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Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature
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24 videos in this collection

Utopia: The Perfect Nowhere
Enter the world of utopian and dystopian fiction. After a brief foray into the definition and origin of utopia, dive into Ursula K. LeGuin's short story The Ones Who Walk…
Thomas More and Utopian Origins
Take a step back and learn about the origins of the utopian genre, beginning with Thomas More's Utopia of 1516. More's foundational work gave us the word "utopia," but did…
Swift, Voltaire, and Utopian Satire
Continue your exploration of the early history of utopia by examining notable works produced during the two centuries following More's initial work. Compare and contrast the ideas of "classical utopia"…
American Dreamers: Hawthorne and Alcott
The 19th century was the "century of utopia" and also marked the transition from utopian to dystopian stories in popular literature. Look at Americans who attempted to build real-world utopias,…
Samuel Butler and Utopian Technologies
Shift your attention from rural American utopias to explore from a different perspective: Victorian anxieties about technology and the vanishing frontier. Analyze these fears in Samuel Butler's Erewhon, which utilizes…
Edward Bellamy and Utopian Activism
Can utopian literature have real-world impact? This question is integral to understanding the significance of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. Witness the ways Bellamy's socialist vision of the future had…
H.G. Wells and Utopian Science Fiction
Unlike the utopian tradition, science fiction doesn't have a single text that defines its origin. It does, however, have several figures credited with its creation. One such figure is H.G.…
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Gendered Utopia
Many utopian stories were concerned with the quest to determine where women belong in an ideal society. Charlotte Perkins Gilman went a step further by creating a utopian society populated…
Yevgeny Zamyatin and Dystopian Uniformity
Shift your attention from utopian blueprints to the cautionary tales of dystopia and explore the origins of the genre and the complex ways it functions in literature. Examine the period…
Aldous Huxley and Dystopian Pleasure
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, published in 1932, is the second of the "Big Three" dystopian novels of the interwar years. Investigate the ways Huxley projects the anxieties of his…
George Orwell and Totalitarian Dystopia
Perhaps the most famous of the three defining dystopias of the early 20th century, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four has created a vocabulary of ideas we continue to use in political…
John Wyndham and Young Adult Dystopia
Published during the wave of anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, John Wyndham's The Chrysalids is one of the earliest examples of Young Adult dystopian fiction and a potent examination of…
Philip K. Dick's Dystopian Crime Prevention
Look at the portrayal of community, choice, and rules to determine when the sacrifices being made cross the threshold between a completely perfect society and a complete lack of freedom.…
Anthony Burgess, Free Will, and Dystopia
Delve deeper into the central question of free will and how utopian studies respond emotionally and intellectually by examining A Clockwork Orange. Discover the literature that influenced it and was…
The Feminist Utopian Movement of the 1970s
The feminist utopian movement began in the 1970s and, despite the name, doesn't feature very many traditional "utopias." There is a guarded optimism represented in these novels that dealt with…
Ursula K. Le Guin and the Ambiguous Utopia
Delve into the science fiction-based worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, who approaches various situations with an open mind, drawing upon disciplines like physics, anthropology, and fine arts. She builds…
Samuel Delany and Heterotopia
Focusing on Trouble on Triton, explore the ways Delany introduces readers to ambiguous heterotopia through a society where your identity (such as sex, race, religion, and sexual preference) can easily…
Octavia Butler and the Utopian Alien
None of Octavia Butler's writings fit perfectly into the categories of utopia or dystopia, but she is vital to this study because her utopian writing represents a turning point that…
Octavia Butler and Utopian Hybridity
Examine the many ways Butler challenges boundaries - not only of genres, but also of human identity. See how she tackles the questions that are important in defining utopian futures:…
Margaret Atwood and Environmental Dystopia
Margaret Atwood is an icon in utopian and dystopian fiction. Explore the ways she has helped to shape utopian thought and sexual politics with one of her classic novels, The…
Suzanne Collins and Dystopian Games
Does it seem like a lot of the most popular books for young adults lately have been dystopias? In this lecture, explore why teens are so drawn to dystopia, what…
Cyberpunk Dystopia: Doctorow and Anderson
The cyberpunk genre often features advanced information technology. Through satire or in earnest, we get at the same anxieties about contemporary American society: the internet has amazing potential to create…
Apocalyptic Literature in the 21st Century
Review the four major apocalyptic sources: technological, biomedical, environmental, or supernatural, and explore bodies of work that utilize each one. You'll see how even the worst dystopian situations often sneak…
The Future of Utopian and Dystopian Literature
Reflect on how dystopia shows us the darker side of contemporary reality right here in our connected global world, focusing on issues we struggle with every day. Conclude with the…

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