Nature, Liberty and Dystopia: On the Moral Significance of Nature for Human Freedom

This new fascinating study is grounded in the history of modern political ideas to illuminate how nature may be regarded as a touchstone of liberty in political thought. Piers Stephens skilfully argues that the genre of utopias and dystopias is the key modern example of popular literary forms in which major human hopes and fears about technological society are inscribed. Arising as the genre does alongside the idea of progress and the origins of modern science, this book examines the ways in which freedom and nature are portrayed in the four most influential dystopian novels of the 20th century: Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Stephens also explores the ways in which vitally significant and often overlooked connections exist between the concept and experience of nature on the one side and the conditions, exercise and practices of human freedom on the other. In doing so, he makes an invaluable contribution both to the history of ideas and to contemporary environmental political theory.