By Nicholas Spencer

ISBN-10: 0803243014

ISBN-13: 9780803243019

By way of constructing the concept that of serious house, After Utopia provides a brand new family tree of twentieth-century American fiction. Nicholas Spencer argues that the novel American fiction of Jack London, Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos, and Josephine Herbst reimagines the spatial issues of past due nineteenth-century utopian American texts. rather than absolutely imagined utopian societies, such fiction depicts localized utopian areas that offer crucial aid for the types of background on which those authors concentration. within the midcentury novels of Mary McCarthy and Paul Goodman and the overdue twentieth-century fiction of Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, Joan Didion, and Don DeLillo, narratives of social area develop into decreasingly utopian and more and more serious. The hugely various "critical house" of such texts attains a place just like that loved by means of representations of old transformation in early twentieth-century radical American fiction. After Utopia reveals that vital points of postmodern American novels derive from the brazenly political narratives of London, Sinclair, Dos Passos, and Herbst.Spencer makes a speciality of unique moments within the upward thrust of severe area up to now century and relates them to the writing of Georg Luk?cs, Ernst Bloch, Antonio Gramsci, Hannah Arendt, Henri Lefebvre, Gilles Deleuze and F?lix Guattari, and Paul Virilio. The systematic and genealogical stumble upon among serious thought and American fiction finds shut parallels among and unique analyses of those components of twentieth-century cultural discourse.

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Additional info for After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction

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In Bloch’s writing, geographical utopia leads to concrete utopia, but in Martin Eden the possibilities of working-class space are subsumed by geographical fantasy. Workingclass experience also means that nature and pastoral space fail to attain a utopian meaning for Martin. Bloch identifies several versions of pastoral “Sunday space” in painting (2: 815). These include the celebratory “Eternal Sunday” of Breughel and the “bottomless boredom” of Manet’s landscapes of leisure (2: 813, 814). 0pt PgV ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [31], (19) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 tempts to hide from social space (2: 915).

After the cataclysmic demise of the Chicago Commune, Avis and Everhard arrive “in the green country” (350), where he is inspired to prophesy once more the success of the future revolution. Such renewal of revolutionary belief underscores the concrete-utopian function of nature. Despite such moments of synthesis, however, the novel’s historical processes and utopian spaces are frequently in conflict. When she is first exposed to socialist ideas and working-class experience, Avis says, “I was delighted with the unselfishness and high idealism I encountered, though I was appalled by the vast philosophic and scientific literature of socialism that was opened up to me” (100).

We do not make the class struggle. We merely explain it, as Newton explained gravitation. We explain the nature of the conflict of interest that produces the class struggle” (28). Yet Everhard’s Hobbesian view of naturalistic history is not borne out by subsequent narrative events. As Eric Homberger argues, The Iron Heel consists of “two distinct books” (16), one that describes the optimism of conversion to socialism and another that portrays the ineffectivity of socialist attempts to combat the Oligarchy.

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After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction by Nicholas Spencer

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