Narratives of the Apocalypse: An Introduction

  • Chloe Hill University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Victoria Saramago University of Chicago
Keywords: apocalypse, narrative, novel, Brazil


Ideas of the apocalypse have long consumed the popular imagination. For as long as individuals have imagined the Earth’s beginnings, so, too, have they imagined its end. Contemporary culture popularized the belief that the world would end in December 2012, supposedly following the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar used by ancient Mayan civilizations. Religions the world over boast eschatologies that feature a prophet’s return, the resurrection of the dead, and a final judgment. These imaginaries, however, proliferate beyond the theological in cultural artifacts such as literature, art, film, and music. Their secular appeal, more than bookending history for the faithful, reveals the ways in which the apocalypse helps us make sense of the world.