John Hay F'16

John  Hay
Assistant Professor
English
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

ACLS Fellowship Program 2016
Assistant Professor
English
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
A New World in Ruins: Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature

Bringing together epic and lyric poems, fictional tales, travel accounts, and scientific texts, this study reveals that US authors who enthusiastically celebrated the myths of primeval wilderness and virgin land also frequently resorted to speculations about the annihilation of civilizations, past and future. By examining such postapocalyptic fantasies, A New World in Ruins recovers an antebellum rhetoric untethered to claims for historical exceptionalism—a patriotic rhetoric that celebrates America while denying the United States a unique position outside of world history.