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Twentieth-Century Utopian Literature

Stock, Adam ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6172-0971 (2022) Twentieth-Century Utopian Literature. In: Marks, Peter, Wagner-Lawlor, Jennifer and Vieira, Fátima, (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literatures. 1 ed. Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 137-148

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C20 Utopian Literature CORRECTED DRAFT for RAY.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 15 March 2025.


Even as breathtaking developments in science and technology seemed to place utopian dreams within touching distance, the twentieth century often felt more distant from utopia than ever. This chapter charts how utopian and (increasingly) dystopian literature responded to twentieth-century history. In the early twentieth century, social Darwinism became part of a narrative about embodiment that utopias and dystopias debated in relation to mass politics and totalitarianism. In the mid-century, dystopias cautioned about nuclear age terrors, while progressive anti-colonial and decolonization movements drew on utopian thought. By the 1970s, utopian texts were addressing limitations of the utopian tradition, and ecology became an important concern. The end of the Cold War saw a dystopian turn characterized by genre blending and postmodern strategies. Responding directly to historical events, utopian and dystopian fiction helped shape understandings of the twentieth century’s great upheavals.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-88654-7_11
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN3311 Prose. Prose fiction
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7778

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