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Conference Paper: ‘Our Impending Doom’: Dystopia and Serial Form in Anthony Trollope’s The Fixed Period

Title‘Our Impending Doom’: Dystopia and Serial Form in Anthony Trollope’s The Fixed Period
Authors
Issue Date2018
Citation
Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association. How to Cite?
AbstractThe concept of utopia seems temporally incompatible with serial form: after all, utopias involve an imaginative, radical break with the past, a dramatic contrast to the continuity of serial publication. This paper will examine the apparent incongruities of serial publication and utopian/dystopian fiction, with a focus on Anthony Trollope’s The Fixed Period. The late nineteenth century saw a number of utopian and anti-utopian writings that were published serially. This means that readers encounter a totalized world, one dramatically different from their own, through serial form that has been recognized for making fictional worlds more dramatically part of the readers’ world. Whereas serial publication creates the sense of continuity across time, partly in its perpetual deferral of closure, these novels self-consciously put their serial installments into tension with the temporalities offered by the utopian/dystopian worlds in the text. In Trollope’s The Fixed Period, Britannula imagines a society in which individuals accept a standardized end to their life in the interest of society. Published in 1882, the novel came out in when Trollope was 67 himself (he died later that year). It was published serially in Blackwood’s Magazine, which turned 65 years old in April the year The Fixed Period was published. It’s important, then, that the novel grapples with the painful realization of seriality’s closure. Trollope works through the problems of serial form, which creates a structure of continuity across time, particularly in his series of novels, as he confronts the reality of his own death. We might argue that serial form brings what Fredric Jameson calls existential time into the everyday, individualized existence of the single human. Or we might consider Benedict Anderson’s argument that serial time creates the sense of a continuous present, where individuals participate in a nation that moves backwards and forwards in time. The Fixed Period, however, dramatizes the disjunction between serial form and an individual’s experience of mortality as absolute closure, or the “fixed period.”
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/258306

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorValdez, JR-
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-22T01:36:20Z-
dc.date.available2018-08-22T01:36:20Z-
dc.date.issued2018-
dc.identifier.citationInterdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/258306-
dc.description.abstractThe concept of utopia seems temporally incompatible with serial form: after all, utopias involve an imaginative, radical break with the past, a dramatic contrast to the continuity of serial publication. This paper will examine the apparent incongruities of serial publication and utopian/dystopian fiction, with a focus on Anthony Trollope’s The Fixed Period. The late nineteenth century saw a number of utopian and anti-utopian writings that were published serially. This means that readers encounter a totalized world, one dramatically different from their own, through serial form that has been recognized for making fictional worlds more dramatically part of the readers’ world. Whereas serial publication creates the sense of continuity across time, partly in its perpetual deferral of closure, these novels self-consciously put their serial installments into tension with the temporalities offered by the utopian/dystopian worlds in the text. In Trollope’s The Fixed Period, Britannula imagines a society in which individuals accept a standardized end to their life in the interest of society. Published in 1882, the novel came out in when Trollope was 67 himself (he died later that year). It was published serially in Blackwood’s Magazine, which turned 65 years old in April the year The Fixed Period was published. It’s important, then, that the novel grapples with the painful realization of seriality’s closure. Trollope works through the problems of serial form, which creates a structure of continuity across time, particularly in his series of novels, as he confronts the reality of his own death. We might argue that serial form brings what Fredric Jameson calls existential time into the everyday, individualized existence of the single human. Or we might consider Benedict Anderson’s argument that serial time creates the sense of a continuous present, where individuals participate in a nation that moves backwards and forwards in time. The Fixed Period, however, dramatizes the disjunction between serial form and an individual’s experience of mortality as absolute closure, or the “fixed period.”-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofInterdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association.-
dc.title‘Our Impending Doom’: Dystopia and Serial Form in Anthony Trollope’s The Fixed Period-
dc.typeConference_Paper-
dc.identifier.emailValdez, JR: jvaldez@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityValdez, JR=rp01975-
dc.identifier.hkuros287720-

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