Dystopia: A Natural History

Hardcover | February 3, 2017

byGregory Claeys

not yet rated|write a review
Dystopia: A Natural History is the first monograph devoted to the concept of dystopia. Taking the term to encompass both a literary tradition of satirical works, mostly on totalitarianism, as well as real despotisms and societies in a state of disastrous collapse, this volume redefines thecentral concepts and the chronology of the genre and offers a paradigm-shifting understanding of the subject.Part One assesses the theory and prehistory of "dystopia". By contrast to utopia, conceived as promoting an ideal of friendship defined as "enhanced sociability", dystopia is defined by estrangement, fear, and the proliferation of "enemy" categories. A "natural history" of dystopia thus concentratesupon the centrality of the passion or emotion of fear and hatred in modern despotisms. The work of Le Bon, Freud, and others is used to show how dystopian groups use such emotions. Utopia and dystopia are portrayed not as opposites, but as extremes on a spectrum of sociability, defined by aheightened form of group identity. The prehistory of the process whereby 'enemies' are demonised is explored from early conceptions of monstrosity through Christian conceptions of the devil and witchcraft, and the persecution of heresy.Part Two surveys the major dystopian moments in twentieth century despotisms, focussing in particular upon Nazi Germany, Stalinism, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and Cambodia under Pol Pot. The concentration here is upon the political religion hypothesis as a key explanation for the chiefexcesses of communism in particular.Part Three examines literary dystopias. It commences well before the usual starting-point in the secondary literature, in anti-Jacobin writings of the 1790s. Two chapters address the main twentieth-century texts usually studied as representative of the genre, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World andGeorge Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The remainder of the section examines the evolution of the genre in the second half of the twentieth century down to the present.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$178.50

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Dystopia: A Natural History is the first monograph devoted to the concept of dystopia. Taking the term to encompass both a literary tradition of satirical works, mostly on totalitarianism, as well as real despotisms and societies in a state of disastrous collapse, this volume redefines thecentral concepts and the chronology of the genr...

Born in France, and educated in Canada and the UK, Gregory Claeys is Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. A historian of British radicalism and socialism from 1750 to the present, he is the author of eight books and editor of some fifty volumes, mostly of primary sources. He has written...

other books by Gregory Claeys

The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature
The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature

Kobo ebook|Aug 5 2010

$28.29 online$36.75list price(save 23%)
Imperial Sceptics: British Critics of Empire, 1850–1920
Imperial Sceptics: British Critics of Empire, 1850–1920

Kobo ebook|Aug 26 2010

$37.39 online$48.56list price(save 23%)
Mill and Paternalism
Mill and Paternalism

Kobo ebook|May 9 2013

$80.89 online$104.99list price(save 22%)
see all books by Gregory Claeys
Format:HardcoverDimensions:720 pagesPublished:February 3, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198785682

ISBN - 13:9780198785682

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Dystopia: A Natural History

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

PART I: The Theory and Pre-History of Dystopia1. Rethinking the Political Dystopia: the Group and the Crowd2. Monstrosity and the Origin of Dystopian SpacePART II: Totalitarianism and Dystopia3. The Caveman's Century: The Development of Totalitarianism from Jacobinism to Stalinism4. Totalitarianism from Hitler to Pol PotPART III: The Literary Revolt against Collectivism5. Mechanism, Collectivism, and Humanity: The Origins of Dystopian Literature, 1810-19456. The Huxleyan Conundrum: Brave New World as Anti-Utopia7. Vaporising the Soviet Myth: Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four8. The Post-Totalitarian Dystopia, 1950-2015Conclusion: Dystopia in the 21st CenturyBibliographyIndex