This chapter focuses on postapocalyptic fiction, which imagine the life that human beings might lead after the apocalyptic event has passed. It references large-scale works of literary fiction that stage how new forms of life emerge from catastrophe, how survivors adapt to the altered conditions of existence, and the various ways in which the past asserts its claims on them. It also elaborates the immediate past of the world that is lost and the deep past of prehistory and the anthropological imagination that returns with this loss. The chapter describes postapocalyptic fiction as political theory and a mode of persuasion in fictional form, which shows what it would be like to live that life. It discusses modern postapocalyptic fiction with Mary Shelley's The Last Man in 1826, which stages the return of small-scale agrarianism in the aftermath of catastrophe.
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