The Dialectics of crisis: the romanticised apocalypse in J. G. Ballard's 'The Drowned World' and Lars Von Trier's 'Melancholia'

Siobhan Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The theme of the apocalyptic is often portrayed through films and literature in a pessimistic manner. The crisis of the end of the world, unsurprisingly, is culturally and societally deemed as the ultimate manifestation of catastrophe. Science fiction and experimental films have often reflected this cultural trend, depicting the end of days according to normative behaviours and reactions to death and crisis. However, the optimistic portrayal of the apocalypse is a rarely explored narrative, and its implications for the cultural approach to crisis are of critical interest to studies in culture and crisis. J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962) and Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia (2011) are two forms of art that exhibit the more positive portrayal of the crisis of apocalypse. Through their literary and visual creation of the apocalypse, they communicate an often neglected narrative of the optimistic outlook to crisis and apocalypse. This view of the ultimate crisis is, therefore, a unique and rare narrative, here explored through the protagonists of Ballard’s and Trier’s works, who invert the stereotypical and generic reception of catastrophe and crisis and instead posit a theme of the optimistic apocalypse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalDiffractions : graduate journal for the study of culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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