Space in Utopian and Science Fiction Discourses


Volume Editor:
This book testifies to the growing interest in the many spaces of utopia. It intends to ‘map out’ on utopian and science-fiction discourses some of the new and revisionist models of spatial analysis applied in Literary and Cultural Studies in recent years. The aim of the volume is to side-step the established generic binary of utopia and dystopia or science fiction and thus to open the analysis of utopian literature to new lines of inquiry. The essays collected here propose to think of utopias not so much as fictional texts about future change and transformation but as vital elements in a cultural process through which social, spatial and subjective identities are formed. Utopias can thus be read as textual systems implying a distinct spatial and temporal dimension; as ‘spatial practices’ that tend to naturalize a cultural and social construction – that of the ‘good life’, the radically improved welfare state, the Christian paradise, the counter-society, etc. – and make that representation operational by interpellating their readers in some determinate relation to their givenness as sites of political and individual improvement. This volume is of interest for all scholars and students of literature who wish to explore the ways in which utopias of the past and recent present have circulated as media of cultural exchange and homogenization, as sites of cultural and linguistic appropriation and as foci for the spatial formation of national and regional identities in the English-speaking world.

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Notes on Contributors
Ralph Pordzik: Introduction: The Overlaid Spaces of Utopia
Chapter I: Constructing Borders, Defining Limits: The Ideal Space of Utopia Revisited
Gabriela Schmidt: The Translation of Paradise: Thomas More’s Utopia and the Poetics of Cultural Exchange
Hans Ulrich Seeber: Utopia, Nation-Building, and the Dissolution of the Nation-State Around 1900
Richard Nate: Discoveries of the Future: Herbert G. Wells and the Eugenic Utopia
Ralph Pordzik: Persistence of Obedience: Theological Space and Ritual Conversion in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
Chapter II: Homely Spaces, Intimate Borders – Utopias to Live in
Nicole Pohl: ‘And is not every Manor a Little Common Wealth?’ Nostalgia, Utopia and the Country House
Christoph Ehland: The Watchdogs of Eden: Chesterton and Buchan Look at the Present of the Future
Elizabeth Leane: The Land that Time Forgot: Fictions of Antarctic Temporality
Dunja M. Mohr: “The Tower of Babble”? The Role and Function of Fictive Languages in Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
Chapter III: Worlds Beyond Worlds – The Limits of Geographical and Perceptual Space
Martina Mittag: Rethinking Deterritorialization: Utopian and Apocalyptic Space in Recent American Fiction
Doreen Hartmann: Space Construction as Cultural Practice: Reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer with Respect to Postmodern Concepts of Space
Saskia Schabio: Peripheral Cosmopolitans: Caribbeanness as Transnational Utopia?
Antonis Balasopoulos: “Utopian and Cynical Elements”: Chaplin, Cinema, and Weimar Critical Theory
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