FYS 160 The End of the World as We Know It: The Post-Apocalyptic Novel

Gillian Kendall, T Th 9:00 AM-10:20 AM

We will be exploring a wide range of literary scenarios that depict the collapse of civilization in the wake of plague-like disease and/or nuclear war.  The motif of the post-Apocalyptic novel has become common, yet its roots go back as far (and farther than) Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man.  In the works we will be examining, we will witness the attempts of the few survivors of catastrophe to create a new world, or merely to live in a world in which the past casts a vast shadow over the present.  The society that comes forth from these worlds can be anarchic, dystopic, utopian, or a combination of these.  Some works we will explore include Alas, Babylon, On the Beach, Riddley Walker, The Postman, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Chrysalids, The Road, and others.  Film adaptations will be shown as part of the course.  Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.