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By Nicholas Spencer
Through constructing the concept that of serious house, After Utopia provides a brand new family tree of twentieth-century American fiction. Nicholas Spencer argues that the novel American fiction of Jack London, Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos, and Josephine Herbst reimagines the spatial matters of overdue nineteenth-century utopian American texts. rather than absolutely imagined utopian societies, such fiction depicts localized utopian areas that supply crucial help for the versions 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 severe. The hugely diverse "critical house" of such texts attains a place just like that loved through representations of historic transformation in early twentieth-century radical American fiction. After Utopia reveals that primary elements of postmodern American novels derive from the openly political narratives of London, Sinclair, Dos Passos, and Herbst.Spencer specializes in specific moments within the upward push of serious house in the past 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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Additional resources for After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction
Famously, Lukács argues that, prior to 1848, bourgeois critical realism, epitomized by Balzac, shared the creative revolutionary energy of the bourgeois class. Written by authors who were immersed in contemporary public events, critical realism portrayed the interaction between “typical” yet nonstereotypical characters (Historical 36), such as the heroes of Walter Scott’s ﬁction, and the important historical trends of their day. After 1848, when the bourgeoisie’s revolutionary spirit devolved into capitalist apologetics, critical realism was succeeded by the naturalism of Zola, in which the passivity of clichéd characters before a barrage of irrelevant details and deterministic forces mirrored that of their authors.
His discussion of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings contrasts with his verdict on landscape painting. For Bloch, Leonardo’s paintings represent “a space in which sculpture ends, only light is divided, into almost unknown objects” (2: 800). In other words, the natural landscape in these paintings fuses with the human ﬁgures and trails off into indistinct shapes that evoke the utopian future. At other times Bloch celebrates the “feeling of nature” and argues that “nature mythology” represents concrete utopia, not the archaic past (3: 1341, 1342).
While for Bloch the goal of concrete utopia is to presage humanity’s arrival at its “homeland” (3: 1376), he is critical of “household remedies” that seek to realize utopia via bourgeois domesticity (2: 891). Martin’s awestruck response to Ruth’s home typiﬁes the displacement of concrete utopia by household remedies that Bloch describes. Martin becomes aware of a social dualism that is symbolized by his name. He is known in workingclass circles by his ﬁrst name, but in Ruth’s home he is addressed as Mr.
After utopia: the rise of critical space in twentieth-century American fiction by Nicholas Spencer