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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Drawing on deconstructive literary theory, this chapter explores how apocalyptic allegories suppress their literary production; it focuses on the emergence of an increasingly popular form of “literalist allegory” whereby the transcendent truth of present political events are allegorically provided by apocalyptic texts. As an example, it explores the connection made between Osama bin Laden and the Whore of Babylon at the time of his death. Turning back to the literary features of Revelation 17–18, the Whore’s evil is shown to be constructed through the juxtaposition of incompatible social roles and affects, including those of the intended audience; like the empire the figure is meant to criticize, both self and other are subsumed by it. The same subreptive structure is shown to be at work in the literalist allegory that equates bin Laden and the Whore.

Keywords: Osama bin Laden, Whore of Babylon, literalist allegory, apocalypticism, apocalyptic imagery, politics, political literalism, apocalyptic literature, deconstructive literary theory, subreption, empire

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