2012 | 18 | 245-270
Article title

Ciało, płeć i wstyd komunisty (na marginesie fantastycznonaukowych powieści utopijnych Stanisława Lema z lat pięćdziesiątych XX w.)

Title variants
The Body, Gender, and Communist’s Shame (on the Margins of the Utopian Science Fiction Novels by Stanisław Lem from the 1950s)
Languages of publication
This article is an attempt to answer the question: what causes prompted the authors of utopian 'science fiction' novels, that appeared during the communist period (mainly in the fifties of the twentieth century) in Poland and the Soviet Union, to adopt a particular convention of presenting the human body, and especially — the woman’s body? The analysis of these works ("The Astronauts" and "Obłok Magellana" novels by Stanisław Lem and Yvan Yefremov’s "Andromeda: A Space–Age Tale") is carried out in a dialogue with the concepts of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek, as well as Judith Butler or contemporary sociologists (Chris Shilling), regarding body image and an idealistic element contained in the Marxist–Leninist ideology, which is the theoretical basis of the utopian vision of a society of the future. Psychoanalytic and deconstructive reading of Lem’s and Yefremov’s texts lead the author of this article to the conclusion that the image of the female body (and therefore, of inseparable from human sexuality of shame) undergoes here a sort of 'politicization' in relation to a vision of capitalism as a “dark vortex” of life governed by drives, mediated falsely by logos. However, the image of femininity and sexuality, included in the novels, refer to the early Gnostic version of Christianity (among others to opinions by Marcion, Valentinus, the Syrian’s “encratites”), raising hope to transform body by eliminating areas of drives, but the place of the Gnostic “salvation of the soul” in the communist utopias is occupied by the progress, understood as an increase in knowledge and an achievement of the ideal of the ultimate end of human history through a union with nature.
  • Instytut Badań Literackich PAN
  • Uniwersytet Jana Kochanowskiego
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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