Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor Ronald Granofsky


My dissertation examines the heretofore unexamined dovetailing of concerns and motifs found in environmental, science-fiction, romantic, and post-apocalyptic narratives. In particular, I focus upon contemporary renderings of architectural ruins, vegetation, children, and depopulated landscapes. These broadly romantic tropes of the nineteenth century, I argue, are reworked in post-World War II fictions and writings to yield now commonplace ecological and post-apocalyptic motifs. Typically, post-cataclysmic landscapes are endowed with a sometimes uncanny fecundity, which can signal both healthy, consoling growth and also the dominion of a toxic, "postnatural" nature that is working to rid itself of humans and human infrastructures. The narratives I examine are, then, often poised between affirming an optimistic humanism and, perhaps unwittingly, a more nihilistic ideology, one which in some versions values non-anthropocentric ecology over urbanism and human life. As such, many of the narratives I examine anticipate contemporary forms of radical environmentalism.

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