European Narratives of the Insular Space : Poetics of the Social System after 1945


In European postmodern literature, the topos of the island becomes even more central than previously because of its way of narrating a micro-scale society and the reconstruction of its social system. From a historical perspective, isolation (semantically derived from the term 'island') and doubt represent characteristics of a European society radically transformed by the traumatic violence of the 20th century. In this context, the colonial character of Robinson Crusoe, initially designed on the model of 'the rational adult white man', is recreated and reinvented in a multitude of new meanings, suddenly significant for the understanding of a transformed (and in transformation) European society : he is cruel, he is afraid, he is a child, he is a woman, he is alone among the others. Beyond the esthetic dimension, our hypothesis is that the updating of Robinson Crusoe’s myth, intertextuality and 'palimpsests' approaches imply a continuous interest in an alternative social system, which is in-the-making, historically, socially, psychologically, geopolitically, etc. The literary postwar island narratives, such as the one of our analysis - the dystopic ‘The Lord of the Flies’ (1954) by William Golding and the utopic ‘Island’ (1962) by Aldous Huxley - highlight the process of rewriting and rescaling European history, as well as the essential need for human values in the creation of a society having economics at its basis.

Author Information
Ioana Andreescu, School of High Studies in Social Sciences, France

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon