DEBATING NATIONAL IDENTITY IN UTOPIAN FICTION (MORRIS, BENSON, READ); pp. 300–316Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2011.3.05
This paper explores the mechanism of interaction between major themes and concerns which featured in discussions of national identity, and their interpretation in the utopian novels of William Morris, Robert Hugh Benson, and Herbert Read. Arguing that News from Nowhere, The Dawn of All, and The Green Child (and, by extension, utopian fiction as a genre) contain mediated responses to current debates about the nation, the paper analyses the historical context of the timeframe between 1891 and 1935, and the methodological dichotomy of utopia and ideology which it attempts to overcome. The next three sections examine how organization of time lends itself to the interpretation of the utopian novels vis-à-vis major issues and stresses of debates surrounding national identity. It is concluded that utopian fiction as a conventional mouthpiece of radical transformations is capable of giving voice to the mutable discourse of a dominant ideology and debating the national agenda with nearly equal force.
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