West Coast Apocalyptic: A Site-Specific Approach to Genre
MELSOM, RYAN J
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Key studies of apocalypse in previous years have consciously and unconsciously understood the genre in terms of its paradigmatic consistency across examples. This emphasis points out valuable similarities among a wide range of texts, but also diminishes the significance of a text’s locally and historically rooted ways of depicting experience. This study reflects an effort to rebalance the meaning of apocalypse by looking at a specific locale – the North American West Coast. I examine popular, critical, and literary representations of the West Coast to trace out the unique ways that they configure regional identities. Ultimately, I make the case for site-specific criticism, which values provisional, locally rooted terminologies and tropes for analyzing cultural problems.