Moons and planets

Maria Luísa Malato, Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A character from Fontenelle's 1686 Entretiens sur la plurarité de mondes (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds) observes that those who know the most about a planet are not its inhabitants, but their spectators; that is, an acute and fresh observation of Earth needs a perspective from elsewhere: the moon, the planets, another dimension of space-time. We cannot separate this reflection about "plural worlds" (Fontenelle), from the one about "possible worlds" (Suvin); both multiplicity and possibility are essential to the utopian genre. This chapter focuses on literary utopias-particularly before the twentieth century-with "outer-space" settings. These texts can interrogate, in extremis, the boundaries and presumptions of the genre itself. The chapter concludes with a reading of Jeanette Winterson's exemplary The Stone Gods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literatures
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783030886547
ISBN (Print)9783030886530
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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