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Inventions of NemesisUtopia, Indignation, and Justice$
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Douglas Mao

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691199252

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691199252.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Inventions of Nemesis
Author(s):

Douglas Mao

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691199252.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of utopian literature and utopianism. Utopian speculation, at least since its key crystallization in Thomas More's Utopia of 1516, has been crucially animated by indignation. This may not strike many readers as a controversial claim. Yet the vast critical and theoretical literature on utopia has devoted curiously little attention to this point and, in so doing, has left certain features of utopianism looking not only more perplexing or contradictory than they really are but also more damagingly trivial. The chapter then looks at the halfway-to-utopia declaration in Samuel Beckett's Endgame (1957). Beckett, perhaps more disarmingly than any other in the twentieth century, insisted on conveying fundamental philosophy through old-fashioned gags.

Keywords:   utopian literature, utopianism, utopian speculation, Thomas More, Endgame, utopia, Samuel Beckett

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