American Utopia: Literature, Society, and the Human Use of Human Beings, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

American Utopia

Literature, Society, and the Human Use of Human Beings, 1st Edition

By Peter Swirski

Routledge

256 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367144340
pub: 2019-04-01
Available for pre-order
$39.95
x
Hardback: 9780367144272
pub: 2019-04-01
Available for pre-order
$149.95
x


FREE Standard Shipping!

Description

From the Black Tuesday to the White House, from Plato to Robert Nozick, from Eugene Debs to Richard Nixon, from Peter Cornelis Plockhoy to the hippie communes of the Sixties, from universal basic income to utopian basic income, from proverbial wisdom to multilevel selection, from Big Data to paleomorality, from Prisoner’s Dilemma to social-engineering Israeli kindergartens, from time travel to gene engineering, from the pretzel logic of meritocracy to de-aggressing humanity, American Utopia maps the pitfalls and windfalls of social reform in the name of the human use of human beings.

         Interrogating the assumptions behind four outré utopias by Thomas M. Disch, Bernard Malamud, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood, it interrogates the assumptions that have historically been central to the utopian project. Whence the seeds of social discontent? Whence our taste for egoism and altruism? For waging war and waging peace? Can we bioengineer human nature to specifications? Should we? Who makes better guardians: humans or machines? And who will guard the guardians?

Reviews

"Peter Swirski is one of the original scholars of his generation. American Utopia combines an incredible range of knowledge, wicked humor, and take-no-prisoner attitude to the corruption, exploitation, and political repression that come between us and social justice. Anyone interested in Utopias and Utopian thought, in American literature and American society, and in the future of humanity—and that includes all of us—will find this one-of-a-kind book difficult to put down."

—Arthur Asa Berger, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University

"This is quintessential Swirski: sharp, exciting, and sophisticated. This is a timely and rewarding read. Don’t miss it!"

—David Livingstone Smith, Professor of Philosophy, University of New England

"This book is a major contribution to Utopian studies, an insightful critique of some contemporary utopias, and an important meditation on issues raised by the doomed search for human perfection."

—David Rampton, University of Ottawa

Table of Contents

Part 1: Utopia, Eutopia, Youtopia

Chapter 1: What If?

Chapter 2: Little Commonwealth

Chapter 3: Defense of Poetry

Part 2: Dischtopia: Thomas M. Disch

Chapter 4: Enter the Chamleleon

Chapter 5: East 11th Street

Chapter 6: The Shape of Things to Come

Part 3: Pantopia: Bernard Malamud

Chapter 7: Earth Abides

Chapter 8: You Tell Me That It's Evolution

Chapter 9: Proverbial Wisdom

Part 4: Uchronia: Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 10: The Islands of the Day Before

Chapter 11: Do the Chronomotion with Me

Chapter 12: The Imp of the Perverse

Part 5: Biotopia: Margaret Atwood

Chapter 13: Oryx and Crick

Chapter 14: The Advocate's Devil

Chapter 15: Talkin ‘Bout My Gene-ration

Appendix

Bibliography

About the Author

Peter Swirski is a Canadian scholar and writer, listed in the Canadian Who’s Who. He is Amazon and Alibris #1 Bestseller in American History and Criticism, Popular Culture Criticism, and Canadian Literary Criticism, and author of nineteen award-winning books, including American Utopia and Social Engineering (Routledge, 2011).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT004020
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LIT025030
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General
POL051000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Utopias
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General