The creative act, claims Nicolas Berdyaev, is a prefiguration of the end of the world. To what extent is fiction an exploration of the ultimate ends of humanity - of heaven, hell, death and judgement? And how do modern authors use the literary resources of eschatological imaginings in their storytelling? In this careful yet suggestive study, Greg Clarke explores the eschatological underpinnings of modern fiction. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, Jurgen Moltmann, Jacques Derrida and Frank Kermode, Clarke outlines the way in which literature employs apocalyptic imagery, narrative structures and eschatological themes such as hope, glory, salvation and justice. Through a detailed study of the novels of pre-eminent Australian author Patrick White, a new eschatological approach to criticism emerges, where 'ultimate interests' become a reading lens and a key to understanding the creative impulse.
Greg Clarke is the Director of the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education (CASE) at New College, University of New South Wales in Sydney.