England in Transition
Chapter 3 investigates England’s transition to an alterity that overlays national discourse. The chapter focuses on Robert Hugh Benson’s writing, particularly The Dawn of All (1911), which depicts the nascence of an English Catholic polity and its alignment with a Catholic World State. The latter enterprise reacts to Edwardian politics by limiting parliamentary democracy and universal suffrage; granting Ireland imperial, rather than national status; and vacating England from socialist dissidence. The use of technology reinforces social inequities further: while the privileged classes utilize the flying machines to transcend frontiers, the lower quarters of English society exist under surveillance and regimentation. In disavowing national discourse, Benson infringes on English liberty, which transfigures his project of universal redemption into a pre-Orwellian dystopia.