Among pleasures and immaturity. About a dystopian vision in a book by Jan Weiss  {Mullerdom Has One Thousand Floors} Cover Image

Pośród rozkoszy i zdziecinnienia. O dystopii Jana Weissa {Mullerdom ma 1000 pięter}
Among pleasures and immaturity. About a dystopian vision in a book by Jan Weiss {Mullerdom Has One Thousand Floors}

Author(s): Danuta Sosnowska
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Wydział Polonistyki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: dystopia; Jan Weiss; ekonomia; konsumpcja; Bóg; dystopia; Jan Weiss; economy; consumption; God

Summary/Abstract: A novel by Czech writer Jan Weiss, which was edited in Poland under the title {Mullerdom Has One Thousand Floors}, is analysed in the present article. It presents a history of reception of the book that provoked a lot of controversial opinions in the past, but which is being rediscovered today. The author of the article suggests a new interpretation of the novel, inspired by present interest in dystopia and by some texts, fundamental for the European culture ({Mass revolution} by Ortega y Gasset among others), which have warned public opinion against serious threats posed by modern culture. A dystopian significance of Weiss`s novel is compared to visions created by famous anti-utopian books of that time, which could have influenced the Czech writer: Zamiatin ({We}) and Wells ({Time Machine}). The article stresses the dissimilarity between the threats shown by Weiss and those described by Zamiatin and Wells. According to Weiss the main dangers are: the principle of pleasure and consumption which rules social behaviour, economic domination suppressing moral values, metaphysical depletion and the state of immaturity of the society as well as culture. All of them left the Europeans defenceless against the manipulation by a totalitarian power and hopelessly vulnerable to suppression by a totalitarian system. The article also considers the problem of the novel`s end, which was discussed many times by different critics. The author demonstrates that what has seemed to be an optimistic coda of the story, since the plot turns out to be only a nightmare of an ill protagonist, a creation of a feverish imagination, in fact has nothing to do with optimism. Consciously or not, Weiss added a very sarcastic ending to his novel and made a new commentary to the state of culture and society which should be rather alarming than comforting.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 4 (7)
  • Page Range: 397-416
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Polish