Mothers and masters in twentieth century utopian and dystopian literature

The Handmaid's Tale
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The poem ",," discusses the leading role played by the masses in the revolution. In the poem "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" , Mayakovsky looks at the life and work at the leader of Russia's revolution and depicts them against a broad historical background. In the poem "It's Good", Mayakovsky writes about socialist society as the "springtime of humanity". Mayakovsky was instrumental in producing a new type of poetry in which politics played a major part. Its leading figure was Maxim Gorky , who had laid the foundations of this style with his novel The Mother and his play The Enemies both His novel The Artamanov Business and his play Egor Bulyshov depict the decay and inevitable downfall of Russia's ruling classes.

Gorky defined socialist realism as the "realism of people who are rebuilding the world" and pointed out that it looks at the past "from the heights of the future's goals". Gorky considered the main task of writers to help in the development of the new man in socialist society. Gorky's version of a heroic revolutionary is Pavel Vlasov from the novel The Mother , who displays selflessness and compassion for the working poor, as well as discipline and dedication.

Gorky's works became significant for the development of literature in Russia and influential in many parts of the world. Nikolay Ostrovsky 's novel How the Steel Was Tempered — has been among the most successful works of Russian literature, [ citation needed ] with tens of millions of copies printed in many languages around the world. In China, various versions of the book have sold more than 10 million copies.

The novel's protagonist, Pavel Korchagin, represented the "young hero" of Russian literature: he is dedicated to his political causes, which help him to overcome his tragedies. The novel has served as an inspiration to youths around the world and played a mobilizing role in Russia's Great Patriotic War.

Alexander Fadeyev — achieved noteworthy success in Russia, with tens of millions of copies of his books in circulation in Russia and around the world. Fadeyev served as a secretary of the Soviet Writers' Union and as the general secretary of the union's administrative board from to The Soviet Union awarded him two Orders of Lenin and various medals. Fadeyev described the theme of this novel as one of a revolution significantly transforming the masses.

The novel's protagonist, Levinson is a Bolshevik revolutionary who has a high level of political consciousness. The first years of the Soviet regime, from onwards, featured a proliferation of avant-garde literature groups. One of the most important was the Oberiu movement —s , which included the most famous Russian absurdist Daniil Kharms — , Konstantin Vaginov — , Alexander Vvedensky — and Nikolay Zabolotsky — Other famous authors experimenting with language included the novelists Yuri Olesha — and Andrei Platonov — and the short-story writers Isaak Babel — and Mikhail Zoshchenko — Two of its members also produced influential literary works, namely Viktor Shklovsky — , whose numerous books e.

Writers like those of the Serapion Brothers group — , who insisted on the right of an author to write independently of political ideology, were forced by authorities to reject their views and accept socialist realist principles. Some s writers, such as Mikhail Bulgakov — , author of The Master and Margarita written —, published , and Nobel Priz-winning Boris Pasternak — with his novel Doctor Zhivago written —, published continued the classical tradition of Russian literature with little or no hope of being published.

Their major works would not be published until the Khrushchev Thaw , and the Soviet authorities forced Pasternak to renounce his Nobel prize. The Khrushchev Thaw c. Poetry became a mass-cultural phenomenon: Bella Akhmadulina — , Robert Rozhdestvensky — , Andrei Voznesensky — , and Yevgeny Yevtushenko — , read their poems in stadiums and attracted huge crowds. Some writers dared to oppose Soviet ideology, like short-story writer Varlam Shalamov — and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn — , who wrote about life in the gulag camps, or Vasily Grossman — , with his description of World War II events countering the Soviet official historiography.

Such writers, dubbed " dissidents ", could not publish their major works until the s. But the thaw did not last long. In the s, some of the most prominent authors were not only banned from publishing but were also prosecuted for their anti-Soviet sentiments, or for parasitism. Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the country. Others, such as Nobel Prize—winning poet Joseph Brodsky — ; novelists Vasily Aksyonov — , Eduard Limonov — , Sasha Sokolov — and Vladimir Voinovich — ; and short-story writer Sergei Dovlatov — , had to emigrate to the West, while Oleg Grigoriev — and Venedikt Yerofeyev — "emigrated" to alcoholism.

