During the twentieth century, the dominant mode of British speculative writing passed from utopianism to dystopianism, as writers became increasingly pessimistic about the course of domestic and international history. An example is Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners (1959). Set during the economic boom of the late 1950s, MacInnes charts the attempts by a young working-class narrator to construct London's thriving youth scene as a utopian idyll, severed from the shortcomings of mainstream culture. The novel's critique of the apoliticism and self-absorption of the youth, particularly their refusal to challenge the nationalist and racist discourses of the period, presents a scathing critique of utopian thought, aligning MacInnes to the New Left commentators of the decade (Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall) who were equally sceptical of the ‘one-nation Toryism’ and American-style consumerism infecting 1950s British society.
|Title of host publication||Worlds Gone Wrong: Essays on Dystopian Fiction|
|Editors||John J. Han, C. Clark Triplett, Ashley G. Anthony|
|Place of Publication||Jefferson|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Jul 2018|