As far as I know, we don’t have apocalyptic literature as a genre in English. That’s a big reason why books like Daniel and Revelation are so hard for us to understand. I’ve heard that the Russians have apocalyptic literature, but I don’t know what it is.
My Saturday morning English class isn’t reading apocalyptic literature, but I realized today that the books for this class were all written in the wake of massive cultural upheaval: Time Machine and The Christmas Carol, and now we’re starting Les Miserables (all ‘young readers’ versions). I was trying to explain to them that these stories came out of times when these peoples experienced big social changes, and that many nations have these experiences: Britain’s Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, Taiwan had Japanese colonialism, mass immigration from China in the 1950’s, and the ‘economic miracle’ in the last few decades, and China’s current high-speed Industrial Revolution. That’s a rather ambitious lecture for an EFL class, but this one has my oldest students. I was pleased when they suddenly broke into a torrent of Mandarin as they made the connection with Taiwan history (in special cases I let them use Mandarin). I have no idea what they said exactly, just that it was about Taiwan history.
Reading China’s history one could get the impression that turmoil is China’s natural state of being. What is the literature from China’s eras of turmoil? What is being written now, in response to the ongoing high-speed industrial revolution? I don’t know, but one day I want to read it – in Chinese!