Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

Books accrue debts, but one of the exciting and invigorating things about those debts is their acknowledgment. From time to time I’ve talked about the radical possibilities of utopian friendship, and nowhere is it clearer to me than in the daunting task of compiling a list of whom to thank...

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Introduction: Utopia/Affect

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pp. 1-30

Buried midway through Oscar Wilde’s “Soul of a Man Under Socialism” lies the quote most often cited to begin books about utopia: “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country where Humanity is always landing” (141)...

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1. A Grenade with the Fuse Lit: William S. Burroughs and Retroactive Utopias

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pp. 31-48

William S. Burroughs is justifiably famous for his stark and uncompromising criticism of structures of social, economic, and political control in the United States in the late twentieth century. For all of his criticism, however, Burroughs did not offer any concrete positive alternative...

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2. Monstrous Utopia in Toni Morrison’s Paradise

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pp. 49-68

In their widely discussed article “Do You Believe in Magic? Literary Thinking After the New Left,” Sean McCann and Michael Szalay offer a scathing indictment of political involvement and the academy. Using a who’s who of postwar American authors and poststructural theorists, McCann...

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3. Whither Revolution? Thomas Pynchon and Collective Possibility

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pp. 69-99

In 1891 Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso published “Innovation and Inertia in the World of Psychology,” where he describes inertia as the moral law that prevents revolutions from happening despite conditions of horror, strife, or social and economic need. Lombroso posits that...

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4. Solitude, Affect, and Utopia in Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist

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pp. 100-121

Solitude and utopia are rarely in near proximity with each other unless they are operating as opposite poles. By exploring the utopian potential in Colson Whitehead’s 1999 novel The Intuitionist, I investigate the primacy of community in discussions of utopia, while simultaneously beginning to...

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5. Musical Fandom and the Limits of Utopian Possibility

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pp. 122-146

More directly than the preceding chapters, in this chapter I address the possibility of envisioning and articulating utopia when the world seems utterly destitute of utopian chances. Here I read two books that involve teenage characters attempting to attenuate themselves to their worlds...

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Afterword

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pp. 147-154

A belief in the importance of striving, gesturing, and grasping at a better world has been at the center of this book. The tension between neoliberal schemes of privatization, immiseration, and suffering on the one hand, and emergent forms of resistance, excitement, and energy that...

Notes

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pp. 155-176

Works Cited

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pp. 177-184

Index

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pp. 185-191