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Utopian Visions and Revisions

Or the Uses of Ideal Worlds

Artur Blaim

The book focuses on different uses of the concepts of utopia, dystopia, and anti-utopia. The author analyses literature, cinema, and rock music, as well as scientific and legal motifs in utopian fiction. He also considers the functions of Jewish characters in early modern utopias and looks at the utopian aspects of scientific claims of literary and cultural theories. Utopian models are also applied to the practice of literature (socialist realism) and current socio-political affairs. Among the texts and films discussed are "Utopia", "New Atlantis", "Gulliver’s Travels", "Memoirs of Signor Gaudentio di Lucca", "Nineteen Eighty-Four", "A Minor Apocalypse", "Lord of the Flies", and "Even Dwarfs Started Small".

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14. “As if it wasn’t a good island”: Failed and Forgotten Utopias in the Cinematic Adaptations of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies


14. “As if it wasn’t a good island”: Failed and Forgotten Utopias in the Cinematic Adaptations of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies58

I must own that you could argue reasonably enough that one of my books, or the tone of it, is antiutopian. (William Golding, “Utopias and Antiutopias.” A Moving Target. London: Faber & Faber, 1982.)

Despite explicit authorial sanction and its occasional inclusion among canonical works of the genre,59 Lord of the Flies can hardly be regarded as a typical example of dystopian/anti-utopian fiction.60 Elements which by the mid-twentieth century had become widely recognised as the genre’s distinctive features do not appear in their standardised form in the novel, which,←163 | 164→ however, exhibits a number of characteristics that indicate a fairly strong, if only metonymic and generalised, presence of utopian/dystopian conventions, often introduced by means of their subtle equivalents,61 that shape a not insignificant, if not necessarily the dominant, dimension of the book.

From the very beginning the exotic island in the Pacific Ocean appears as a good place, with its warm climate, absence of dangerous animals, plenitude of food and fresh water, beautiful landscapes, and luxuriant vegetation, to which the protagonists respond with (almost) ecstatic joy:

The palms that still stood made a green roof, covered on the underside with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon. Ralph hauled himself onto this platform, noted the coolness and shade, shut one eye, and decided that the...

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