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Utopia and Dystopia: Geographies of the Possible


April 30, 2010 | Elebash Recital Hall, CUNY Graduate Center | New York City

With Inga Kuznetsova, Jonathan Lethem, Eshkol Nevo, and Andrzej Stasiuk; moderated by Albert Mobilio


Co-sponsored by the Martin E. Segal Theatre, The Graduate Center

LISTEN | Download the mp3

Where do you want to live? There’s the best of all possible worlds. Or the worst. Plato’s Republic, or Orwell’s Oceania? Of course, such idealizations exist only in the imagination—the very word utopia means “no place” in Greek. Not surprisingly, these unchartable locales inspire novelists. And we look to them to articulate our longing for a better world, as well as our dread of a worse one. These writers from Russia, the U.S., Israel, and Poland consider these among many questions: can the novel—in this ironic age—still give voice to such strong feelings about societies? Are ideals themselves—whether uplifting or despairing—incompatible with the novelist’s inquisitive tack? And isn’t every utopia someone else’s dystopia?

• View the photo gallery on Flickr


• Mindy Aloff: “Isn’t every utopia someone else’s dystopia?” the essayist and poet Albert Mobilio wondered aloud, as he moderated a Friday afternoon panel on these unearthly antipodes in CUNY Graduate Center’s Elebash Auditorium. [more]

• Antonio Romani: Il tema, Utopia and Dystopia: Geographies of the Possible, mi è parso subito affascinante, e anche il panel, poi, è stato all’altezza. [more]

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