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Loewenstein, E. (2017). Dystopian Narratives: Encounters with the Perverse Sadomasochistic Universe. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(1):3-15.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(1):3-15

Original Articles

Dystopian Narratives: Encounters with the Perverse Sadomasochistic Universe

Era A. Loewenstein, Ph.D.

In a number of dystopian novels that I explore, including Orwell’s (1949) 1984 and Huxley’s (1932) Brave New World, I identify themes of soul murder, destruction of differences, murder of reality, and attacks on the parental couple as a generative twosome. In my view, dystopian fiction captures, thus, many facets of the perverse sadomasochistic core. I demonstrate that the leaders of dystopian societies are fueled by a desire to debase and eventually eliminate the feeding mother, the Oedipal father, and the creative parental couple by becoming god-like creators of a new and idealized fecal universe. Although dystopian narratives tend to locate the catastrophe in a future social disaster, they represent a psychological breakdown that has already occurred in the past and is, therefore, present in the individual’s internal world. The dystopian narrative enables this internal catastrophe to be projected into a future plot and a cast of characters that stand for both victims and perpetrators in the internal object world. I offer a psychoanalytic perspective, which can help our understanding of the increasing popularity of dystopian fiction among the young adult readership.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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