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Berensmeyer, Ingo (2004): Opening the gates of pandemonium: Simulacra of apocalypse in Nathanael West's A 'Cool Million' and The 'Day of the Locust'. In: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Vol. 52, No. 2: pp. 153-166

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Nathanael West's last two novels, A Cool Million, or The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin (1934) and The Day of the Locust (1939), thematize the mass-cultural impact of simulation in ways that point forward to post-World War H American literature. They do so most notably by establishing a connection between the twentieth-century economic culture of consumption (the ideology of consumerism) and apocalyptic traditions of Western thought, a connection they explore through the figure of the simulacrum and the structural motif of unveiling. This article intends to demonstrate that West's literary analysis of simulacra transcends the boundaries of traditional readings of `modernism' and that, contrary to a number of interpretations, his texts do not offer a straight repetition of but a critical commentary on apocalyptic modes of thought and reading.

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