The Nationality of Utopia: H. G. Wells, England, and the World State, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Nationality of Utopia

H. G. Wells, England, and the World State, 1st Edition

By Maxim Shadurski


208 pages

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Hardback: 9780367330491
pub: 2019-09-05
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Since its generic inception in 1516, utopia has produced visions of alterity which renegotiate, subvert, and transcend existing places. Early in the twentieth century, H. G. Wells linked utopia to the World State, whose post-national, post-Westphalian emergence he predicated on English national discourse. This critical study examines how the discursive representations of England’s geography, continuity, and character become foundational to the Wellsian utopia and elicit competing response from Wells’s contemporaries, particularly Robert Hugh Benson and Aldous Huxley, with further ramifications throughout the twentieth century. Whereas Benson overwrites national discourse as an impediment to world unity, Huxley salvages the residual traces of English culture from their abuses in the World State. Contextualized alongside the changing circumstances of modernity, such contrary reactions demonstrate a shift from disavowal to retrieval of England, on the one hand, and from endorsement to rejection of the World State, on the other. England’s dissolution in the throes of alterity takes increasing precedence over the visions of a post-national world order and dissents from the Wellsian utopia. This trend continues in the work of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, J. G. Ballard, and Julian Barnes, whose scenarios warn against a world without England. The Nationality of Utopia investigates utopia’s capacity to deconstruct and redeploy national discourse in ways that surpass fear and nostalgia.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. English Utopia and Utopian England

Chapter 2. The Wellsian Utopia and the Discourse of England

Chapter 3. England in Transition: Memory, Politics, and Technology

Chapter 4. England Redeemed: The Road, the Rose, and the Dream

Chapter 5. The End of England: Eugenics, Landscape, and Recollection

Coda: England for England’s Sake?



About the Author

Maxim Shadurski holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Literary Utopias from More to Huxley (2007) and Utopia as a World Model (2016), as well as essays on utopia, nationalism, and landscape. He edits The Wellsian: The Journal of the H. G. Wells Society and serves as an academic advisor for the Gale / Cengage publishing group. He is Associate Professor of Literary Theory and Comparative Studies at Siedlce University (Poland).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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