The Dystopian Impulse in Modern Literature: Fiction as Social Criticism

Synopsis

While literary utopias depict an ideal society and reflect an optimistic belief in the triumph of humanity and government, dystopias present a society marked by suffering caused by human and political evils. This book offers a detailed study of several literary dystopias and analyzes them as social criticism. The volume begins with a discussion of utopias, dystopias, and social criticism. By drawing upon the theories of Freud, Nietzsche, and others, Booker sets a firm theoretical foundation for the literary explorations that follow. The chapters that come next discuss Zamyatin's We, Huxley's Brave New World, and Orwell's 1984 as social criticism of totalitarianism, Stalinism, the dangers of capitalism, and fascism. Later chapters consider dystopias after World War II, contemporary communist dystopias, and postmodernist dystopias in the West.