After The Flood: George Eliot and the Apocalypse
Matthew Bradley, Senior Lecturer in English, Liverpool University, thinks out loud about those occasions in Victorian culture ‘when o’er the world the conquering deluge ran,/Rolling its monster surges’, as Ruskin put it in a poem of 1835. Appealing to both Ruskin and George Eliot, most famously for the latter in the climax to The Mill of the Floss, the artistic and literary depiction of floods in the nineteenth century invites questions of structure, roots, sublimity, and of the end of the world. For Ruskin and Eliot, what comes ‘after’ the flood are the apocalyptic resonances – resonances of the Deluge, of Noah, of Deucalion, all of which help to illuminate some of the other powerful manifestations of apocalypse in both of their writings. In response, Linda Woodhead, Director, Institute of Social Futures, Lancaster University will consider the apocalyptic as an ancient and pervasive mode of future thinking – how the perdurable quality of the apocalyptic is related to its astonishing adaptability to different contexts of meaning and use.