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2012 | 21/1 | 61-74
Article title

B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two Versus Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World: What-Topia?

Content
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
The paper compares the societies presented in B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It highlights that, if the criterion of authorial intent, used widely in utopian and dystopian criticism, is applied, Skinner’s novel is utopian while Huxley’s is dystopian, despite significant similarities in the assumptions about human nature that the two societies seem to make. Using the controversies surrounding Walden Two as an example, the paper discusses the relevance of traditionally understood authorial intent for utopian and dystopian literary studies. A different, “three-dimensional” model, is then presented, in which authorial intent, reader reception and an individual critic’s reaction are all considered. It is argued that in the case of controversial works – the number of which may increase in modern times, due to the lack of agreement concerning ethics and values – such a tripartite assessment may be more useful, because it is better at capturing the complexity of a work’s impact.
Contributors
  • University of Warsaw
References
  • Altus, Deborah, E. and Edward K. Morris. 2004. “B. F. Skinner’s Utopian Vision: Behind and Beyond ‘Walden Two.’” Contemporary Justice Review. 7.3: 267–286.
  • Baccolini, Raffaella and Tom Moylan (eds.). 2003. Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Dinsmoor, James A. 1992. “Setting the Record Straight: The social views of B. F. Skinner.” American Psychologist. 47.11: 1454–1463.
  • Hacker, Andrew. 1955. “Dostoevsky’s Disciples: Man and Sheep in Political Theory.” The Journal of Politics. 17.4: 590–613.
  • Hawthorn, Jeremy. 2008. “Authority and the Death of the Author”. DQR Studies in Literature. 43: 65–88.
  • Huxley, Aldous. 2005. Brave New World. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Gottlieb, Erika. 2001. Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial. Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Izzo, Garrett, David and Kim Kirkpatrick (eds.). 2008. Huxley’s Brave New World: Essays. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland.
  • Khulmann, Hilke. 2005. Living Walden Two. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Kinkade, Kat. 1999. “But Can He Design Community?”. Communities. 103: 49–52.
  • Newman, Bobby. 1993. “Discriminating Utopian from Dystopian Literature: Why is Walden Two Considered a Dystopia?” The Behavior Analyst. 16.2: 167–175.
  • Sargent, Lyman, Tower. 1994. “The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited.” Utopian Studies. 5.1: 1–37.
  • Skinner, B. F. 2005. Walden Two. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
  • Tinker, Miles A. 1950. “Review of ‘Walden Two.’” Journal of Educational Psychology. 40.4: 250–253.
  • Todd, James T. and Edward K. Morris. 1992. “Case Histories in the Great Power of Steady Misinterpretation.” American Psychologist. 47.11: 1441–1453.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-2fd3ae53-0fe5-41ca-9359-05a812017e7b
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