Nature, Liberty and Dystopia
On the Moral Significance of Nature for Human Freedom
Routledge – 2008 – 224 pages
Series: Environmental Politics
This new fascinating study is grounded in the history of modern political ideas to illuminate how nature may be regarded as a touchstone of liberty in political thought.
Piers Stephens skilfully argues that the genre of utopias and dystopias is the key modern example of popular literary forms in which major human hopes and fears about technological society are inscribed. Arising as the genre does alongside the idea of progress and the origins of modern science, this book examines the ways in which freedom and nature are portrayed in the four most influential dystopian novels of the 20th century: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Stephens also explores the ways in which vitally significant and often overlooked connections exist between the concept and experience of nature on the one side and the conditions, exercise and practices of human freedom on the other. In doing so, he makes an invaluable contribution both to the history of ideas and to contemporary environmental political theory.
Chapter 1: Green Political Theory and the Dystopian Frame
Chapter 2: Blueprint for Technological Dystopia: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We
Chapter 3: Aldous Huxley on Nature and Liberty
Chapter 4: Freedom, Nature and Power in Orwell’s 1984
Chapter 5: Consumerism, Kerosene and Culture: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Chapter 6: Cyborgs, Biotechnology and the Future of Dystopia
Piers H.G. Stephens lectures in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool as well as holding an honorary research fellowship at the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment (SPIRE) at the University of Keele. He is features editor (Books, Film, Music and Other Media Reviews) and Futuristic and Utopian Studies co-editor of the international journal Organization and Environment, has co-edited two books, Perspectives on the Environment 2 (1995) and Environmental Futures (1999), and contributed articles and reviews to various journals, including Environmental Politics and Environmental Values.