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But in the force of the storm, the angel’s wings are useless, and he is ‘irresistibly’ propelled into a future that he cannot see. 23 Werckmeister reports that Benjamin had actually owned this image since 1921, and began writing about it in 1922. 26 Fred Inglis’ interpretation of Benjamin is more positive, however. As Inglis sees it, Utopias may be dreams of the future, or they may also be constructions of an ideal past. 27 Inglis demonstrates this theory with his example of the British children’s TV programmes Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green.

78 That said, and while Sargisson’s monograph is certainly cognisant of Utopianism’s pitfalls and imperfections, it nevertheless argues for both its continued relevance and importance in the 21st century. 82 Utopias pre-date More, and are articulated in a multitude of forms. Common functions include criticism, engaging in contemporary debates, and imagining alternatives. 83 For Sargisson, Utopia is also elusive. It is ‘the shadow that we chase, the dream that we pursue and yet – and also – it lies always over the horizon, around the corner, over the hill, out of reach and (usually) out of sight.

This will provide a theoretical foundation for my case study on Navajo aesthetics and creation mythology in Chapter 4, while also laying the ground for my much more detailed analysis of Bloch’s sharper-focused writing on atheism and Christianity in Chapters 7 and 8. Bloch believed that cultural texts, from the high and deliberate to the popular and unaware, contained ‘preserved meanings’ that served to criticise existing social conditions. These preserved meanings were usually unconsciously inserted into the texts by means of uberschuss (overshoot), in which they end up revealing far more than the author had originally intended.

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