Books

I am the author of The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel, which offers a critical model for our cultural obsession with the apocalypse and considers popular novels like The Road, Station Eleven, and Cloud Atlas. You can read the book’s introduction below.

I’m currently working on two book projects. The first is a cultural history of the sleep crisis, today’s widespread sleep deprivation. The second is an edited collection of essays on cult writer and artist Douglas Coupland (co-edited with Andrew Tate and Mary McCampbell).

My latest book is out now in paperback with Bloomsbury

The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel

Critical Temporalities and the End Times

Traditional apocalyptic texts concern the advent of a better world at the end of history that will make sense of everything that happened before. But what is at stake in the contemporary shift to apocalyptic narratives in which the utopian end of time is removed?

The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel offers an innovative critical model for our cultural obsession with “the end” by focussing on the significance of time in the 21st-century post-apocalyptic novel and challenging traditional apocalyptic logic. Once confined to the genre of science fiction, the increasing popularity of end-of-the-world narratives has caused apocalyptic writing to feature in the work of some of contemporary literature’s most well-known fiction writers. Considering novels by Will Self, Cormac McCarthy, David Mitchell, Emily St. John Mandel, Jeanette Winterson and others, Diletta De Cristofaro frames the contemporary apocalyptic imagination as a critique of modernity’s apocalyptic conception of time and history. Interdisciplinary in scope, the book historicises apocalyptic beliefs by exploring how relentlessly they have shaped the modern world.

You can find the book in major bookshops like WHSmith, Blackwell’s, Bookshop.orgAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Reviews

Set to become a landmark study of 21st century fiction, this wide-ranging, thought-provoking study is an invaluable resource, representing original work of the highest order, from a writer both engagingly readable and critically sophisticated.

Judie Newman, Professor of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham

A theoretical tour de force . . . building on a rich and comprehensive foundation of critical writing about modernity, history, time, and apocalyptic logic.

The Year’s Work in English Studies. Read the full review here.

The treatment of the works in The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel is accessible and lucidly presented. The extensive and effective footnoting offers further avenues for exploration, and the comprehensive explanations of De Cristofaro’s theorization of critical temporalities ethically and accessibly integrates theory across schools and disciplines to produce a rigorously interdisciplinary work.

Chelsea Haith, University of Oxford. Read the full review in Extrapolation.

This book offers a well-structured overview and analysis of contemporary post-apocalyptic novels. It convincingly demonstrates the topicality of the issue by linking it to major current social challenges caused by neoliberal capitalism and its accompanying oppressive structures and escalating risks, post-colonialism and the ecological difficulties of the Anthropocene. Its discussion of questions of agency brings the agency of literature in these crucial developments to the fore. This monograph thus nicely demonstrates the social relevance of literature and literary analysis.

Forum for Modern Language StudiesRead the full review here.

Read the introduction below

Books in Progress

Writing the Sleep Crisis

I’m working on my second single-authored book, a cultural history of the sleep crisis across fiction, non-fiction and digital culture. While sleep experts are divided on whether our society is suffering from a crisis of poor sleep, the sense of widespread sleep deprivation has captured the popular imagination. My book, the first exploration of cultural engagements with the sleep crisis, considers what these representations of sleep tell us about our society. I cover aspects ranging from mental health to our sense of self, from our relationship with technology to social inequalities, the rhythms of work and day-to-day life, and the pressures these rhythms exercise on us.

This project is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission.

The Extreme Present: Essays on Douglas Coupland’s Literature and Art

With Andrew Tate and Mary McCampbell, I’m editing the first collection of essays devoted to cult writer and artist Douglas Coupland. This project originated from the conference celebrating Coupland’s oeuvre we organised in April 2021.