Worlds Apart?: Dualism and Transgression in Contemporary Female Dystopias

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McFarland, May 24, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 320 pages
Literary critics and scholars have written extensively on the demise of the “utopian spirit” in the modern novel. What has often been overlooked is the emergence of a new hybrid subgenre, particularly in science fiction and fantasy, which incorporates utopian strategies within the dystopian narrative, particularly in the feminist dystopias of the 1980s and 1990s. The author names this new subgenre “transgressive utopian dystopias.” Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue trilogy, Suzy McKee Charna’s Holdfast series, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are thoroughly analyzed within the context of this this new subgenre of “transgressive utopian dystopias.” Analysis focuses particularly on how these works cover the interrelated categories of gender, race and class, along with their relationship to classic literary dualism and the dystopian narrative. Without completely dissolving the dualistic order, the feminist dystopias studied here contest the notions of unambiguity and authenticity that are generally part of the canon.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
LITERARY HISTORY
9
Demanding the Possible? The Artificiality
49
Rewriting the Colonization of Physical and Mental
71
Suzy McKee
145
Margaret
229
Conclusion
270
First you are human An Interview with
281
Bibliography
287
Index
305
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Dunja M. Mohr is the co-editor of the Erfurt Electronic Studies in English and is a faculty member, research assistant, and lecturer at the University of Erfurt in Germany. She has widely published on utopian and dystopian novels and is a recipient of the Margaret Atwood Society Award. She lives in Munich.

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