Literary visions of post-apocalyptic worlds in the works of Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood and Maggie Gee


  • Gönül Bakay Bahçeşehir University - İstanbul- Turkey



Anthropocene, post-apocalypse, speculative science fiction


Once hailed as the pinnacle of evolutionary progress, the human subject has more recently been under severe attack due to the destructive potential that has been unleashed by humans, especially in the last two hundred years. As a result, contemporary literature and art is replete with images of a utopia without humans. Many writers see humans, or rather human destructiveness, as the real plague on the planet and offer visions of utopia placed in the post-apocalyptic post-human era. Drawing on Patricia Vieira’s seminal article titled “Utopia and Dystopia in the Age of the Anthropocene”, I will first discuss how Mary Shelley portrayed ecological awareness in her The Last Man. I will then move on to examine how increasing ecological destruction leads to (post)-apocalyptic visions in the works of Margaret Atwood and Maggie Gee. My aim in juxtaposing two contemporary writers with Mary Shelley is to show that despite their different socio-historical contexts, these women writers have produced works that can not only be read as visionary and cautionary tales but that also promote heightened ecological awareness as an antidote to destructive and – ultimately – self-destructive tendencies of humankind.

Biografia do Autor

Gönül Bakay, Bahçeşehir University - İstanbul- Turkey

Gönül Bakay is a full professor in Bahçeşehir University- İstanbul- Turkey, holding a PhD. in 18th century English novel. Her teaching expertise covers Women’s studies and English literature from 18th century to the present..She has published several books in Turkish;Virginia Woolf ve İletişim ( ( Virginia Woolf and Communication), Günümüz Türk Kadını Başarı Öyküleri.(Success Stories by ContemporaryTurkish Women ) , Kadın ve Mekan  ( Women and  Space),and Atatürkü Yaşıyanlar (Memories of  Atatürk) and Simone de Beauvoir,her life , philosophy and her Works. She has one book published abroad: William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft and their offspring Frankenstein by Mellen press and is one of the editors of two books being published ın Vienna by Peter Lang publishers. The Trading women and Traded women:A Historical Scrutiny of Gendered Trading  and Memorable Encounters of Atatürk. She has published many articles both in Turkey and abroad; She has written chapters to three books published abroad: - Mary Wollstonecraft:Reflections and Interpretations,“Mary Wollstonecraft: A female Libertine or a Liberator of Women: A Turkish Approach”Rehilya Geybulleyava, Peter Orte,  Stereotypes in Litratures and Cultures “Turks or JewsMay  2012. Şebnem Toplu, Hubert Zapf.  Redefining Modernism and Postmodernism,” How do we seize the past? In search of lost history in Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World in 10/2 Chapters”England: Cambridge Scholars publishers, Septenber 2010. ..


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Debate "Antropoceno, utopia e distopia"