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URN etd-0127113-132248
Author Chien-fu Hsueh
Author's Email Address No Public.
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Department Foreign Language and Literature
Year 2012
Semester 1
Degree Ph.D.
Type of Document
Language English
Title Anxieties and Reconciliations: Travel and Science in Four Utopian Texts of Early Modern Britain
Date of Defense 2013-01-21
Page Count 240
Keyword
  • science
  • early modern Britain
  • utopia
  • travel
  • Abstract                      Abstract
       In Early Modern Britain, travel and science were two of the major forces that were transforming the island country, driving it forward toward industrialization and modernization and simultaneously liberating the people’s imagination that had been confined in the Middle Ages. In my dissertation, I aim to study the two themes as they are presented in four utopian texts written by British writers in the era in order to find out how travel and science affected the country and its people. The four texts under scrutiny are Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), Francis Godwin’s The Man in the Moon (1638), and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). As to my methodology, I engage in a Marxist reading of the four utopian texts, primarily based on Fredric Jameson’s theory, treating the texts as symptoms of history and trying to reveal the “political unconscious” of the texts. Besides, to bring into relief the utopian desires expressed in the texts, I also construct their respective historical contexts to serve as cross-reference to the findings of textual analyses. My research produces the finding that there are inconsistent attitudes toward travel and science in the texts. On the one hand, the two themes are adopted and underscored in the texts, while on the other hand, they are feared and satirized. The ambivalence probably results from the utopists’ fuzzy conceptualizations and anxieties about the development of their world, which changed from feudalism to capitalism in the mode of production during the period. Therefore, in an age of transition, the utopias constructed turn out to be not so visionary and insightful as they are generally assumed to be; rather they tend to be products of anxieties and nostalgia, caused by the contemporary enigma.
    Advisory Committee
  • Francis K. H. So - chair
  • I-chun Wang - co-chair
  • Chung-hsiung Lai - co-chair
  • Shu-fang Lai - co-chair
  • Rudolphus Teeuwen - advisor
  • Files
  • etd-0127113-132248.pdf
  • indicate access worldwide
    Date of Submission 2013-01-27

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