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Iron Heel, The

a novel by Jack London, published in 1907. A bleak pessimism pervades this dystopic narrative, rejected even by contemporary socialists because of its horrific representation of the future. It is written in the form of a diary kept by the wife of a proletarian leader, Ernest Everhard, annotated as a manuscript discovered several centuries later. Part love story, part social satire, the novel begins with setpiece debates at bourgeois dinner-tables, as Everhard argues the socialist position with various representatives of capitalist power. The novel proceeds to describe the rise of organized labour and the collapse of capitalism, the advent of a tyrannical oligarchy which seeks to protect its material interests, and a brutal civil war waged over three centuries of dictatorial government. It portrays the ruthless dehumanization and enslavement of the working class, inhabitants of labour ghettoes and utterly degraded as the abject waste of a society. Although the novel received poor reviews when published, with the emergence of the Fascist and Communist dictatorships, critics reconstrued it as a proleptic vision of the political machinations of oligarchic powers. See also Utopia and Anti-Utopia.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robin’ [Iris Guiver Wilkinson] ‘Hyde Biography to Percy Janes Biography