This is the most important book on aesthetics and culture to appear since Rosenberg's The Tradition of the New and Sypher's Loss of the Self. Working from a fresh and sophisticated premise--the relationship of fictions in life and art juxtaposed against the spirit of apocalypse, past and present--Professor Kermode has woven a brilliant, intricately designed investigation into the structure of the artistic and eschatological imagination, the shaping and alterations of various "mythic" approaches to the problems of space, time, and form, and the filtering of religious, philosophic, and scientific concepts through the twin movements of history and literature, especially the modernist phase. Using multiple disciplines, Kermode's argument reveals itself in a highly concentrated, synoptic fashion, one filled with pregnant (perhaps too pregnant) summaries, as here: "Modern art, like modern science, can establish complementary relations with discredited fictional systems: as Newtonian mechanics is to quantum mechanics, so King Lear is to Endgame." Both the quietly quasi-pontifical style and the insistence on the value of the past even in our rampantly transitional era have much in common with the concerns of Eliot--indeed. Kermode is indisputably Eliot's best successor.