By Nicholas Spencer
By way of constructing the concept that of serious house, 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 totally imagined utopian societies, such fiction depicts localized utopian areas that supply crucial aid for the versions of heritage on which those authors concentration. within the midcentury novels of Mary McCarthy and Paul Goodman and the past due twentieth-century fiction of Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, Joan Didion, and Don DeLillo, narratives of social house develop into decreasingly utopian and more and more severe. The hugely various "critical house" of such texts attains a place just like that loved via representations of old transformation in early twentieth-century radical American fiction. After Utopia unearths that imperative facets of postmodern American novels derive from the brazenly political narratives of London, Sinclair, Dos Passos, and Herbst.Spencer makes a speciality of particular moments within the upward push of severe house 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 upon among serious idea and American fiction unearths shut parallels among and unique analyses of those components of twentieth-century cultural discourse.
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Extra info for After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction
One of the key concepts of The Principle of Hope is Bloch’s theorization of the dialectics of nature. Bloch’s spatial emphasis leads him to theorize the role of nature in facilitating and limiting the extent of human utopia. He claims that nature undergoes the same dialectical processes as those that characterize the history of human activity. As nature affects human society, so too human activity transforms nature. The goal of this process is the coutopianization of nature and human society. Bloch recognizes that “the former pioneering will in America” exempliﬁes the subjective factor that is necessary for the realization of utopia, but he observes that American capitalism “has no relation to nature at all, not even an aesthetically mediated one” (2: 683, 695).
Because they interpret these events in terms of “theoretical social evolution” and regard the Oligarchy as a theoretical aberration (175), Everhard’s fellow party members are conﬁdent of the imminent defeat of the Oligarchy. However, Everhard realizes that the Oligarchy will not be removed by the peaceful bourgeois method of democratic elections, and he instead acknowledges that a violent confrontation is inevitable. He therefore abandons the determinism of social democracy and adopts the revolutionary position of Lukács.
He recognizes the power of spontaneous mass movements, but he will not relinquish a commitment to centralized leadership. 5 London’s novel thus moves away from its initial deterministic outlook in two ways. On the one hand, the narrative resorts to noneconomistic versions of determinism. On the other hand, London evokes the need for revolutionary control of contingent events. The conﬂict between these two perspectives exerts considerable pressure on the narrative, and London intimates a desire to reject all models of history as a means of escaping such contradictory impulses.
After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction by Nicholas Spencer