1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 178: V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

V For Vendetta is likely my favorite work by Alan Moore (though David Lloyd shares writing credits with Moore on this work).  It is a dystopian world that has survived a nuclear holocaust.  The government that emerges from the ashes is a right-wing fascist group that employs surveillance practices that are very much Orwellian in nature, but as much as the work is Orwellian, the heart of the work relies on Hobbesian ideas of government.  The protagonist, labelled a terrorist by the fiction government, believes very much in the concepts presented in Hobbes’s Leviathan.  He believes that the true power rests not in the leaders of government, who behave very much as though they are above the law, as they would be according to Hobbesian theory, but rather in the masses, and it is the masses which the protagonist appeals to with hopes of changing the self-serving and hypocritical government that is presented in the work.  The protagonist does not conform to the social contract that Hobbes outlines in his work, and therefore is outside the law and in turn at war with the leviathan he hopes to inspire.  There are also elements of Miltonic theory, most notably the concept of an idea being immortal, borrowed from Milton’s ‘Areopagitica’ where Milton views the thoughts and ideas presented in books as an immortal essence.  There are some flaws in the work, as there are in most works, and the film adaptation certainly rivals the source material in quality (which is seldom the case in films), but it is a must read for any fan of dystopian literature.

Alan Moore

Alan Moore

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Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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