Desire and Empathy in Twentieth-Century Dystopian Fiction

  • Thomas Horan

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Utopianism book series (PASU)

Table of contents

About this book


This book assesses key works of twentieth-century dystopian fiction, including Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, to demonstrate that the major authors of this genre locate empathy and morality in eroticism. Taken together, these books delineate a subset of politically conscious speculative literature, which can be understood collectively as projected political fiction. While Thomas Horan addresses problematic aspects of this subgenre, particularly sexist and racist stereotypes, he also highlights how some of these texts locate social responsibility in queer and other non-heteronormative sexual relationships, anticipating the ideas of various cultural theorists. In these novels, even when the illicit relationship itself is truncated, sexual desire fosters hope and community.


Russian Revolution fascism sexuality Cold War Fordism

Authors and affiliations

  • Thomas Horan
    • 1
  1. 1.The CitadelCharleston, SCUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-70674-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-70675-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site