ABSTRACT

This paper examines utopian/dystopian time and serial form in several late-nineteenth-century proto-dystopian novels, including Anthony Trollope's The Fixed Period, James De Mille's A Strange Manuscript in a Copper Cylinder, and H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. Through mingling the futuristic orientation of utopias and the presentist cause-and-effect experience of serial form, late nineteenth-century dystopias do not set these other worlds in the distant future; rather, they ask readers to see signs of their mortality in the everyday. In doing so, these paradoxical temporalities combine to highlight the finiteness of late-Victorian institutions in the face of more expansive depictions experience.

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