Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Publishing to Avoid Perishing: Philosophizing in Circles about Nothing

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Publishing to Avoid Perishing: Philosophizing in Circles about Nothing

Article excerpt

Publishing to Avoid Perishing: Philosophizing in Circles About Nothing Nivedita Bagchi. Human Nature and Politics in Utopian and AntiUtopian Fiction. 78pp. ISBN: 978-1-4985-5166-3. Lexington Books: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.

The subject of Nivedita Bagchi's (professor at Millersville University of Pennsylvania) book is similar to Birdwell's, but instead of considering utopian and realistic fiction, it looks at utopian and anti-utopian fiction. This duality is not clearly expressed in the "Contents", where chapters are divided by the names of the authors reviewed (Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell) rather than by the theoretical distinctions between these two concepts. The name appears to result from the fact that some of these "utopian" fictions express negative or nightmare scenarios while others are more idyllic. With only four main chapters, it is unclear why the author did not choose to focus on either one of these groups or the other to derive a clearer conclusion regarding a narrower genre. The "Introduction" explains the focus is the result of modern popular interest in anti-utopian fiction such as Hunger Games. The "Conclusion" to this "Introduction" begins thus: "While the question of 'what is human nature' remains politically relevant, it also remains unsolvable. …

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