Sublime Conclusions
Last Man Narratives from Apocalypse to Death of God

Robert K. Weninger

Studies In Comparative Literature 43

Legenda

29 September 2017  •  590pp

ISBN: 978-1-910887-21-9 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781884-23-2 (paperback, 23 April 2019)  •  RRP £15.99, $22.50, €22.50

ISBN: 978-1-781884-24-9 (JSTOR ebook)

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One writer, Mary Shelley, inaugurated two of the three paradigms through which human beings imagine, with panic or pleasure, the end of their species. Complementing her visions of a world-encompassing natural plague (The Last Man, 1826) and man-made technological self-eradication (Frankenstein, 1818), the third – and oldest – paradigm of how to depict humankind’s demise is the religious notion of Apocalypse, God’s Day of Reckoning. Through in-depth philosophical and theological contextualization of the German, French and British literary settings of the apocalyptic tradition around 1800, Sublime Conclusions chronicles the transition from theism and deism to atheism and the ‘Death of God’ on which, Weninger contends, Shelley’s novels – and hence modern science fiction in general – are premised. A tour de force of comparative methodology, Weninger’s transdisciplinary approach is as wide-ranging as it is meticulous, interweaving the manifold discourses of catastrophe in literary history, art and film history, philosophy and theology, as well as the history of science and science fiction, across more than two centuries of European intellectual history from Voltaire’s mid-eighteenth-century response to the earthquake of Lisbon to Günther Anders’s presaging, in the wake of Hiroshima, humankind’s extinction through nuclear Armageddon.

Robert Weninger is Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King’s College London.

Reviews:

  • unsigned notice, The Year's Work in English Studies 98.1, 2019, 657-58

Contents:

i-vi
Sublime Conclusions: Sublime Conclusions
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vii-viii
Table of Contents
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ix-x
List of Illustrations
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xi-xvi
Preface and Acknowledgements
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1-41
Introduction
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42-102
Chapter 1 Theism 1805: Franz Von Sonnenberg and the Presence of God
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103-186
Chapter 2 From Theism To Deism 1805: Jean-Baptiste Cousin De Grainville and the Absence of God
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187-251
Chapter 3 From Theism To Atheism and Nihilism 1805: the German Romantics and the Death of God
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252-357
Chapter 4 Atheism, Science and Religion 1811/1826: the Shelleys and the Death of Man
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358-469
Chapter 5 ‘the Earth Void of Man’: Variations On A Theme 1945 and Beyond
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470-536
Sublime (?) Conclusions
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537-562
Bibliography
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563-574
Index
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Bibliography entry:

Weninger, Robert K., Sublime Conclusions: Last Man Narratives from Apocalypse to Death of God, Studies In Comparative Literature, 43 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2017)

First footnote reference: 35 Robert K. Weninger, Sublime Conclusions: Last Man Narratives from Apocalypse to Death of God, Studies In Comparative Literature, 43 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2017), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Weninger, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Weninger, Robert K.. 2017. Sublime Conclusions: Last Man Narratives from Apocalypse to Death of God, Studies In Comparative Literature, 43 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Weninger 2017: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Weninger 2017: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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