Aspirations for a better - even a perfect - society have existed throughout history, often imagined in intricate detail by philosophers, poets, social reformers, architects and artists. This book explores a perennially powerful idea: the quest for the ideal society.
Gregory Claeys surveys the influence of the idea of Utopia on history. Central to his exploration of ideal worlds are creation myths; archetypes of heaven and the afterlife; new worlds and voyages of discovery; ages of revolution and technological progress; model communities and kibbutzim; political and ecological dystopias; space travel and science fiction. The most significant utopias throughout history - whether envisaged or attempted - are covered, including visions of the ideal society in the West as well as American, Asian, African and the Arab worlds.
From classical times to the present day, this compelling book traces the enduring human need to imagine and construct ideal worlds.
Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:
01 March 2020
The Search for Utopia * The Classical Age * Christian Archetypes * Extra-European Visions of the Ideal Society * Thomas More's Utopia * Voyages of Discovery to the New World and Beyond * The Age of Defoe and Swift * Revolution and Enlightenment * Ideal Cities: Medieval to Modern * Utopia as Community: From Shakers to Hippies * Socialism, Communism and Anarchism * Rationalism, Technology and Modernity as Utopia * The Emergence of Science Fiction * Varieties of Dystopia: Totalitarianism and After * Utopia, Science Fiction and Film: The Final Frontier * Conclusion: Paradise Lost?
Reviews for Utopia: The History of an Idea
'Full and fast-moving' - Herald 'Magisterial' - BBC History Magazine