Lecture 1 Introduction: The Utopian vs. Dystopian Imagination Versus Dystopia Shirley Jackson: “The Lottery” (1948) : Utopia (1516); socio-political ; written in Latin ♦ Dystopia / Utopia: stemming in reality, reflects on reality (not necessarily Utopian set in the future, see story) ♦ “Unrealistic imaginings of improved world orders which when tested ♦ The idea of sacrifice is strong: you sacrifice (eliminate violently) against the realpolitik of pragmatism collapse into ineffectuality” something → thereby you create the illusion of a utopia (rich harvest, safe ♦ Focusing on social, political and cultural practices life for the whole community) Dystopian fiction ♦ Antonym of utopia: DYS +TOPOS = BAD PLACE Ursula K. Le Guin: “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” ♦ Literature presenting an imagined state or society in which there is great Suggesting Utopia: suffering or injustice, typically (but not necessarily) one that is totalitarian “How can I tell you about the people of Omelas? They were not naive and or post-apocalyptic. happy children – though their children were, in fact,happy. They were ♦Foci: dehumanization, tyrannical governments, environmental disaster, mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched. (...) social issues, , , , psychology, , science or Omelas sounds in my words like a in a , long ago and far away, once upon a time.” transformative utopianism The price of utopia: a child kept in a basement, communally abused: ♦is realised as fictional imaginings of transformed world orders and “Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand employs utopian/dystopian themes and motifs which propose new social that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their and political arrangements (Parrinder, 2001) friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the ♦ promotes and advocates transformative possibilities, either through skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly constructions of fantastic or realistic worlds (both and antiutopias) weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.” or implied through negative example (as in the many dystopian produced since 1988) Dystopia and Utopia are tied together Conclusion: To refuse the sacrifice demands more will (= less imaginable) than creating ♦ Dystopias are often masked as utopias a utopia ♦ Both dystopias and utopias are reflections of the present (if science Symbolic layers: The child; The communal abuse fiction: extrapolations of the present) ♦ ♦ Dystopias stem from utopian ideas; utopias are imagined to overcome Robert Sheckley: “A Ticket to Tranai” (1955) dystopian imaginations Utopian Expectations: ♦ no of any sort; ♦ no crime; therefore no police force or courts, no judges, sheriffs, marshals, executioners, truant officers or government investigators, no prisons, reformatories or other places of detention; ♦ no poverty; a stable economy without resorting to socialistic, communistic, fascistic or bureaucratic practices; governmental functions are kept to an absolute minimum ♦no corruption in any phase of the Tranaian government Dystopian Reality: ♦ Random shooting of “potential” criminals (murderers) ♦ Begging is the official job of the old ♦ Tax collection = street robbery ♦ Office holders may be voted down (and thus killed) ♦ Women is “stasis” ♦Disimproving machines