Eng 385

Topics in Apocalyptic Writing

M. McInerney


Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
	-- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

The last book of the Bible, sometimes called Apocalypse, sometimes Revelation, was written at the end of the first century AD, in the apparent belief that the end of the world was imminent. The world has not ended (yet) but the themes of John's book continue to fascinate. Should it be read literally or metaphorically? Is it prediction or allegory? What is the connection between revelation and the end of the world? Between mythology and eschatology, vision and violence, prophecy and poetry, memory and millenialism? This course will center on readings of John, Langland, Dante and Blake, but will require the reading of images as well as texts. This may include (but will not be limited to) medieval manuscript illuminations in illustration of the Apocalypse of John, medieval and early modern allegorical paintings, and Blake's Illuminations. We will also make excursions into the works of other prophets and poets, theorizers of the prophetic, the poetic and the allegorical, and into the worlds of some people who may be both, either or neither and who believe that although the world did not end in the year 2000, we are living in the end times nonetheless.




Course Webforum Syllabus Texts and Images Apocalyptic Links

Maud McInerney, September 1, 2002. Haverford College Department of English.