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Flowers of TimeOn Postapocalyptic Fiction$
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Mark Payne

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691205946

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691205946.001.0001

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The Apocalyptic Cosmos

The Apocalyptic Cosmos

(p.37) 1 The Apocalyptic Cosmos
Flowers of Time

Mark Payne

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how Mary Shelley refashions Hesiod's search for a continuous ground of humanness that persists through catastrophic transformations of the foundations of social life. It looks at Hesiod's Works and Days, which consists of survival instructions and ontological reflections on what it means for human beings to have to repeatedly rediscover themselves in the occupations of survival. It also mentions Shelley's critics who saw willful cruelty toward humankind in The Last Man. The chapter explains how Shelley brackets the question of motive in the destruction of humankind and makes herself a proxy of Nature in bringing the era of human occupation of the earth to an end. It mentions Olaf Stapledon, an English writer of speculative fiction that focuses on how human beings relate to cosmic forces that produce drastic transformations in their physical being and form of life.

Keywords:   Mary Shelley, Hesiod, survival, The Last Man, human occupation, Olaf Stapledon

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