Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002

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Abstract

This book compares modern literary treatments of the theme of millennium-stories of the "end of the world," conceived as the ultimate battle between good and evil resulting in the institution of an utterly new social order. The book compares fiction, plays, poetry, and other works written in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish representing a wide spectrum of communities across the Americas, from the colonial origins to the present, from the letters of Columbus to the Left Behind series of novels. The goal is to understand better a thematic that has defined the Americas since the arrival of Europeans, as a "technology of the self" that furthers national and imperial agendas, but also as a discourse of resistance used by native populations, and that has provided an inexhaustible source of literary plots and tropes. This study brings together historical, literary, and ethnographic records to show that the repeated eruptions of millenarian conflict in the Americas have been both acts of resistance to the eradication of traditional ways of life in the process of nationalization and globalization, and also important sources in the search for origins and foundations. Americans tend to understand their origins by narrating their End. Since this End is always imagined rather than experienced, literature becomes a vital element in its propagation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9780199867097
ISBN (Print)9780195339383
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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