Turning Romanticism on its Head: The Peripheral Symbolic Geography of Aldous Huxley and Ira Levin

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Niculae Liviu Gheran


Within the present paper, I aim to discuss how Aldous Huxley and Ira Levin have employed the peripheral symbolic geography of their two works (Brave New World and This Perfect Day) to articulate their debate between different sets of social values. Unlike other authors of negative utopias such as George Orwell or Yevgeny Zamyatin, neither Huxley nor Levin idealized pre-modern values. In order to highlight how the two articulated their views with the help of symbolic geography, I will also make use of Michel Foucault’s theoretical concepts of heterotopias, heterochrony as well as the ideas developed by the critics Michael Lowy and Robert Sayre in their seminal work Romanticism against the Tide of Modernity. My purpose is thus firstly to point out how and why Huxley and Levin divided the symbolic geography of their works in two parts as well as how they employed the Romantic critique of modernity. Secondly, I aim to show how despite using this analytical tool, they also employed symbolic geography with the purpose of turning the critique on its head, thus unveiling both its strong points as well as its shortcomings.

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How to Cite
Gheran, N. L. “Turning Romanticism on Its Head: The Peripheral Symbolic Geography of Aldous Huxley and Ira Levin”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 33-44, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-2-0215.
Literary and Cultural Studies
Author Biography

Niculae Liviu Gheran, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Niculae Liviu Gheran, Ph.D., currently teaches at Babeș-Bolyai University at the Department of Languages for Specialized Purposes. His PhD is on Negative Utopias, more specifically on 19th Century influences in 20th Century Negative Utopias. He has published several papers and edited post conference volumes on the topic in the UK, the Czech Republic, and Romania.


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