Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation and the Spatial Histories of Modernity

Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation and the Spatial Histories of Modernity

By: Phillip E. Wegner (author)Paperback

More than 4 weeks availability


Drawing from literary history, social theory, and political critique, this far-reaching study explores the utopian narrative as a medium for understanding the social space of the modern nation-state. Considering the narrative utopia from its earliest manifestation in Thomas More's sixteenth-century work Utopia to some of the most influential utopias of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this book is an astute study of a literary genre as well as a nuanced dialectical meditation on the history of utopian thinking as a quintessential history of modernity. As he unravels the dialectics at work in the utopian narrative, Wegner gives an ambitious synthetic discussion of theories of modernity, considering and evaluating the ideas of writers such as Ernst Bloch, Louis Marin, Gilles Deleuze, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Henri Lefebvre, Paul de Man, Karl Mannheim, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jurgen Habermas, Slavoj Zizek, and Homi Bhabha.

Create a review

About Author

Phillip E. Wegner is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida.


Acknowledgments Introduction: The Reality of Imaginary Communities 1. Genre and the Spatial Histories of Modernity The Institutional Being of Genre Space and Modernity Estrangement and the Temporality of Utopia 2. Utopia and the Birth of Nations Re-authoring, or the Origins of Institutions Utopiques and Conceptualized Space Crime and History Utopia and the Nation-Thing Utopia and the Work of Nations 3. Writing the New American (Re)Public: Remembering and Forgetting in Looking Backward Remembering The Contemporary Cul-de-Sac Fragmentation Consumerism and Class "The Associations of Our Active Lifetime" Forgetting 4. The Occluded Future: Red Star and The Iron Heel as "Critical Utopias" Red Star and the Horizons of Russian Modernity The Long Revolution of The Iron Heel "Nameless, Formless Things" "Gaseous Vertebrate" Simplification and the New Subject of History 5. A Map of Utopia's "Possible Worlds": Zamyatin's We and Le Guin's The Dispossessed Reclaiming We for Utopia The City and the Country Happiness and Freedom The Play of Possible Worlds We's Legacy: The Dispossessed and the Limits of the Horizon 6. Modernity, Nostalgia, and the Ends of Nations in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four From Utopian Modernism to Naturalist Utopia Orwell and Mannheim: Nineteen Eighty-Four as "Conservative Utopia" The Crisis of Modern Reason Modernization against Modernity: The Culture Industry and "Secondary Orality" "If there was hope...": Orwell's Intellectuals Notes Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 04/06/2002
  • ISBN13: 9780520228290
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 323
  • ID: 9780520228290
  • weight: 454
  • ISBN10: 0520228294

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly