SCARES AND SQUARES II Jonathan Charley 10th March 6pm


a public lecture by Dr Jonathan Charley, University of Strathclyde

6pm 10 March 2011

Cragg Lecture Theatre

"They formed, you know, a kind of ministry of fear - with the most efficient undersecretaries. It is not only that they get a hold on certain people. It's the general atmosphere they spread, so that you can't depend on a soul."

Graham Greene, Ministry of Fear

FIG 1   Above - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow, 1988

Some of the most powerful literary evocations of architecture are to be found in the rather loosely defined genre of dystopian literature in which the city assumes the importance of a character rather than merely providing a setting1. For example it is impossible to imagine the emancipatory impulse of Zamyatin's We (1926) without the mathematical paradise promised by the Integral, in the same way as the ruinous city of slums and glittering pyramids is central to the anti-utopian message of Orwell's 1984 (1948). Narrated as a series of short fragments, the lecture that takes us on a tour through some of the most iconic utopian and anti utopian novels and explores the way in which dystopian literature uses technology and architecture as a narrative device to reinforce the political critique of social progress that all dystopian novels share.