Gastvortrag Peter Y. Paik: "Rewriting the Apocalypse in Contemporary Culture: Representing Catastrophe and Its Aftermath"


11. Dezember 2017 10:15 – 11. Dezember 2017 11:45

Hörsaalgebäude, HS +1 00/30

Peter Y. Paik (Associate Professor; French, Italian and Comparative Literature; University of Wisconsin):

Rewriting the Apocalypse in Contemporary Culture: Representing Catastrophe and Its Aftermath

This talk will explore the cosmic or "Lovecraftian" turn in contemporary apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature and film. While the novel and film The Road, the Mad Max series, and the narratives of the zombie apocalypse have given rise to the image of the post-apocalyptic world as a dangerous wasteland inhabited by violent and dangerous human beings who have reverted to barbarism, recent works of the genre have shifted the emphasis from the threat posed by human survivors to the view that the cosmos itself is sinister and inhuman. Catastrophe does not come about from the foolishness and hubris of human beings, but rather appears to be written into the very fabric of reality itself, as indicated by the presence of utterly alien and inexplicable gods that are hostile and indifferent to humanity. In this talk, I will discuss the revelation of the sinister and possibly evil nature of reality in the novel The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (2011) and the film The Cabin in the Woods (2012). The Leftovers deals with the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of millions of individuals across the world in the manner of the Christian fundamentalist idea of the Rapture, only there is no clear moral basis for who vanishes, as the bad are taken along with the good. In The Cabin in the Woods, the continued existence of the world is revealed to depend on a ritual that appeases the dark gods that sleep beneath the earth. In both narratives, human sacrifice plays a central role. I will explore how the return of sacrifice marks the effort to grapple with a terrifying and traumatic reality.


Peter Y. Paik