groups of 20+; TCD staff and Graduates.

Date, Time and Place

Due to COVID-19, lectures will take place online . Upon registering with Eventbrite, you will be sent a link and password each week which you can use to access the online lecture.


There will be ten weekly lectures beginning on Tuesday 1st February 2022. Lectures will be uploaded at 7pm on Tuesdays. Tickets can be bought for any lecture at any time.

1st Feb Dr. Alice Jorgensen, "The End of the World a Thousand Years Ago: Fear of Judgement in Old English'

8th Feb Prof. Darryl Jones, “John Martin: The Victorian Master of Disaster”

15th Feb Dr. Brendan O’Connell, 'When Hell heard the hounds of heaven': the destruction of Sodom in Cleanness”

22nd Feb Dr. Mark Sweetnam, '"Babylon the great is fallen": The History of the Apocalyptic Other'

1st Mar Prof. Eve Patten, T.H. White’s The Elephant and the Kangaroo

8th Mar Prof. Christopher Morash, “Conceiving Catastrophe: Yeats’s Apocalypses”

15th Mar Dr. Julie Bates, “Beckett and the End of the World”

22nd Mar Dr. Bernice Murphy, “Pandemics in American Literature & Film”

29th Mar Dr. Clare Clarke, Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

5th April Dr. Ema Vyroubalova, “"Even to the edge of doom": Shakespeare, the end of the world, and thereafter"



Tickets from Eventbrite:
Please book tickets online using this link to Eventbrite: (Eventbrite Link)

Contact Details:

Ms Sophia Ni Sheoin