Intertextuality and Nostalgia in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl
After the massive outbreaks of violence and catastrophes at the dawn of the twentieth century, experiences of dislocation and dissonance, as well as their reflection in the human psyche, nostalgia, captivated the interest of various disciplines from literary studies to politics. Although viewed through various lenses, nostalgia as a state of a wistful affection for the past still permeates the present discourses. These studies on nostalgia overlap with a rising trend in the Western literary canon, the surge of derivative forms of utopia. Building on the contemporary interdisciplinary approaches on nostalgia and dystopian tradition, this paper investigates the individual’s position in a dystopian setting with an emphasis on the experience of nostalgia in Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel The Windup Girl (2011). Set in a near future in which the world is dominated by mega companies, the novel exhibits intertextual features shaping its meaning through the readers’ knowledge of various myths, Biblical stories and canonical texts. The novel’s acknowledgement of a text prior to itself bears a thematic significance in terms of nostalgia. Hence, this paper aims to explore the web of textual relations from a perspective of nostalgia in the selected work. And retrospectively, through understanding the nature of the textual dialogue that The Windup Girl engages, we shall gain more insight into the relationship between dystopian novels and nostalgia. This paper aims to investigate how the novel problematizes the nostalgic attitude of four different characters through representing their inability to move on and to adapt themselves to their new environment.
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