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The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature


Part of Cambridge Companions to Literature

Gregory Claeys, Fátima Vieira, J. C. Davis, Nicole Pohl, Kenneth M. Roemer, Peter Fitting, Patrick Parrinder, Alessa Johns, Lyman Tower Sargent, Jacqueline Dutton, Brian Stableford
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  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521714143

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About the Authors
  • Since the publication of Thomas More's genre-defining work Utopia in 1516, the field of utopian literature has evolved into an ever-expanding domain. This Companion presents an extensive historical survey of the development of utopianism, from the publication of Utopia to today's dark and despairing tendency towards dystopian pessimism, epitomised by works such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Chapters address the difficult definition of the concept of utopia, and consider its relation to science fiction and other literary genres. The volume takes an innovative approach to the major themes predominating within the utopian and dystopian literary tradition, including feminism, romance and ecology, and explores in detail the vexed question of the purportedly 'western' nature of the concept of utopia. The reader is provided with a balanced overview of the evolution and current state of a long-standing, rich tradition of historical, political and literary scholarship.

    • Clearly divided into sections covering 'History' and 'Literature', chapters present both a thematic and historical assessment of the main areas of the genre
    • Acknowledges the rapid expansion and growing popularity of the study of utopianism and provides a much-needed summary and overview of the discipline
    • Discusses a wide body of primary utopian and dystopian texts and includes a chronology of key works, as a helpful reference
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521714143
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 149 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface Gregory Claeys
    Brief chronology of key works of utopian literature and thought
    Part I. History:
    1. The concept of utopia Fátima Vieira
    2. Thomas More's Utopia: sources, legacy and interpretation J. C. Davis
    3. Utopianism after More: the Renaissance and Enlightenment Nicole Pohl
    4. Varieties of nineteenth-century utopias Kenneth M. Roemer
    5. The origins of dystopia: Wells, Huxley and Orwell Gregory Claeys
    Part II. Literature:
    6. Utopia, dystopia and science fiction Peter Fitting
    7. Utopia and Romance Patrick Parrinder
    8. Feminism and utopianism Alessa Johns
    9. Colonial and post-colonial utopias Lyman Tower Sargent
    10. 'Non-western' utopian traditions Jacqueline Dutton
    11. Ecology and utopia Brian Stableford
    Further reading.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Writing for a Liberal Education
  • Editor

    Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Gregory Claeys is Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has edited Utopias of the British Enlightenment (1994), Modern British Utopias. c.1700–1850 (8 volumes, 1997), Restoration and Augustan British Utopias (2000), Late Victorian Utopias (6 volumes, 2008) and other works. He has written several studies of aspects of the Owenite socialist movement, of the French revolution debate in Britain, and of Thomas Paine's thought. His most recent book is Imperial Sceptics: British Critics of Empire, 1850–1920 (Cambridge, 2010).


    Gregory Claeys, Fátima Vieira, J. C. Davis, Nicole Pohl, Kenneth M. Roemer, Peter Fitting, Patrick Parrinder, Alessa Johns, Lyman Tower Sargent, Jacqueline Dutton, Brian Stableford

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