Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow: varieties of modernist dystopia
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
iv, 200 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Humanities
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By tracing the literary heritage of dystopia from its inception in Joseph Hall and its modern development under Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, and Anthony Burgess, modern dystopia emerges as a distinct type of utopian literature. The literary environments created by these authors are constructed as intricate social commentaries that ridicule the foolishness of yearning for a leisurely existence in a world of industrial ideals. Modern dystopian narratives approach civilization differently yet predict similarly dismal limitations to autonomy, which focuses attention on the individual and the cultural crisis propagated by shattering conflicts in the modern era. During this era the imaginary nowhere of utopian fables was infected by pessimism and, as the modern era trundled forward, any hope for autonomous individuality contracted. Utopian ideals were invalidated by the oppressive nature of unbridled technology. The resulting societal assessment offers a dark vision of progress.