Introduction: Aspects of Apocalypse

  • David Seed


‘What does the Apocalypse matter, unless in so far as it gives us imaginative release into another vital world? After all, what meaning has the Apocalypse? For the ordinary reader, not much.’1 D. H. Lawrence’s questions pave the way for an argument to demonstrate that the Apocalypse does matter because it gives us access to a near-defunct symbolistic mode of thought whose rediscovery can re-energize the individual’s relation to the cosmos. In his own slim volume Apocalypse (1931) he engages in a process of excavation to gain access to the ancient pagan work he is convinced lies embedded within the biblical text building up to a rhapsodic climax celebrating connectedness: ‘I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me’.2 Of course, Lawrence is here pursuing a strategy common to other Modernists of rediscovering (and idealizing) aspects of ancient culture in order to expose absences in the present. More generally, he sets a twentieth-century keynote in interpreting Apocalypse to suit his own preconceptions, and by so doing approaches an oxymoron which will recur throughout this collection: ‘secular apocalypse’.


Urban Renewal Science Fiction Grand Narrative World News Penultimate Stage 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • David Seed

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