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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 Persistence of Memory

The Persistence of Memory

(p.64) 2 The Persistence of Memory
Flowers of Time

Mark Payne

Princeton University Press

This chapter surveys the return of historical forms of life in postapocalyptic fiction after Mary Shelley's The Last Man. It includes simple agrarianism and foraging and hunting and gathering that require human beings to make use of capabilities that were dormant or occluded in the civilization that disappeared with the apocalyptic event. It also explains how occupation determines mentation in which the survivors fade back into the forms of life of the people who preceded them on their terrain. The chapter reviews the works that restage the Hesiodic vision of a humankind, which remains itself through a succession of local forms as a choice for the most satisfying capabilities of the human animal. It points out how postapocalyptic fictions invite readers to commit to a future that they can only reach if they detach themselves from present forms of care.

Keywords:   postapocalyptic fiction, Mary Shelley, Hesiodic vision, human animal, survivor

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