Their books were not published officially until the perestroika period of the s, although fans continued to reprint them manually in a manner called " samizdat " self-publishing. Children's literature in Soviet Union counted as a major genre because of its educational role.

Some of the early Soviet children's prose consisted of loose adaptations of foreign fairy-tales unknown in contemporary Russia. Alexey N. Tolstoy — wrote Buratino , a light-hearted and shortened adaptation of Carlo Collodi 's Pinocchio. Alexander Volkov — introduced fantasy fiction to Soviet children with his loose translation of L.

While fairy tales were relatively free from ideological oppression, the realistic children's prose of the Stalin era was highly ideological and pursued the goal to raise children as patriots and communists. A notable writer in this vein was Arkady Gaydar — , himself a Red Army commander colonel in Russian Civil War : his stories and plays about Timur describe a team of young pioneer volunteers who help the elderly and resist hooligans.

There was a genre of hero-pioneer story that bore some similarities with Christian genre of hagiography. In the times of Khrushchov First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from to and of Brezhnev in power — , however, the pressure lightened. In the s many of these books, as well as stories by foreign children's writers, were adapted into animation. Soviet Science fiction , inspired by scientistic revolution, industrialisation, and the country's space pioneering , was flourishing, albeit in the limits allowed by censors.

Wells and Jules Verne as examples to follow. Two notable exclusions from this trend were Yevgeny Zamyatin , author of dystopian novel We , and Mikhail Bulgakov , who, while using science fiction instrumentary in Heart of a Dog , The Fatal Eggs and Ivan Vasilyevich , was interested in social satire rather than scientistic progress.

The two have had problems with publishing their books in Soviet Union. Since the thaw in the s Soviet science fiction began to form its own style. Philosophy, ethics , utopian and dystopian ideas became its core, and Social science fiction was the most popular subgenre. Books of brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky , and Kir Bulychev , among others, are reminiscent of social problems and often include satire on contemporary Soviet society.

Ivan Yefremov , on the contrary, arose to fame with his utopian views on future as well as on Ancient Greece in his historical novels. Strugatskies are also credited for the Soviet's first science fantasy , the Monday Begins on Saturday trilogy. Space opera was less developed, since both state censors and serious writers watched it unfavorably.

Nevertheless, there were moderately successful attempts to adapt space westerns to Soviet soil. A specific branch of both science fiction and children's books appeared in mid-Soviet era: the children's science fiction. It was meant to educate children while entertaining them. The star of the genre was Bulychov, who, along with his adult books, created children's space adventure series about Alisa Selezneva , a teenage girl from the future.

Mystery was another popular genre. Detectives by brothers Arkady and Georgy Vayner and spy novels by Yulian Semyonov were best-selling, [18] and many of them were adapted into film or TV in the s and s. Village prose is a genre that conveys nostalgic descriptions of rural life. Historical fiction in the early Soviet era included a large share of memoirs , fictionalized or not.

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Mothers and Masters in Contemporary Utopian and Dystopian Literature focuses, in human nature, utopian dreams of perfect societies in the twentieth century. [BOOKS] Mothers and masters in twentieth century utopian and dystopian literature by Mary. Elizabeth Theis. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device.

Valentin Katayev and Lev Kassil wrote semi-autobiographic books about children's life in Tsarist Russia. Vladimir Gilyarovsky wrote Moscow and Muscovites , about life in pre-revolutionary Moscow. Valentin Pikul wrote about many different epochs and countries in an Alexander Dumas -inspired style.

In the s there appeared a relatively independent Village Prose , whose most prominent representatives were Viktor Astafyev and Valentin Rasputin. Any sort of fiction that dealt with the occult, either horror , adult-oriented fantasy or magic realism , was unwelcome in Soviet Russia. Until the s very few books in these genres were written, and even fewer were published, although earlier books, such as by Gogol, were not banned.

