Abstract

abstract:

Karl Marx’s acerbic observation in the opening lines of The Eighteenth Brumaire that “all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur the first time as tragedy, the second as farce” may be profitably applied to a reconsideration of literary farce sui generis, a genre represented in this article by a long-neglected work of utopian fiction, Archibald Marshall’s Upsidonia (1915). Although Upsidonia’s current disregard is arguably undeserved, the article’s chief interest is not to reclaim the novel on aesthetic grounds but to illuminate the mechanics of what Marx would call its “serious buffoonery.” In its persistent reversal of capitalist principles and relations, Upsidonia naturally invites readers to revisit Marx, whose mordant gambit may serve as a key to Marshall’s own farcical plot and praxis, rooted in return and repetition, the essential maneuvers of farce itself.

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