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

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"Wegner demonstrates a wide-ranging yet lighthanded philosophical learnedness, an urgent political conscience, and a deeply historical sense that narrative utopias are like specters that haunt particular moments of upheaval, crisis, and contradiction within modernity:whether the threshold between the vestiges of feudal agrarian society and early modern English capitalism, conflicts between the new oligarchy of industrializing late nineteenth-century United States and the increasing militancy of the labor movement, the uneven successes and failures of the Russian Revolution of 1905, or the mid-century Cold War struggles."-Lisa Lowe, author of Immigrant Acts
"Insightful and provocative . . . . A valuable contribution to our thinking about the politics of imagination."-Daniel Cottom, author of Cannibals and Philosophies

Author Biography:Phillip E. Wegner is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida.

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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

Introduction: The Reality of Imaginary Communities
1 Genre and the Spatial Histories of Modernity 1
The Institutional Being of Genre 4
Space and Modernity 10
Estrangement and the Temporality of Utopia 17
2 Utopia and the Birth of Nations 27
Reauthoring, or the Origins of Institutions 27
Utopiques and Conceptualized Space 34
Crime and History 40
Utopia and the Nation-Thing 45
Utopia and the Work of Nations 59
3 Writing the New American (Re)Public: Remembering and Forgetting in Looking Backward 62
Remembering 62
The Contemporary Cul-de-Sac 65
Fragmentation 68
Consumerism and Class 74
"The Associations of Our Active Lifetime" 81
Forgetting 87
4 The Occluded Future: Red Star and The Iron Heel as "Critical Utopias" 99
Red Star and the Horizons of Russian Modernity 102
The Long Revolution of The Iron Heel 116
"Nameless, Formless Things" 119
"Gaseous Vertebrate" 126
Simplification and the New Subject of History 132
5 A Map of Utopia's "Possible Worlds": Zamyatin's We and Le Guin's The Dispossessed 147
Reclaiming We for Utopia 147
The City and the Country 151
Happiness and Freedom 158
The Play of Possible Worlds 161
We's Legacy: The Dispossessed and the Limits of the Horizon 172
6 Modernity, Nostalgia, and the Ends of Nations in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four 183
From Utopian Modernism to Naturalist Utopia 185
Orwell and Mannheim: Nineteen Eighty-Four as "Conservative Utopia" 192
The Crisis of Modern Reason 197
Modernization against Modernity: The Culture Industry and "Secondary Orality" 208
"If there was hope ...": Orwell's Intellectuals 216
Notes 229
Index 287
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