Of the rare exceptions, Bulgakov in Master and Margarita not published in author's lifetime and Strugatskies in Monday Begins on Saturday introduced magic and mystical creatures into contemporary Soviet reality to satirize it.

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Another exception was early Soviet writer Alexander Grin , who wrote romantic tales, both realistic and fantastic. Aleksey Tolstoy. Alexander Belayev. Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov. Boris Strugatsky. The end of the 20th century proved a difficult period for Russian literature, with relatively few distinct voices. Although the censorship was lifted and writers could now freely express their thoughts, the political and economic chaos of the s affected the book market and literature heavily.

The book printing industry descended into crisis, the number of printed book copies dropped several times in comparison to Soviet era, and it took about a decade to revive. Among the most discussed authors of this period were Victor Pelevin , who gained popularity with first short stories and then novels, novelist and playwright Vladimir Sorokin , and the poet Dmitry Prigov. A relatively new trend in Russian literature is that female short story writers Tatyana Tolstaya or Lyudmila Petrushevskaya , and novelists Lyudmila Ulitskaya or Dina Rubina have come into prominence.

The tradition of the classic Russian novel continues with such authors as Mikhail Shishkin and Vasily Aksyonov. Detective stories and thrillers have proven a very successful genre of new Russian literature: in the s serial detective novels by Alexandra Marinina , Polina Dashkova and Darya Dontsova were published in millions of copies. In the next decade Boris Akunin who wrote more sophisticated popular fiction, e. Science fiction was always well selling, albeit second to fantasy , that was relatively new to Russian readers. A good share of modern Russian science fiction and fantasy is written in Ukraine , especially in Kharkiv , [20] home to H.

Russian poetry of that period produced a number of avant-garde greats. The members of the Lianosovo group of poets, notably Genrikh Sapgir , Igor Kholin and Vsevolod Nekrasov, who previously chose to refrain from publication in Soviet periodicals, became very influential, especially in Moscow, and the same goes for another masterful experimental poet, Gennady Aigi.

Also popular were poets following some other poetic trends, e. In St. Petersburg, members of New Leningrad Poetry School that included not only the famous Joseph Brodsky but also Victor Krivulin, Sergey Stratanovsky and Elena Shvarts, were prominent first in the Soviet-times underground — and later in mainstream poetry. Some other poets, e. Sergey Gandlevsky and Dmitry Vodennikov , gained popularity by writing in a retro style, which reflected the sliding of newly-written Russian poetry into being consciously imitative of the patterns and forms developed as early as in the 19th century.

Mikhail Shishkin. In Imperial times the Russian aristocracy were so out of touch with the peasantry that Burns, translated into Russian , became a symbol for the ordinary Russian people. A new translation of Burns, begun in by Samuil Marshak , proved enormously popular selling over , copies. Russian literature is not only written by Russians. Some renowned contemporary authors writing in Russian have been born and live in Ukraine Andrey Kurkov , H. Most Ukrainian fantasy and science fiction authors write in Russian, [26] which gives them access to a much broader audience, and usually publish their books via Russian publishers such as Eksmo , Azbuka and AST.

Suffering, often as a means of redemption, is a recurrent theme in Russian literature. Fyodor Dostoyevsky in particular is noted for exploring suffering in works such as Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment.

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Christianity and Christian symbolism are also important themes, notably in the works of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov. In the 20th century, suffering as a mechanism of evil was explored by authors such as Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago. Russian literature is devoted to the description of unsuccessful love affairs. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about literature from Russia. For the literary magazine, see Soviet Literature magazine. Mythology and folklore. Mythology folklore. Public holidays. Music and performing arts. Television Cinema. World Heritage Sites.

