The Dostoevskyan Dialectic in Selected North American Literary Works

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This study is an examination of the rhetorical concept of the dialectic as it is realized in selected works of North American dystopian literature. The dialectic is one of the main factors in curtailing enlightenment rationalism which, taken to an extreme, would deny man freedom while claiming to bestow freedom upon him. The focus of this dissertation is on an analysis of twentieth-century dystopias and the dialectic of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor parable which is a precursor to dystopian literature. The Grand Inquisitor parable of The Brothers Karamazov is a blueprint for dystopian states delineated in anti-utopian fiction. Also, Dostoevsky's ... continued below

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iii, 180 leaves

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Smith, James Gregory December 1995.

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  • Smith, James Gregory

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Description

This study is an examination of the rhetorical concept of the dialectic as it is realized in selected works of North American dystopian literature. The dialectic is one of the main factors in curtailing enlightenment rationalism which, taken to an extreme, would deny man freedom while claiming to bestow freedom upon him. The focus of this dissertation is on an analysis of twentieth-century dystopias and the dialectic of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor parable which is a precursor to dystopian literature. The Grand Inquisitor parable of The Brothers Karamazov is a blueprint for dystopian states delineated in anti-utopian fiction. Also, Dostoevsky's parable constitutes a powerful dialectical struggle between polar opposites which are presented in the following twentieth-century dystopias: Zamiatin's Me, Bradbury's Farenheit 451, Vonnegut's Player Piano, and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The dialectic in the dystopian genre presents a give and take between the opposites of faith and doubt, liberty and slavery, and it often presents the individual of the anti-utopian state with a choice. When presented with the dialectic, then, the individual is presented with the capacity to make a real choice; therefore, he is presented with a hope for salvation in the totalitarian dystopias of modern twentieth-century literature.

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iii, 180 leaves

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • December 1995

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • March 18, 2015, 8:04 a.m.

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Smith, James Gregory. The Dostoevskyan Dialectic in Selected North American Literary Works, dissertation, December 1995; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278268/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .