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Totalitarianism in Fiction: Home

In 1951, political philosopher Hannah Arendt published her influential masterwork The Origins of Totalitarianism. In it she says that "totalitarian governments are characterized by their replacement of all prior traditions and political institutions with new ones that serve the specific and singular goal of the totalitarian state. Totalitarian governments strive for global rule and are distinguished by their successful organization of the masses...Arendt also argues that ...[totalitarian governments] are defined by their use of terror...directed at enemies of the regime and obedient followers without distinction" (Slair, 2015).

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt was responding to the horrors of Nazism and Stalinism. Other writers responded to totalitarian ideologies, not through the writing of political treatises, but through fiction. The novels that they wrote attempt to place us in totalitarian societies, so that we experience them as do the characters in these books, and so that we are moved to work in our world to keep such things from coming to pass.

This webpage is designed to connect the curious to works of fiction owned by the Gumberg Library that depict these totalitarian worlds, real and imagined, many of which have served as important political prophecies. It will also point the user to electronic reference databases for background information, print and electronic books about the authors and the works themselves, and to databases for articles from literary, historical, sociological, and philosophical journals.

Slair, Cali. "Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism." 2015.Not Even Past. http://notevenpast.org/hannah-arendts-the-origins-of-totalitarianism/

Find Books

It Can't Happen Here

By Sinclair Lewis

1935

Call number: PS3523.E94 I8 1935X - 2nd Floor

The Time Machine

By H.G. Wells

1895

Call number: PR5774 .T5 1984X - 2nd Floor

EBook

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley

1932

Call Number: PR6015 .U9 B65 2006X - 2nd Floor

EBook

Anthem

By Ayn Rnad

1938

Call number: PS3535.A547 A7 1995 - 2nd Floor

Darkness at Noon

By Arthur Koestler

1941

Call number: PR6021 .O4 D3 2006X - 2nd Floor

Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale

By George Orwell

1945

Call number: PR6029 .R8 A63 1996X - Curriculum Center, Chapter Books (5th Floor)

Nineteen Eighty-Four

By George Orwell

1949

Call number: PR6029 .R8 N647 2003 - 2nd Floor

EBook

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

1953

Call number: PS3503 .R167 F3 2003BX - 2nd Floor

 

The Man in the High Castle

By Phillip K. Dick

1962

Call number: PS 3554 I3 M26 2011 - 2nd Floor

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood

1986

Call number: PR 9199.3 A8 H3 1998 - 2nd Floor

V for Vendetta: New Edition

By Alan Moore & David Lloyd

1987-1988

Call number: PN6737 .M66 V2 2005X - 2nd Floor

The Giver

By Lois Lowry

1993

Call number: PZ7 .L9673 GI 2002X - Curriculum Center, Chapter Books (5th Floor)

The Land of Green Plums

By Herta Muller

1996

Call number:PT2673.U29234 H4713 1996 - 2nd Floor

The Plot Against America

Bt Philip Roth

2004

Call number: PS3568 .O855 P58 2005B - 2nd Floor

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

2009

Call number: PZ7 .C6837 HUN 2009X - Curriculum Center, Chapter Books (5th Floor)

The Maze Runner

By James Dashner

2009

Call number: PZ7 .D2587 MAZ 2009 - Curriculum Center, Chapter Books (5th Floor)

Divergent

By Veronica Roth

2012

Call number: PZ7 .R7375 DI 2012X - Curriculum Center, Chapter Books (5th Floor)

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