Flag Coat of arms Cultural icons. Architecture Art. Radio Television Cinema Censorship Propaganda. Alexander Sumarokov. Gavrila Derzhavin. Denis Fonvizin. Alexander Radishchev. Nikolay Novikov. Nikolay Karamzin. Vasily Zhukovsky. Alexander Griboyedov. Alexander Pushkin. Fyodor Tyutchev. Nikolai Gogol. Alexander Herzen. Ivan Goncharov. Mikhail Lermontov. Ivan Turgenev. Alexander Ostrovsky. Nikolai Leskov. Anton Chekhov. Boris Pasternak. Zinaida Gippius. Leonid Andreyev. Valery Bryusov. Andrey Bely. Alexander Blok. Vladimir Mayakovsky. Anna Akhmatova. Osip Mandelstam. Sergei Yesenin. Marina Tsvetaeva.

Yevgeny Zamyatin. Mikhail Bulgakov. Would it be possible for both of these futures - the hard and the soft - to exist at the same time, in the same place? And what would that be like? Surely it's time to look again at Brave New World and to examine its arguments for and against the totally planned society it describes, in which "everybody is happy now".

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What sort of happiness is on offer, and what is the price we might pay to achieve it? I first read Brave New World in the early s, when I was It made a deep impression on me, though I didn't fully understand some of what I was reading. It's a tribute to Huxley's writing skills that although I didn't know what knickers were, or camisoles - nor did I know that zippers, when they first appeared, had been denounced from pulpits as lures of the devil because they made clothes so easy to take off - I none the less had a vivid picture of "zippicamiknicks", that female undergarment with a single zipper down the front that could be shucked so easily: "Zip!

The rounded pinkness fell apart like a neatly divided apple. A wriggle of the arms, a lifting first of the right foot, then the left: the zippicamiknicks were lying lifeless and as though deflated on the floor. I myself was living in the era of "elasticised panty girdles" that could not be got out of or indeed into without an epic struggle, so this was heady stuff indeed.

The girl shedding the zippicamiknicks is Lenina Crowne, a blue-eyed beauty both strangely innocent and alluringly voluptuous - or "pneumatic", as her many male admirers call her. Lenina doesn't see why she shouldn't have sex with anyone she likes whenever the occasion offers, as to do so is merely polite behaviour and not to do so is selfish. Never were two sets of desiring genitalia so thoroughly at odds.

And thereon hangs Huxley's tale. Brave New World is either a perfect-world utopia or its nasty opposite, a dystopia, depending on your point of view: its inhabitants are beautiful, secure and free from diseases and worries, though in a way we like to think we would find unacceptable. Sir Thomas More, in his own 16th-century Utopia, may have been punning: utopia is the good place that doesn't exist.

As a literary construct, Brave New World thus has a long list of literary ancestors. Plato's Republic and the Bible's book of Revelations and the myth of Atlantis are the great-great-grandparents of the form; nearer in time are More's Utopia, and the land of the talking-horse, totally rational Houyhnhnms in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and HG Wells's The Time Machine, in which the brainless, pretty "upper classes" play in the sunshine during the day, and the ugly "lower classes" run the underground machinery and emerge at night to eat the social butterflies.

In the 19th century - when improvements in sewage systems, medicine, communication technologies and transportation were opening new doors - many earnest utopias were thrown up by the prevailing mood of optimism, with William Morris's News from Nowhere and Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward foremost among them. Insofar as they are critical of society as it presently exists, but nevertheless take a dim view of the prospects of the human race, utopias may verge on satire, as do Swift's and More's and Wells's; but insofar as they endorse the view that humanity is perfectible, or can at least be vastly improved, they will resemble idealising romances, as do Bellamy's and Morris's.

The first world war marked the end of the romantic-idealistic utopian dream in literature, just as several real-life utopian plans were about to be launched with disastrous effects. The Communist regime in Russia and the Nazi takeover of Germany both began as utopian visions. But as had already been discovered in literary utopias, perfectibility breaks on the rock of dissent.

