Can we speak of a literary, or of a critical, disaster studies? If so, what would its archives look like, and what methods might we employ in examining them? The three books under review offer diverging answers to these questions. The authors provide a diverse sampling of recent work on the rhetoric, aesthetics, and politics of disaster that is now emerging in American literary and cultural studies.

John Hay’s Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature provides a view of the early importance of postapocalyptic thinking in American literature. His comprehensive study ranges from the early nineteenth century to the Civil War, weaving readings of well-known authors like James Fenimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain with travel narratives, contemporary best sellers, and writing in the newly emerging historical sciences of the day such as geology, anthropology, and archaeology....

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