From Ignorance to Experience: Epistemology and Power in Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night, Anthony Burgess’s The Wanting Seed and P. D. James’s The Children of Men
Atasoy , Emrah
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ATASOY, Emrah. “From Ignorance to Experience: Epistemology and Power in Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night, Anthony Burgess’s The Wanting Seed and P. D. James’s The Children of Men.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Ankara, 2019. This dissertation deals with three critical dystopias from twentieth-century English literature, namely Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night (1937), Anthony Burgess’s The Wanting Seed (1962), and P. D. James’s The Children of Men (1992) focusing on the transition from innocence and ignorance to experience and knowledge. Truth and knowledge presented by the authoritarian regimes in these critical dystopias are fictional constructs. These regimes determine what knowledge is to be communicated to citizens or not, and how it is conveyed to the whole society. The majority of the citizens enjoy an apparent satisfaction with the leadership, which manipulates what is allowed to be known. In this regard, ignorance is regarded as bliss. However, for individual characters in these texts who gain a different awareness, shallow contentment is disrupted with a partial view of what truths have been kept from them. Knowing leads to rebellion and resistance by these protagonists. The plots of these critical dystopias consist in each character’s journey from a land of ignorance to experience. The initial naive innocence of the protagonists is shattered through various geographical, psychological and symbolic transformative journeys in these texts. This transition from innocence to experience turns the protagonists into outcasts as they are pushed into a clash with the ruling body. The protagonists undergo physical and psychological punishment, and are denied a space for individual freedom. However, the exile of these protagonists cannot prevent them from revealing the truth about the regime that finds itself unable to exterminate these rebels. Their survival attests to the partial failure of these totalitarian regimes. Furthermore, the open-ended structure of each critical dystopia reinforces the hope of the utopian impulse and of revisionary epistemology that might lead to a more just society. Keywords Swastika Night, The Wanting Seed, The Children of Men, critical dystopia, epistemological warfare, transformative journey, utopian enclave
xmlui.dri2xhtml.METS-1.0.item-citationAtasoy, Emrah. "From Ignorance to Experience: Epistemology and Power in Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night, Anthony Burgess’s The Wanting Seed and P. D. James’s The Children of Men." Diss. Hacettepe University, 2019. Web.
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