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Utopias of One$
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Joshua Kotin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196541

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196541.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Utopias of One

Utopias of One

(p.1) Introduction Utopias of One
Utopias of One

Joshua Kotin

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter briefly sets out the book's claims on utopian writing. The first claim is that the texts examined in this book create perfect worlds. The overarching claim is related: the texts being examine create perfect worlds by refusing or failing to present models of perfect worlds. Here, the chapter argues that efficacy and divisiveness go hand in hand. For the writers discussed in the following chapters, the dissolution of community is the first step toward establishing an alternative to community. A writer responds to the failure of utopia—America in the aftermath of Reconstruction, the Soviet Union in the 1930s, the world under neoliberalism—by devising their own utopian project. The project is precarious. It risks solipsism at one extreme and mere critique at the other. Ultimately, its effects are asymmetrical and highly improbable: a perfect world that cannot be replicated or shared.

Keywords:   utopia, utopian writing, perfect worlds, community

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