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Hell in Contemporary Literature – Western Descent Narratives since 1945 - Edinburgh Scholarship Online
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Hell in Contemporary Literature: Western Descent Narratives since 1945

Rachel Falconer


What does it mean when people use the word ‘Hell’ to convey the horror of an actual, personal or historical experience? This book explores the idea that modern, Western secular cultures have retained a belief in the concept of Hell as an event or experience of endless or unjust suffering. In the contemporary period, the descent to Hell has come to represent the means of recovering – or discovering – selfhood. In exploring these ideas, the book discusses descent journeys in Holocaust testimony and fiction, memoirs of mental illness, and feminist, postmodern and postcolonial narratives written a ... More

Keywords: Hell, secular cultures, suffering, selfhood, Holocaust, mental illness, descent, narration and identity, trauma and memory, realism and fantasy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780748617630
Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617630.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Rachel Falconer, author