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By Nicholas Spencer

Through constructing the idea that of severe area, After Utopia offers a brand new family tree of twentieth-century American fiction. Nicholas Spencer argues that the unconventional American fiction of Jack London, Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos, and Josephine Herbst reimagines the spatial matters of past due nineteenth-century utopian American texts. rather than absolutely imagined utopian societies, such fiction depicts localized utopian areas that supply crucial help for the types of historical past on which those authors concentration. within the midcentury novels of Mary McCarthy and Paul Goodman and the overdue twentieth-century fiction of Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, Joan Didion, and Don DeLillo, narratives of social area develop into decreasingly utopian and more and more serious. The hugely diversified "critical house" of such texts attains a place just like that loved via representations of historic transformation in early twentieth-century radical American fiction. After Utopia reveals that primary facets of postmodern American novels derive from the openly political narratives of London, Sinclair, Dos Passos, and Herbst.Spencer makes a speciality of certain moments within the upward push of serious area in past times century and relates them to the writing of Georg Luk?cs, Ernst Bloch, Antonio Gramsci, Hannah Arendt, Henri Lefebvre, Gilles Deleuze and F?lix Guattari, and Paul Virilio. The systematic and genealogical come across among severe thought and American fiction finds shut parallels among and unique analyses of those components of twentieth-century cultural discourse.

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Extra resources for After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction

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Everhard believes in the ultimate victory of the working class because of its “primitive strength” (154), which signals a reversion from the determinism of class struggle to that of biological power. London’s protagonist continues to make successful predictions about the outcomes of events and refers to the inevitability of the defeat of the Oligarchy, but his comments rely on Spencerian notions of scientific fact and evolution rather than the emergence of proletarian freedom from economic determinism.

The textual frame of The Iron Heel consists of a series of footnotes written from the vantage point of a future in which the Oligarchy has been succeeded by an idyllic utopian society. Authored by Anthony Meredith, the fictional editor of Avis’s text, these footnotes evoke the utopian future in a highly oblique manner. This narrative strategy indicates that the novel is much more concerned with expressing the process of history than enumerating the details of either dystopian or utopian society.

In his “Critical Remarks on Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘Critique of the Russian Revolution,’ ” Lukács alters his evaluation of Luxemburg. Now she is regarded as someone who wishes to minimize the role of the party and who “overestimat[es] [ . . ” Luxemburg is aware that the revolutionary transition to socialist society is subject to “crises and reversions,” but her idealization of “the organic character of the course of history” signals a relapse into deterministic fatalism (History 279, 277). Lukács’s essay “Legality and Illegality” is connected to these assessments of Luxemburg.

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