This article analyzes a new form of historical representation that we term “limbotopia” (by analogy with utopia and dystopia). Limbotopia is a genre of the “broad present,” in which history seems to come to a standstill and characters inhabit a changeless—and often hopeless—fictional world. We argue that limbotopia is characterized by a chronotope of durational, rather than chronological, time. The narrative structure of limbotopia exhibits several consistent features: an episodic format, the absence of closure, a broken or shifting narrative voice, and an incoherent or inexplicable fictional world. Limbotopia not only reflects the loss of temporality in postmodernism but also responds to very specific historical and political configurations. We analyze the incidence of limbotopia in works by Israeli, American, British, Russian, and South Korean writers and film-makers.
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Research Article| March 01 2018
Limbotopia: The “New Present” and the Literary Imagination
Vered Karti Shemtov
Comparative Literature (2018) 70 (1): 60–71.
Elana Gomel, Vered Karti Shemtov; Limbotopia: The “New Present” and the Literary Imagination. Comparative Literature 1 March 2018; 70 (1): 60–71. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-4344076
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