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Deconstructing Utopia: Nature, Colonialism and Satire in Christian Kracht’s Imperium (2012)

Forster, Katharina; (2023) Deconstructing Utopia: Nature, Colonialism and Satire in Christian Kracht’s Imperium (2012). Oxford German Studies , 51 (3) pp. 335-349. 10.1080/00787191.2022.2116822. Green open access

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Abstract

While there is a conspicuous link between utopian conjectures and natural space, the accelerated environmental degradation in the Anthropocene has significantly blunted the utopian appeal of ‘untainted’ nature. A similar crisis afflicts notions of utopia as ‘undiscovered’ space following Reinhart Koselleck’s ‘temporalization’ of utopian speculation. These developments complicate or make impossible literary representations of utopia as unknown or unaltered nature. Drawing on Timothy Morton’s ideas of ‘space’ and ‘place’ as well as on Eva Horn’s reflections on an ‘aesthetics of the Anthropocene’, the paper examines how narratives of nature as utopia are critiqued and satirised in Christian Kracht’s Imperium (2012). The island landscape of the South Pacific remains outside the protagonist’s narrative control, resisting attempts to abstract it by staging a ‘revenge of place.’ Representations of nature as non-descript, homogeneous and empty (or ‘space’) are confronted with the uncanny and dangerous aspects of a specific ‘place.’

Type: Article
Title: Deconstructing Utopia: Nature, Colonialism and Satire in Christian Kracht’s Imperium (2012)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00787191.2022.2116822
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00787191.2022.2116822
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Nature, Utopia, Dystopia, Colonialism, Satire, Anthropocene
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10165509
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