Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity / Edition 1

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Overview


Drawing from literary history, social theory, and political critique, this far-reaching study explores the utopian narrative as a medium for understanding the social space of the modern nation-state. Considering the narrative utopia from its earliest manifestation in Thomas More's sixteenth-century work Utopia to some of the most influential utopias of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this book is an astute study of a literary genre as well as a nuanced dialectical meditation on the history of utopian thinking as a quintessential history of modernity.

As he unravels the dialectics at work in the utopian narrative, Wegner gives an ambitious synthetic discussion of theories of modernity, considering and evaluating the ideas of writers such as Ernst Bloch, Louis Marin, Gilles Deleuze, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Henri Lefebvre, Paul de Man, Karl Mannheim, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jürgen Habermas, Slavoj Zizek, and Homi Bhabha.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520228290
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/4/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 323
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author


Phillip E. Wegner is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Reality of Imaginary Communities
1. Genre and the Spatial Histories of Modernity
The Institutional Being of Genre
Space and Modernity
Estrangement and the Temporality of Utopia
2. Utopia and the Birth of Nations
Re-authoring, or the Origins of Institutions
Utopiques and Conceptualized Space
Crime and History
Utopia and the Nation-Thing
Utopia and the Work of Nations
3. Writing the New American (Re)Public: Remembering and Forgetting in Looking Backward
Remembering
The Contemporary Cul-de-Sac
Fragmentation
Consumerism and Class
"The Associations of Our Active Lifetime"
Forgetting
4. The Occluded Future: Red Star and The Iron Heel as "Critical Utopias"
Red Star and the Horizons of Russian Modernity
The Long Revolution of The Iron Heel
"Nameless, Formless Things"
"Gaseous Vertebrate"
Simplification and the New Subject of History
5. A Map of Utopia’s "Possible Worlds": Zamyatin’s We and Le Guin’s The Dispossessed
Reclaiming We for Utopia
The City and the Country
Happiness and Freedom
The Play of Possible Worlds
We’s Legacy: The Dispossessed and the Limits of the Horizon
6. Modernity, Nostalgia, and the Ends of Nations in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
From Utopian Modernism to Naturalist Utopia
Orwell and Mannheim: Nineteen Eighty-Four as "Conservative Utopia"
The Crisis of Modern Reason
Modernization against Modernity: The Culture Industry and "Secondary Orality"
"If there was hope. . .": Orwell’s Intellectuals
Notes
Index
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