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

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

by Phillip E. Wegner
     
 


"Imaginary Communities is a beautiful treatment of utopian narratives as the quintessential genre for figuring social space in the modern nation-state. 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 particularSee more details below

Overview


"Imaginary Communities is a beautiful treatment of utopian narratives as the quintessential genre for figuring social space in the modern nation-state. 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 19th c. 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: On Asian American Cultural Politics

"In this important book, Wegner argues that the historical work done by utopian narratives should be reconsidered, interrogated, challenged—and continued. Insightful and provocative, Imaginary Communities will prove a valuable contribution to our thinking about the politics of imagination."—Daniel Cottom, author of Cannibals and Philosophers: Bodies of Enlightenment

"Phillip Wegner's Imaginary Communities represents a major intervention in our understanding not merely of utopian literature, but the very ways in which we view our world. His concept of utopian narrative as both vision and practice, as participating in "real" worlds, a force for change rooted in the social world "as it is" and as it is becoming and is "imagined," succeeds wonderfully well; his notion of the imperative of "failure" as a resource of hope is deeply humane. He provides a body of work worth thinking through and thinking with. As a historian, I find the historicity of his approach, the literary arch spanning from the origins of the European nation-state to our global present and future, compelling in its ambition and execution. Wegner moves well beyond the more tired moves of "new historicist" literary criticism: this is historicist scholarship in a new key."—James Epstein, author of Radical Expression: Political Language, Ritual, and Symbol in England, 1790-1850

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520228290
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
06/04/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
323
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

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

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >