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Landscapes of HopeAnti-Colonial Utopianism in America$
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Dohra Ahmad

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332766

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332766.001.0001

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Developing Nations

Developing Nations

(p.19) 1 Developing Nations
Landscapes of Hope

Dohra Ahmad (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reads five turn-of-the-century utopian novels (Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, William Morris’s News from Nowhere, William Dean Howells’s A Traveler from Altruria and Through the Eye of a Needle, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland) from an anti-colonial point of view. Such a method entails identifying which of their techniques will be useful for later writers, and which will run counter to the purposes of self-determination for peoples of color. The techniques that prove worth appropriating include the utopian endeavor itself as well as some of the formal elements of utopian fiction. This chapter also elucidates the elements of turn-of-the-century utopian fiction that opposed emancipation. All of the novels of Bellamy and his school retain as their unit of governance a bordered but expansionist nation, imagine a unidirectional evolution toward Eurocentric civilization, and insist on racial purity and religious unity.

Keywords:   utopian fiction, development, eugenics, Edward Bellamy, William Morris, William Dean Howells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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