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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines The Iron Heel in the context of twenty-first century realist fiction to argue while the novel may borrow from dystopian and science fiction, as well as leftist lectures and essays, at its heart, The Iron Heel is a bourgeois bildungsroman that has much to say to contemporary readers coming of age in an era of dramatically rising economic inequality. Read against the backdrop of the current economic and political climate, London’s futuristic novel about a fascist oligarchy intent on preserving its own wealth and power is not only prescient. It also offers an alternative to the neoliberal logic that recent bourgeois fiction cannot seem to escape.

Keywords: The Iron Heel, contemporary fiction, socialism, neoliberalism, bildungsroman

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