For a genre that imagines possible futures as a means of critiquing the present, utopian/dystopian fiction has been surprisingly obsessed with how the past is remembered.
Memory and Utopian Agency in Utopian/Dystopian Literature: Memory of the Future examines modern and contemporary utopian/dystopian literature's preoccupation with memory, asserting that from the nineteenth century onward, memory and forgetting feature as key problematics in the genre as well as sources of the utopian impulse. Through a series of close readings of utopian/dystopian novels informed by theory and dialectics, Hanson provides a case study history of how and why memory emerged as a problem for utopia, and how recent dystopian texts situate memory as a crucial mode of utopian agency. Hanson demonstrates that many modern and contemporary writers of the genre consider the presence of certain forms of memory as necessary to the project of imagining better societies or to avoiding possible dystopian outcomes.
About the Author:
Carter F. Hanson is Professor of English at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of Emigration, Nation, Vocation: The Literature of English Emigration to Canada, 1825-1900 (Michigan State UP, 2009), as well as articles on utopian/dystopian literature and utopianism published in Extrapolation, Science Fiction Studies, Utopian Studies, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, and Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory.