Centre of Commandments and Peripheries of Disobedience. The City and The Outlands in Janusz A. Zajdel's Dystopian Fiction
Maj, Krzysztof M.
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Although eutopian topothesia, i. e. the depiction of an ideal place, remains an epitome of the literary representation of the City and evokes a multitude of topographical metaphors (island, concentric walls, overflowing seas, etc.) along with the specific poetics of transgression—it lacks of naturalness as being entirely “disconnected from the real world” (Standley 1995). In herein paper I shall argue that dystopian reasoning is far more credible and consequently persuading as better immersed in surrounding reality and proving the topographical nature of our cognitive schemata. First and foremost, a dystopian narrative allows us to see it from inside of the “sociostasis” (Lem), which introduces more ambiguity to previously unequivocal dialogue of the eutopian Wiseman and the foreign Outsider. Secondly, regarding the narrative focalisation on the protagonist, over the course of a dystopian narrative one is more apt to affirm individual rather than collective perspective and subsequently can get confused about what is really eutopian and what is actually not—since within the eutopian “sphere of Idolum” (Mumford 1959) there are no means of setting meta-utopian paradigm. These few philosophical premises will be exemplified in the dystopian fiction of Polish social fiction writer, Janusz. A. Zajdel, whose Cylinder van Troffa [The Cylinder of Van Troff] or Limes inferior single out as novels especially devoted to unveiling the founding lie of sociostasis and proving that only few can gain the luxury of distance that provides with a proper axiological background for differing ideal dream from non-ideal nightmare.