What do you do with people who don't endorse your views or fit in with your plans? Nathaniel Hawthorne, a disillusioned graduate of the real-life Brooke Farm utopian scheme, pointed out that the Puritan founders of New England - who intended to build the New Jerusalem - began with a prison and a gibbet. Forced re-education, exile and execution are the usual choices on offer in utopias for any who oppose the powers that be. Brave New World has its own gentler punishments: for non-conformists, it's exile to Iceland, where Man's Final End can be discussed among like-minded intellects, without pestering "normal" people - in a sort of university, as it were.

Utopias and dystopias from Plato's Republic on have had to cover the same basic ground that real societies do. All must answer the same questions: where do people live, what do they eat, what do they wear, what do they do about sex and child-rearing? Who has the power, who does the work, how do citizens relate to nature, and how does the economy function?

Romantic utopias such as Morris's News from Nowhere and WH Hudson's A Crystal Age present a pre-Raphaelite picture, with the inhabitants going in for flowing robes, natural settings in abodes that sound like English country houses with extra stained glass and lots of arts and crafts. Everything would be fine, we're told, if we could only do away with industrialism and get back in tune with nature, and deal with overpopulation. Hudson solves this last problem by simply eliminating sex, except for one unhappy couple per country house who are doomed to procreate. But when Huxley was writing Brave New World at the beginning of the s, he was, in his own words, an "amused, Pyrrhonic aesthete", a member of that group of bright young upstarts that swirled around the Bloomsbury Group and delighted in attacking anything Victorian or Edwardian.

So Brave New World tosses out the flowing robes, the crafts, and the tree-hugging. Its architecture is futuristic - electrically lighted towers and softly glowing pink glass - and everything in its cityscape is relentlessly unnatural and just as relentlessly industrialised.

Viscose and acetate and imitation leather are its fabrics of choice; apartment buildings, complete with artificial music and taps that flow with perfume, are its dwellings; transportation is by private helicopter. Babies are no longer born, they're grown in hatcheries, their bottles moving along assembly lines, in various types and batches according to the needs of "the hive", and fed on "external secretion" rather than "milk".

The word "mother" - so thoroughly worshipped by the Victorians - has become a shocking obscenity; and indiscriminate sex, which was a shocking obscenity for the Victorians, is now de rigueur. The strictest conventionality. Many of Brave New World's nervous jokes turn on these kinds of inversions - more startling to its first audience, perhaps, than to us, but still wry enough. Victorian thrift turns to the obligation to spend, Victorian till-death-do-us-part monogamy has been replaced with "everyone belongs to everyone else", Victorian religiosity has been channelled into the worship of an invented deity - "Our Ford", named after the American car-czar Henry Ford, god of the assembly line - via communal orgies.

Even the "Our Ford" chant of "orgy-porgy" is an inversion of the familiar nursery rhyme, in which kissing the girls makes them cry. Now, it's if you refuse to kiss them - as "the Savage" does - that the tears will flow. Sex is often centre stage in utopias and dystopias - who can do what, with which set of genital organs, and with whom, being one of humanity's main preoccupations.

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They look a bit like medieval city-states. The Stand by Stephen King. A bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic America: a land where no hope remains. Because sex and procreation have been separated and women no longer give birth - the very idea is yuck-making to them - sex has become a recreation. Jones, incompetent workers and oppressed animals. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away. First come the days of the plague.

Because sex and procreation have been separated and women no longer give birth - the very idea is yuck-making to them - sex has become a recreation. Little naked children carry on "erotic play" in the shrubberies, so as to get a hand in early. Some women are sterile - "freemartins" - and perfectly nice girls, though a little whiskery.

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The others practise "Malthusian drill" - a form of birth control - and take "pregnancy surrogate" hormone treatments if they feel broody, and sport sweet little faux-leather fashionista cartridge belts crammed with contraceptives. If they slip up on their Malthusian drill, there's always the lovely pink-glass Abortion Centre. Huxley wrote before the pill, but its advent brought his imagined sexual free-for-all a few steps closer.

What about gays? Does "everyone belongs to everyone else" really mean everyone? We aren't told.

Dystopian Fiction: How Stories Transform Your Mind