ABSTRACT

The question of solidarity in utopian narratives is connected with the long-standing juxtaposition of the collective and the individual in the sociopolitical model of the commonwealth; foregrounded here is the connection between the systemic solidarity of the state and the individualized solidarity between its members. Following the definitions of solidarity proposed by Jodi Dean, Max Pensky, and others, the article discusses Edward Bulwer-Lytton's seminal Victorian utopia, The Coming Race (1871), in the context of the relationship between utopian collectivism and its politics of exclusion and/or elimination of potentially disruptive elements. In contrast to a typical approach to the text as a satire on some of the prevalent issues of the period, this article argues that, by accentuating the evolutionary disparity between the protagonist and his utopian hosts, Bulwer-Lytton's utopia enables an investigation into an often ambivalent relationship between diverse definitions of solidarity.

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